The first day was relatively easy. The distance was moderate and the road was smooth. Some TDA cyclists were "racing". They try to win stages by posting the fastest time. My approach is expeditionary. Making it to the lunch truck and subsequently to camp is a modest goal. The energy and water required to do so compels me (and others) to be conservative. Pacing is crucial so the various groups of folks I ride with tend to be in it for the long haul. To date, about half the 30 Khartoum to Capetown participants have maintained their EFI status. That is: they have rode every inch or millimetre.
There is also a parallel competition to see if any soul can stay every night in her or his tent. Given the absence of modern conveniences such as toilets, showers and laundries, the aspiration to camp for four months is only for the intrepid and well-organized. Pitching the tent and setting up a cot to sleep comfortably is not optimal after pedalling for seven to ten hours. Soup is usually available courtesy of Yanes the cook and most individuals sit and fortify themselves with the quenching broth.
Salaam. Wherever you are in the Sudan, the sight of a minaret and the call of the muezzin is not far away. Of the five pillars of Islam, the morning call to prayer is most evident here. The invocation to pray is broadcast via loudspeaker in towns. This morning, it was high volume and resonant throughout our park campsite.
Men in white, flowing robes dominate the marketplace. In towns, the cargo vehicles share space with tuk-tusk and donkey carts. One needs to be wary as a pedestrian that one does not venture close to traffic. There are no sidewalks so everyone who is not in a vehicle shuffles in the dust at the side of the road. Below you see five of my comrades walking into town on a common surface.