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Tested my willingness to go home

My goal this year is to ‘Go Hard or Go Home.’ In short, it means giving everything I do my 100% The Saikeri trail really put my mantra to the test. I was literally willing to go home.

I picked up cycling last year as a way to release pressure that tends to come with my job. Having social anxiety, cycling also turned to be my way of socializing. I used to do about 30 km a week. This year, I am going hard. I’m doing an average of 35-50 km a day.

As I had earlier written in my Champaign Ridge article, nothing really prepares you enough for an off road cycling. This is especially if you are a newbie like me. If it wasn’t for Tony’s believe in my capabilities, I’d have done the 20 km loop at the Saikeri Trail.

Let me do a brief description of the trail. Just to try and paint a picture of how hard the trail can be. (Hard is relative depending on your cycling skills and fitness) Saikeri is on the Leeward side of Ngong Hills. The sun gives you a taste of hell. The winds are dry and humid. The roads are really rocky and have a lot of loose sand. Despite the harshness of the area, the place is really beautiful. The view of Ngong hills and some other hills I didn’t recognize is breathe taking. I also saw a heard of Giraffes and the SGR.

First rookie mistake, I wasn’t prepared for my ride. I had a rough week so I didn’t get the chance to ride just for warm up before the ride on Saturday. I also didn’t have enough water. I was used to short rides and if I do a long ride, there was an option of buying water. There were no shops in Saikeri.

The ride was pretty smooth. A couple of manageable up hills and fun down hills. The weather was favorable. It wasn’t as hot as I anticipated. The first 30 KM weren’t so hard. Things started going south from there. There was an uphill that felt like it was killing me slowly.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate up hills (what’s mountain biking without the mountains?) It’s part of the fun. But in this particular hill, I hadn’t realized I was running out of energy. I didn’t get the chance to have breakfast (second rookie mistake) and I had forgotten to pack energy bars (third rookie mistake)

Mid hill, my vision started becoming blurry, I couldn’t feel my legs and for a moment I felt like I had stopped breathing. Have you ever seen the roller-coaster videos of people going unconscious then coming back? I felt like that’s what happened. I died a little and came back to life. My legs were slowly giving up. James, one of the guides, gave me a push as we finished the climb.

People say, with time things get better. In this situation things just went from bad to worse. It was mid day and the sun decided to make us hotter. I could feel a head ache starting and my arms becoming numb. I was so focused on finishing the ride that I forgot to even take photos. Then came the hill that made me break into tears.

I forgot to mention that I was the only lady doing the ride. Keeping up with everyone combined with low sugars is a perfect recipe of disaster. Tony kept asking if I was okay. Each time I’d say yes but my body was slowly giving up. Back to the hill of tears.

With all honesty, it wasn’t a hard climb. I had just given up. I got a head start this time and Tony went with my pace. But my legs were just failing me. Tony should really consider a career in pep talk. I remember I was in tears telling Tony to get a nduthi for me cause I was honestly done. Almost half way through, I felt like my body wasn’t mine. I was holding my tears as I tried finishing the hill. At least I knew there was a down hill coming up.

I made it through the remaining 8 KM with James’ help and the group’s patience. At the end of the ride, as much as I hated how I felt, I was so proud of myself. I pushed through 47 KM of off road!!!

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