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How to cycle up a mountain: Cycle Malawi Day 5

Published 10 Jul 2015

How to cycle up a mountain: Cycle Malawi day 5

To quote John Denver “this is by far the hardest thing I've ever done"!

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                      Reaching the top of Dedza Plateau

This is now day 5. We have arrived at the top of the Dedza plateau. Everyone has done an amazing ride up a continuous rising mountain track. I managed half way and am amazed that it happened at all! I was coached and encouraged by Henk, our Tour Manager, – and I now have some idea how to climb a hill - will need to see if I remember to do it when I get back home!

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                              'The hardest thing I've ever done'

The past couple days were on the relative flat (well it feels like that now that we're up a mountain), although at the time it didn't seem like it. The road from Nkhotakota was the longest day and again everyone surpassed themselves – we cycled into a strong head wind, although it was overcast so we were saved from the sun.

The next day started with a cycle in the game reserve - a lovely peaceful way to start the day- kudu, impala, zebras and a hornbill were spotted.

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                    The peaceful nature reserve

Then on to Mua Mission where we were given a tour of the museum and church with lots of information on Malawian culture. A lovely place to see the sun rise.

We have spent each day being waved at, shouted at and laughed at by very many children and adults along the way. Lots coming from and going to school, some tending goats, carrying babies and some just standing looking forlorn or scared of us as we pass with helmets and sunglasses. My favourite is the very shy wave from a small boy at the back of the group or standing some way off who finally plucks up courage and smiles as you catch his eye.

We have also given way to assorted pigs, goats, dogs and chickens! Other hazards along the way are double beds, planks, long grass and sugar cane being carried on the back of a bike!

Our crew have been amazing and provided wonderful lunches when we stop. They also provide us continually with water and snacks –the highlight yesterday was a Mars bar just at the right time!

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                Tour guide Henk and Morag head onto the final straight

We are also encouraged by our pastor Daniel and two other ministers who have all led devotions in the evening. "We are cycling in the love of God" is our theme tune! Amazing days of fellowship and encouragement from one another. Cuddles, hugs when needed!

Fast cyclists taking turns at the back of the group to provide moral support and our back up bus - I am getting to know Donias, the driver at the back of the group very well!’

Morag Whitham

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   Bike riders Graham and Alison set off for the final destination, Nkhoma Hospital