MotoMonk

98 months ago

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- Route

2016-01-03

Distance: 313.2 Km / 195.2 Mi Duration: 07:24:56

56,631km

I started out a little late this morning - with no power, and therefore no morning coffee, I found I was not really motivated to get out of bed at my usual 05:30. I should have just pulled out my camping candles and stove, but the thought didn't occur to me at the time. In any case, when I did get up, I went through my usual routine and then prepared my big girl for her first outing of 2016. For my first ride of this year, I wanted to put together a route of 300+ kilometers that would take me at least 5 hours to cover. I also wanted to include some dirt and stand up riding to mix in with a lot of good quick tarmac. I guess I wanted the best of 2015 pulled together into one great day ride. Having tracked so many great roads last year, including a lot of dirt roads that I had hoped would allow me to connect some of the tarmac so that I could put together some great loops, today was the day to put it all together. I made it to the Gigiri Java House around 09:20, turned on the Garmin Zumo, waited for a signal and was off at 09:25.

2016-01-03 12.46.26

2016-01-03 12.46.26

As I rode today, I reminded myself that my riding is my practice - not my only practice, but a very important part of it. The ability to maintain moment to moment awareness and focus over the course of a ride is a great skill and a huge part of what the practice is all about. There's also the great joy that comes with the experience, exhilaration and freedom of the ride. Of course, the joy fades as a ride comes to an end, but the skill of sustained focus and awareness continues and is further developed with every ride. My teacher would never have seen a motorcycle, but whether it's sitting on a bike or on a cushion, the point is the development of moment to moment awareness and focus - what's under the rump is of little concern. The great thing about riding practice is that there is an urgency to it, an immediate importance that a cushion just doesn't have. Sustained focus and awareness is not just a great practice, it's literally a riding lifesaver.

2016-01-03 12.51.47

2016-01-03 12.51.47

The weather was perfect today with enough clouds to cool things down a bit, but without rain. That made the dirt sections very enjoyable and it was good to do some stand-up riding again after too long a while. I really like standing on my big girl these days - the handlebar risers and removed foot-peg rubbers make it very comfortable. It's also funny to see the reactions of people as I go past - they clearly haven't seen it and don't understand it judging by the 'WTF' look on their faces. Even the boda-boda riders are amazed. Some of the dirt roads are smooth enough to sit, but with the relaxed standing posture (as opposed to the more strenuous attack standing posture), it feels almost more comfortable to stand.

2016-01-03 12.50.43

2016-01-03 12.50.43

This route really mixes the dirt and tarmac very nicely and creates a great loop that covers many of the awesome tarmac roads north of Kiambu and east of the Aberdares, while never really getting that far away from Nairobi. The fast moving tarmac sections tend to run along the ridges, while the dirt sections are filled with great elevation changes crossing the valleys. There's some good technically challenging sections in there as well, including some great climbs and steep ascents. Of course, there's also a pile of great corners and tight twisties on the tarmac. It really is an excellent all-around route and a real joy to ride. It also includes some of the nicest scenery around.

2016-01-03 12.51.14

2016-01-03 12.51.14

I had wanted at least 300 kilometers and I ended up with 330. I also wanted at least 5 hours moving time and I got five and a half. I only stopped for gas once and a couple times for water and a stretch amounting to thirty minutes altogether. I was back at the Gigiri Java house at 15:25, six hour after I left. It was a very great ride and an equally great way to to start off the year. Because of the distance, the time involved, the great tarmac roads and challenging dirt, and also the beautiful scenery, this is a route that I'll be coming back to often now that I've put it together - it's awesome. The three dirt sections are circled in KTM orange πŸ™‚

2016-01-03

2016-01-03

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