10to4 Mountain Bike Challenge 2020!

by Amon Langat

I tend to ride for the freedom, fresh air and to have a glimpse of the serene surroundings more than to see how far or fast I can go, so for me it’s more about the environs than the distance or how many hills I climb up. And this is exactly what my experience was at Borana.

For those who don’t know, The Borana Conservancy is a non-profit conservation organisation dedicated to the sustainable conservation of critical habitat and wildlife. They support nearby schools and administer mobile clinics within the neighbourhood etc. The 10to4 Mountain Bike Challenge is the most significant fund-raising event and every shilling raised goes towards the protection and conservation of Mount Kenya and its surroundings.Thanks a bunch, to all the sponsors including JW Seagon.

Kisima was the starting point, approx. 10,000 feet on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya – you can imagine how cold that place is😑 but Dormans Coffee saved the morning! Some minutes past 10 the 39Km journey started and we headed straight to the golden wide Ol Donyo wheat farms. It was a decent gradient so I said to myself ‘I can do this’. Sadly, it was here that Brian had to retire due to a tyre burst😥, thank you to the sweeper who helped him out!

I needed to ride about 10km to get to the Ol Donyo water point to catch my breath and have some water, my legs and chest were really feeling it. I couldn’t go that fast, so I choose to keep a regular pace, but watching the landscape around was enough to remind me why I was doing this😅, all I could do was hope for the gradient to decrease or get a little plain road or something.

At the same time, it was beautiful, especially the wheat farms at Ol Donyo and Lolomarik! Sweeping smooth tracks running through vividly gold fields of ripe wheat and huge greenhouses. A marvellous sight to behold.

After a while we then sloped down and descended over the challenging terrains and brutal climbs of Ngare Ndare Forest and when the body least wants it! The next 2–3 hours were a beautiful mix of tough uphill dirt roads, bouncing downhill tracks through tight trees and heavy downpour. It was tough, I was exhausted, and I had no idea if I would ever make it. At some point I was completely alone especially in the Forest – I could hear elephants trumpeting and growling from a distance (but wardens were everywhere anyway). The fact that I was alone didn’t help at all. I have never known how and why time passes faster when you with someone else? It was endless!

After the forest, we were off onto the dirt slippery Borana tracks weaving between the trees. Arriving at JWS water point and seeing Daisy and Tracy was such a relief! 😂 Here, I took a well-deserved breather and headed straight to the finish line at Borana Race Village.

Despite the mud and rain, we had fun. We did it! I felt unstoppable! It was a good day after all!