In the home of champions

In the home of champions

Only a week left to the trip, but it sounds like it will be a great adventure!
The last few days have been somewhat busy. I spent a second day visiting fish farmers who were just as incredibly welcoming and generous. I was really sad that I didn’t have time to meet the other 3 groups, but felt so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet these people and share a day or two of their life.

The Lunza group of fish farmers
One fish farmer is also in the brick business

At the guest house where I was staying, I also met some really nice Americans who were in Kakamega to built churches and do some teaching. They invited me to join them for supper and breakfast and I had a great chat with Chris, with whom I shared my project to ride from Alaska to Argentina. Chris has lots of contacts in the US, who might be able to host me along the way!

Then Hussein picked me up and we rode to the Kakamega forest. Not that long ago, the area was still covered with the same tropical forest that is still found today in the Congo. The Kakamega forest is the only small patch that remains from that forest in Kenya. It is a really beautiful forest, with really big, old trees, lots of monkeys, butterflies, birds, etc.

Kakamega forest viewpoint

We walked to a viewpoint and then to a waterfalls.

The Isiukhu Falls

After the visit, Hussein took me to his house where I shared lunch with his family.

Hussein and his family

I was sad to leave, after spending 3 of my best days of the trip with Hussein, but hopefully one day I will be able to visit again.

Hussein took me to the matatu stand, where I waited for the « Iten Turbo » to be full. after about half an hour we were on our way. But this was going to be a very long journey: this matatu was obviously not an ‘express’ and we must have stopped a hundred times to drop people off or pick up new passengers. But the system works very well, makes total sense and I laughed thinking about how in the West we would react if we had to share 3 seats between 4 people, if not 5…

Finally I reached Eldoret, where Laf was waiting for me. I spent another night with John and his family and rode to Iten the next morning.

Iten is where Simon (whom I met this summer in the Yukon) lives and helps train the Kenyan Riders, a group of cyclists that are aiming to one day compete in the Tour de France. Iten is also the land of champions, where most, if not all, the best Kenyan runners come from.

Iten, the home of champions

It is pretty impressive to arrive here. As I was biking, I met several groups of runners. Even some westerners come here to train at high elevation with the best of the world. The place has a very different vibe from everything else I had seen so far in East Africa. I was going to say that I feel at home here, but actually I feel more like a granny… Everybody here is so fit and hardcore!

The Kenyan Riders doing some warm-up game

But today Simon and one of his friends took me on a really nice ride. The possibilities here are endless. We just rode here and there and it was lovely. The scenery is quite different from what I expected but really beautiful, it is a paradise for mountain bikers.

One of the trails where we rode today


Simon and Gabriel riding

We even stopped at a farm where we could see giraffes. We spent half an hour watching them, and they spent a good 15 minutes watching us!

One of the 4 giraffes that we saw

Then back to Iten to refuel… Fresh mangos, papayas, etc. Tomorrow we are leaving for a few days, biking north… and up!

Sunset on the Rift Valley

2 thoughts on “In the home of champions

  1. Allo Catherine
    Je continue de te lire avec plaisir, car tu me fais toujours découvrir des images et des lieux très exotiques pour moi qui n’ai jamais mis les pieds en Afrique. De plus tu sembles y éprouver un réel grand plaisir à rencontrer des personnes, elles aussi très exotiques à mes yeux.
    Santé et agréments pour toi et Laf pour la suite…

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