Cherise testing her TT bike on the African Continental Champs ITT route in Asmara
After a much needed good night’s sleep, I woke up feeling recovered and refreshed this morning. After breakfast and a very strong cup of Eritrean coffee, they like it strong here; we set off on our morning training ride. Cherise Taylor, Louis Meintjies, Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg and myself are all doing the individual time trial tomorrow, so we headed off to the time trial course for our training.
The women’s elite individual time trial takes place tomorrow morning, staring at 9am (8am South African time) and is 18km long. It takes place on an out and back course. The course is somewhat undulating and very exposed to the wind.
During today’s training ride, we had a strong tail wind on the way out and a head wind coming back to the finish line. This seems to be the general wind direction trend in Asmara as the men commented that it was the same for their team time trial yesterday.
During training I did a few interval efforts to determine how my body would respond to the altitude. Time trialing at 2350m consistently is not a common occurrence and of course, altitude will be a factor. It will be important to pace myself well during the time trial tomorrow, but having said that I feel that my body is responding well to the change in altitude and my legs felt good in training today. I suppose the few sessions on the Altitude trainer at the Institute of Sport in Newlands, Cape Town did help, but of course time will only tell. I am feeling confident and will be giving it my all tomorrow!
An Eritrean bicycle shop
I am really enjoying my time in Asmara. I must admit I was somewhat nervous coming to Eritrea. It is surrounded by relatively unstable countries, namely Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia, but I can happily say that I am very pleasantly surprised by the country!
The national motto is “PERFECT HARMONY….FOR NATIONAL DIGNITY” and it’s definitely a motto the Eritrean’s live by. It is very peaceful and laid back here. I have been told that Asmara is the safest African capital city, and I definitely believe that. I have not once felt threatened or unsafe. I can honestly say I feel safer here than at home in South Africa. There is very little car traffic on the roads, people are mostly cycling or walking and the motorist respect the cyclists. The people are incredibly friendly and very helpful.
Asmara is a wonderful place