carocapZIMBABWE Cycling Federation (ZCF) president David Martin together with five other cyclists from Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and the UK yesterday entered the final stretch in their bid to set a new world record for the fastest human-powered crossing of the African continent.

The Carocap team which comprises of Martin, Nicholas Bourne from the UK, former South African professional cyclist Mark Blewett, David Kinjah from Kenya and Egypt’s Adham Mahmoud left Cairo on October 8 with a goal to reach Cape Town in a record-setting 34 days.

Through Egypt and then the Nubian Desert in Sudan, 45+˚C temperatures made cycling nearly impossible, with the team drinking half their body weight in water each day.

At just six days in, Blewett fell ill and the team, not wanting him to remain behind, decided to rest for a day and nurse him back to health.

Ethiopia next, where the roads were so bad they were almost impassable. There was hostility, in every sense of the word, from the terrain to the bystanders. The picture was different a few days later as the team smashed their way through Kenya in just three days.

The team entered Tanzania in such torturous conditions. Rutted, eroded and washed-away roads, originally built for 4x4s, became commonplace as the cyclists tackled the sandy pathways for the next 100km to a scorpion-infested campsite.

November heralded a milestone achievement for the team as they reached the halfway point. Pushing their bodies and minds to the limits over 25 days, the team had, by that time, ridden an equivalent of two Tour de France.

Last weekend, the CAROCAP team was dealt yet another blow when Kinjah, the team’s Kenyan representative, was forced to retire due to injury and illness. But that didn’t stop the team from completing a colossal ride, of almost 400km, on their way to Victoria Falls.

Crossing Vic Falls and making it well into Zimbabwe, the CAROCAP team rode a mammoth 402km. That’s five days in a row where they’ve ridden 350 + km each day.

Just over a month after departing from Cairo, the five riders crossed from Botswana into South Africa this week heading towards Cape Town.

The project is spearheaded by Nicholas Bourne, who has himself ran across Africa, from Cape Town to Cairo, 12 years ago, breaking the world record.

He raised over $300 000 for disadvantaged children and hopes to beat that this year.

Editors Note :  The CAROCAP Team finished in Cape Town yesterday, setting the World Record !  Congratulations on a superhuman achievement !

Source of main text : Newsday

16 November 2015