Horombo camp. Like camping in Cloud City
Horombo camp sits at 12,000′. This was perhaps the most beautiful camp yet. The campground sits on top of a peninsula of rock, jutting out from the mountain.
In the morning, the porters and guides gathered for a farewell celebration for the climbers, singing songs, including my favorite tune, Akunamata (not the Elton John version). The event was meaningful and moving, both groups, coming together from a world apart, having much to be thankful for from the other. We were all choked up, and unable to hide the emotion behind our sunglasses. These were folks who busted their asses day and night for us. And now they were honoring us. They ended with a song that loosely translates as ” You Shine.”
We rode down the Marangu route (known as the Coca Cola route), to the gate. The route drops about 6,000′ over 12 miles. The terrain was very technical most of the way, with tricky rock gardens, big drop offs and 18′ water bars that traversed the trail all along the way. The water bars often had a smoother path on the sides, but sometimes did not. So you either dismounted and carried your bike over, or you committed to hop it. Given the circumstance, Doug had instructed us to ride our ability, minus one. But with yahoos like Stuart and Steve riding, it was hard to not try to clean all of it. Following either of those guys on a line can be hazardous to your health. Several of us went over the handlebars, but fortunately, we made it to the gate without significant (at least not permanent) injury.
Mad props to Esther, who had only been on a mountain bike three times before coming on the trip. She went from being a novice trail rider on the first day to riding over drop offs and rock gardens by the last. Also, Natalie, who became the first teenager to ever ride Kilimajaro when she joined us or the ride from Kibo to Horombo.
Strava descent from Uhuru Summit to Kibo.
Lots of great folks on the trip. It was an honor and a pleasure to make this journey with them all. We raised almost half a million dollars to help bring clean water to this wonderful country and its beautiful people.
For the bike geeks,who might care, the Bonty specs are as follows:
Bontrager Race Light Frame, circa 1996
Single speed conversion with a Philcentric eccentric bottom bracket
Race face Deus Cranks, 34 tooth chainring
Singleworks cog, 22 Tooth
Rock Shox SID Fork, with progressive spring conversion (air cartridge removed). 1″ steerer (ugh)
Avid 7 rim brakes and levers
Race Face Deus Stem
Easton Carbon Monkey riser bar
KORE seatpost, 26.8
WTB Rocket SLT saddle
Vuelta Zero Lite (Misnomer, these things are tanks) wheels. Flat Attack pre-injected tubes
Garmin 500 bike computer