Monday, 8 February 2016

One very broken derailleur

Day 2: Imouzzer Ida Outanane – Taroudant
Time: 4:42:09
Distance: 98.2km
Average Speed: 20.9km/h

It turns out February is not a great time to see the cascades. Because the rain doesn't start until March there are no waterfalls at the moment. There was just a dribble of water dropping down into a 45 metre plungepool. Later in the day people will jump into it.

I managed to get on the road before 9 taking on a 4km climb right away. At the top of the climb I passed through the village of Imouzzer and stocked up on water for the first part of the day. The man running the shop was drinking tea so he poured me a glass and gave me some bread to dip into some kind of oil (it looked like honey) that he was eating. The first 15km of the day were all up hill but finally the descending started on great roads. After 30km I reached the main Marrakech - Agadir road (much faster than any of the roads so far) and headed for Agadir before getting on the road for Taroudant.

I had about 50km done before midday and stopped for beef tagine lunch at a truck stop. The rest of the day was on dead straight, flat, boring roads but I wasn't complaining after 2 days getting my legs broken in the mountains. I was trying to get into Taroudant before 3pm to get a few things done. For starters my derailleur has been jumping and making noise since the start of the trip. I took it into a bike shop where the man running the place indicated that the derailleur was near the end of it's days. He made some adjustments and it seemed to be running ok. 30 seconds after leaving the shop the derailleur moved 180 degrees and almost came off the bike. I went back to the shop to see what we could do. Luckily, the rear dropout was just bent (it's designed to snap I'm told) so we bent it back straight. The derailleur was completely mangled so we put on a cheap Chinese one in its place and tuned the gears up as best we could. The bike will run fine for the next few days but I'll need to replace the part in Marrakech. Next on the list was a SIM with internet so that I could use google maps when I'm lost. I'll have some friends arriving in Marrakech on Thursday and having a local SIM will make it a lot easier meeting up.

I got a hotel just off the crazy main street and washed the last 2 days bike clothes in the sink. Taroudant is one of the most insane places I've been to. Cars, bicycles, motorbikes, horse drawn carts and people move through the narrow streets all at the same time and a collision always seems seconds away. Nobody goes slow here and there are no footpaths so everyone shares the one road. I walked around town for the evening managing to get lost in the souk (market) a few times. Tomorrow I'll attempt to climb the 2nd highest mountain of this trip. Tizi-n-Test is a mountain pass in the High Atlas mountains. A road crosses the pass, connecting Marrakech and Taroudant. The altitude of the pass is at 2,093 metres.

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