15.01.2016 - MANANTALI
Next morning I planned making it untill Bamako in one day. But I was not expecting such an amazing and horriable track at the same time. Deep sand between the gras fields were difficult to make. My bike was a bit overloaded and all the weight in the back. Therefore you loose grip and control on your front wheel.
After the first four hours I urgently needed a break in the massive heat of Mali. While a little sleep in the tree's shadow I was woken up by some interested men.
This little boy joined me for a while when I rested a bit more. Everytime I was looking at him he looked the other way. I asked him to spend to time with me. He was quite happy about the water and dates I offered him. In return he carried half of his T-shirt full of peanuts and provided us with local food. I was talking french and he was always nodding. When I asked him for his name in the end I recognized I didn't understand just one single word. It was all facial expression. It's not his thin legs or disrupted cloths but more the smile and light in his eyes making this moment unforgetable.
My way to Manantali was about 125km just more or less heavy offroad trails. You repeatedly enter these small settlements. Far away from electricity or sewage systems people live by what nature provides. They seldom send some of their men to the next town to buy some stuff. These guys riding their small bikes like hell. You wont have any chance racing against them. They know every corner, hole or root.
The trails sometimes disapear in the nowhere. So I was happy grateful for my Garmin guiding me always back on the right track. Next day I had to clean my cooler because of all the gras and dirt preventing the system from function.
an awful head and obsticales like creeks, rocks and more made me struggling more and more. Mali almost broke me today! This day really was a torture for man and machine. But all the suffering from heavy conditions were worth it though.
Following my gps that guided me slowly to the expected end. But you never know what is waiting there for you behind the next corner. When you are physically and mentally entirely exhausted you need a good motivation for this. I had to pass this river with its deepst point of about 80cm with all my luggage. But fortunately there were some local helping a lost german traveller. We pushed my bike together over a very slippery surface and the little hill on the other side. Their exhausters are deeper. So they simply put a stick with wrap in it cross the river. The advanced riders basically go through it full-gas.
After a long day of 11h hardcore riding I felt asleep at this quiet place in the forest under palms. You can calculate the average speed by yourself. What a lively spot at night as well when you listen to all the animals' sounds.