I had toyed with the idea of cycling to the DHL Kakuzi Challenge camp site on the eve of the race – Saturday, March 10 – but changed my mind when I remembered my saddle needs re-upholstery. A bunch of friends and I piled into MN’s car and drove there at 6:30 am Sunday morning. Great personality.
We were worried that the type of car we had would not make it on the un-tarmacked Kakuzi roads, but were pleasantly surprised to find hard surface roads. Without a map, a wrong turn on the massive Kakuzi farm can lead you on an endless loop. All I had were sketchy directions from Samson Gichuru.
Samson Gichuru and the others had cycled to the camp site from Kikuyu town on the eve of the race. After taking a few wrong turns, we spotted the junior racers making their way along the twenty five kilometre trail.
Located about sixty kilometres from Nairobi, along the Thika-Nairobi Highway, straddling both sides of the highway, the sprawling Kakuzi horticultural farm occupies thousands of acres. This Nairobi-Securities-Exchange-listed company is also the leading Hass avocado variety exporter in Kenya.
The thrill of being on Thika Road again this time in a fast car was awesome. After a quick stop at the Kakuzi Main Office to inquire about directions, we left the tarmac onto the red dusty road leading into the massive farm and followed the cycle tracks in the red earth.
The trail is hard surface with lots of loose dust and a few rocky sections. Only mountain bikes could take this route.
My curiosity was how the Open Category off-roaders would fare. Would there be anyone to beat Kinja this time? The Open Category was fifty kilometres in the boiling heat of this lovely March morning.
I looked around for familiar faces and spotted Mak10 chilling on a bale of hay with Itch. We had arrived late and had missed the start off. Mak10 harangued me for not having cycled to Kakuzi or taking part. Itch had a nice video of the starting of the race that showed the pros on the fifty kilometre Open Category taking of at the head. FR had taken part in fifty kilometre open category and came in cheerful as usual, but dusty and tired.
After milling about talking to the early finishers of the twenty five kilometre race, munching on some juicy Kakuzi pineapples, stuffing our faces with the the chicken or beef sharwamas, soaking up the atmosphere for about two hours and sampling some Kakuzi Hills Honey the first finisher of the fifty kilometer Open Category rode in:
Kinja is no ordinary racer; many of the young men in the open category were once his trainees. AG recounted some grueling training sessions he has put FR and others through; cycling uphill on heavy gears, taking off the bike seat on long distance rides.
Samson Gichuru too was one of his “pupils”. Kinja also has a team of junior racers aged between eight and sixteen years that he has been training. Many of them have become a part of his own family as he assumed the role of father to the homeless boys, rescuing them from the harsh streets.
Yes, there were some SheCyclists who scooped top prizes:
That Kakuzi Hills Honey is fabulous! Part of the proceeds from registration funds raised goes to support the Kakuzi Hills Honey Community project.
Happy Cycling in Nairobi and beyond! ❤ Nairobi! ❤ Cycling!