Stage 1 - overslept
Updated: Apr 13, 2022
It’s such a lousy way to start the day when someone is shaking you awake, and loudly exclaiming “…we’ve slept in!” So a bit of a scramble to stumble about, throw cold water on the face, blink a few times, then throw everything into a fortunately not over-filled duffel and hump it down to the truck. In the end, not so bad… breakfast was still being served so, really, we weren’t ‘late.’
Assembly of riders in the hotel parking lot at 7:15, final head count and we’re off into a slightly overcast day, but great temperature (I don’t know what it was exactly, but it felt good). Very quiet out on the streets, a combination of Ramadan and a Sunday morning, I suppose. Micah led out for the first 5-6 kms to the Hassan II Mosque for the group photo. That should show up tonight on the tdacycling instagram site for anyone who’s interested. The air this morning, and in fact for most of the day, very hazy - murky; perhaps a late Harmattan, although the winds were generally out of the north all day.
The way out of Casablanca itself along a series coastal roads headed northeast, dominated by industrial development and not overly inspiring with seldom a glimpse of the Atlantic but at least traffic was minimal, and the roads flat. So it was a fairly quick run to the lunch stop at 60+ kms. There, the best TDA lunch ever! Freshly baked rolls, buckets of avocados and tomatoes, and probably the best melon I’ve tasted. It all went down. Back on the road, and shortly after the lunch stop, immediately into maybe 10 kms of road construction; varying loose to packed gravel but plenty of dust regardless. After that section the road changed dramatically … a very new dual avenue with sweeping views of the Ocean. Scattered upscale residential complexes, and best of all, what was reportedly the Royal Family’s palace. Not that this could be seen itself, given the kilometre plus wall with only tree foliage observable behind. Sentries posted every 100 m or so; what I think might have been the main gate marked by a very tall gatekeeper resplendent in scarlet and brass or possibly gold buttons.
Then the day almost over as the last 25 kms very quick on these now 6-lane avenues and into Rabat itself. Located the nights stop at the grandly-named Imperial Hotel (a ‘boutique’ hotel in fact, according to the signage). Sadly, no end-of-ride TDA soup and endless mugs of tea on which to rehydrate. The Bar closed too! But the water was hot and beds seem comfortable Dinner in the hotel had more than enough food for the 25 riders and 6 crew.
Breakfast tomorrow at 6:15 and then a longer day to Moulay-Bousselham. Hopefully a better sleep tonight.