Killer Bees, Dangerous Winds, and the Taj Majal. What a week!
Beard Experimenter and Serial Non-Showerer Paul Ashley Unett. Photo BBC.
As we mentioned before the start of the WCR Grand Tour, the Guinness Record Book does not differentiate between supported and unsupported attempts at Fastest Circumnavigation by Bike. Nor does it have a special category for riders who go for a very long time without washing. Which is a shame, because if they did we’re sure we’d have some good news for one of our racers this morning.
Manxman Paul Ashley Unett has managed a staggering week and a half without so much as a look at a baby wipe. He is currently ticking a host of southern American States off his itinerary, and in clocking up close to a thousand miles has proudly dodged soap and running water like they were bringers of bad luck.
One might think that people would be keeping their distance, but this is not the case. It seems that truck drivers especially like getting very close to Paul.
Sean’s location keeps changing, so Dollar Shave Club have nowhere to send his razors.
Sean Conway, meanwhile, is wisely using his time on the road to put a new look together. When this is all over his funky new beard will gain him immediate admittance to one of the bicycling brotherhoods we looked at last week. We haven’t been able to establish whether Sean is “curating” his beard or just letting it grow out in all directions, but we’re sure that any racer with time to shave on The Grand Tour can’t be taking the thing seriously at all.
“A tidy cyclist…”, on the other hand, “…is a happy cyclist”. Well, the Grand Tour’s busiest communicator Niel Coventry-Brown seems to think so anyway. The New Zealander is still in Peru and says that although he’s only been on the go for fourteen days, it certainly feels a lot longer. Packs of wild dogs have been apparently wont to chase Niel, but on the upside they’re probably making him go faster, right?
He has showered at every opportunity, and has also managed to catch some Inca Ruins along the way. Not the ones he wanted to catch, but Inca Ruins nonetheless.
We gather that the delights of Maachu Piccu were sacrificed for a laundry session and a haircut on Sunday. By way of compromise, he managed a trip to the nearby stones of Saqsaywaman. The torturous ascents of the Andes are now slowly releasing Niel from their grip and he feels that with these now out of the way he can start really hammering. You have been warned.
Richard Dunnett is another racer,who, like the wind, we currently find blasting through the southern States. His day of putting down savage miles was cut short at the weekend by said wind, which not only literally blew him off the road, but caused local authorities to close said roads on Sunday.
And Martin Walker was yet another who decided to let weather win the battle over the weekend. Encountering a colossal thunderstorm, it was all he could manage to unroll his sleeping bag and assume the foetal position until things had calmed. When the race is over, he looks forward to seeing out the rest of his life in a country whose climate is more Cool Temperate Oceanic than Blistering Icy Thunderstormic. With Martin in second place overall, a friend of current Tour leader, Mike Hall, is putting Martin up in Minneapolis. Make sure you see him take a bite of everything first, Martin! Only joking.
It doesn’t look like Mike needs untoward help at the moment. He was the first rider to break the 6000km mark last week, and having reached Calcutta, next up was a flight to Australia, but not before he had to get creative with his bike box building skills. Mike is not the first Long Distance rider who has had to strenuously deny charges of International Espionage made by foreign police. And he probably won’t be the last. Here’s his bike.
Simon Hutchinson is barreling along again after his brief hospital stay in India last week. Rehydrated and full of beans, the Cavan man, like Niel, knows that all work and no play etc., etc., so he availed himself of the opportunity for a touch of stationary sightseeing over the weekend. But he’s back in the saddle now.
As is Stuart Lansdale. Readers will recall that Stuart needed to make some changes to his route having encountered some technical difficulties in Ukraine. The time he lost ate into his hectic visa schedule, so Kazakhstan got skipped and he too is now being chased by dogs somewhere near the Taj Mahal. Possibly. We await photographic confirmation…
Somebody else who overcame a Mechanical is Jason Woodhouse. The Boy on his Bike had until recently been putting down his miles in Portugal. Jason both fully and quickly acquainted himself with the charming, carefree, fast-and-loose driving style of Portuguese motorists, and has lived to Tweet the tale.
If the accelerated swerving wasn’t enough to be going on with, Jason also discovered which bike handling skills come into play when you draft a speeding truck and it suddenly loses its cargo of Portuguese beehives. Complete with discombobulated, grumpy Portuguese bees. Yeow!
He has put it all down to experience and from Philadelphia onwards (where he touched down yesterday) will not draft any more slapdashedly-loaded, large, bee-carrying vehicles.
A wise man.