02/19/2012 into Marrakech


I have never seen a rim split like this before. Will it fail catastrophically causing my tire to blow out as I am descending?

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Will I be warm enough? It is below freezing now. Can I make it 95km to Marrakech tomorrow? What if there’s a strong headwind? Should I take a bus? I toss and turn, waking late in the day at 8:30AM. They say a coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man only once. After dying a thousand deaths, I resolve to be brave.

I dress in almost everything I have, pack and go out. An omelet is prepared for me. Tangine’s are cooking. Life is normal in Tizi n’Tichka.

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It is actually sunny and in the low 50’s Fahrenheit. I reduce the air pressure by half in my back tire and begin the descent. Within an hour I take off all the extra clothes, even my socks, and am cycling now in a shirt, pants and sandals. I check the rim crack frequently, and it appears to be the same size. I feel strong. My confidence grows.

Mountainside village.

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Cute home.

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The best house. Many rooms and right next to the pink Mosque. Location, location!

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The descent follows a river valley. It is a beautiful day and I am enjoying the ride immensely.

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Leaving the snow behind.

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With the great vistas and temps in the 60’s it is perfect.

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I stop and take a picture every couple of kilometers!

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Villages and agriculture occupy every ledge.

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Until finally I am in the plane below the mountains.

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I scoot the last 35 km into Marrakech. How do I find my hotel without a map in that maze of a city? I have the name and address written on a piece of paper. I ask 20 times, and eventually get there. However, do not expect me to ever ask for directions when I return to the States. Nope, this is a special exception to my manliness.

Marrakech is very busy, my hotel is reasonable at 80Dh a night. ($10) I am going to like it here. Food is everywhere and well priced, lots of interesting people, and so so much going on! Tomorrow we’ll see why Marrakech is so wonderful!

7 thoughts on “02/19/2012 into Marrakech

  1. 1) please get that wheel replaced before you think of riding any farther!
    I am so glad you were lucky.
    2) when you fly out of Marrakech, I believe you transfer and sit in a waiting room with no one telling you anything, and the feeling that everyone else is getting on their plane and you are just waiting and wondering. the departures times on the ticket are unrelated to reality and in the end, you arrive on time. At least that’s how I remember my experience twice in that place. a very favorite place indeed. please raise a glass of oj to my health.
    3) you are so awsome.

  2. Hi Cyn,

    The Marrakech side of the mountain was green and lush in contrast to the dry Ait Ben Haddou side.

    The hotel is a square with a central courtyard that all the windows open to and it is tiled. It is noisy, but I can sleep anytime.

    I get on a plane in Casablanca in 15 days.

  3. Hi Sage!

    1. I might push my luck some more and ride to Essaouira. I’m considering the options.

    2. Hmm, the airlines don’t run in a western fashion… Thanks for the head up. I have an overnight in Barcelona, so I should make the connection! I already like it here. I’ll swig some 4dh (50 cent) fresh orange juice to your health.

    3. No, you’re awesome. You’re the master and I’m a recently inspired grasshopper.

  4. CONGRATULATION Shawn!

    Now, Im in Aït Benhaddou!
    I arrived at 1PM and stayed in auberage Valentine – brother’s of Lashun.
    So, I still going by your footsteps but with problems.
    7km after Skoura my hub with internal gear was death.
    It was as the broken clutch – I spun pedals but bike doesn’t move.
    So, some motorbike took me in tow to Ourzazat where I found some bike’s mechanic who gave me new wheel with shimano external gear. It cost about 50$
    Ofcourse I have now chaine not belt:) And the gear working terribly.

    • I stayed there too. His wife is a great cook.

      OH NO about your gear hub. But we thought it might break with the noise it was making. I can just see you and your rig being towed by a motorbike!

      Gosh, best of luck to you. I’ll be in Marrakech another day or two. Found a good 80DH hotel.

  5. No, men are much more visible than women, by a two to three ratio. That ratio is reversed in the oasis, where the women seem to be more active gardeners. Here in Marrakech, the ration is not so extreme. But there are always tons of young men about.

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