Mountain biking in a National Park with wild animals sounds scary and is something an adrenaline junkie would love to do. It was my time to embrace my fears of mountain biking, and what could be a better opportunity than riding in a park with animals that could eat me. Let me just give you a bit of a background into my previous mountain biking experiences.
Last year we decided to go to Taupo, New Zealand, with two of my best friends who own a bach there. As a group we chose to hire mountain bikes for a day and go try out some of the tracks that lead down to the Huka Falls. On the brochure it said the tracks were easy ... well for me they were not, the tracks lead up and down steep hills, most of which would throw you head first of the bike if you didn't break the right way. I am not an experienced mountain biker, I biked round my local neighbourhood when I was a kid and that is it. The remainder of that bike ride I spent pushing my bike crying while B and my two best friends did tricks and loved every second of it. Can you now see why I was so reserved about mountain biking?
In Hell's Gate National Park however, I experienced a new side to mountain biking. Here is some brief information we learnt about the park. It was founded in 1984 and is situated south of Lake Naivasha in Kenya and northwest of Nairobi. The park is small and is mainly known for its variety of wildlife, the scenery and the Hell's Gate Gorge.
The start of our journey into hell was at our campsite about 4kms down the road. We had our backpacks on and were ready for the ride brmmmm, brmmmmm. When I got on my bike I felt at ease, ready to take off down the extremely bumpy road on the way to a new adventure. Biking was easy and when we entered the park the scenery almost jumped out at us! Here we were in the park, looking at high rock cliffs and animals all over the grassy plains. The best part about those cliffs was that you could rock climb them, although this was only trad climbing and I had no experience in this, but B's face came alight with the possibility. We finished the first part of our journey and jumped off the bikes, ready to head down into the gorge.
The gorge was crazy, flood warning signs everywhere and evacuation paths in case of a flash flood. Wouldn’t this be great? Survived our whole time in Africa only to get swept away in a flash flood. Of course this didn’t happen but our guide keep saying, "Let’s have a quick look around and then get the HELL out of here!" And that’s exactly what we did, had a quick look and then got the hell out.
On the way back (12km bike ride home, 24km bike ride in total) B decided we should race, maybe burn off the a tiny piece of the fat we had put on while being on tour in Africa (good luck with fat burning). He took off on the path and I followed behind him. Half way along he speed up and I just couldn’t keep up, cycling 4m behind him the whole time I arrived at the gate - tomato red and mad as hell. "B you should have waited, I couldn’t even stop for water!" I was scared an animal might attack and that’s why I didn’t stop. He just laughed and said "Time to go home, I’m hungry and ready for lunch!"