Sunday, 16 September 2012

Perspective and Expectations

Hi all.
If you have been a regular reader of this then you will know that I travelled to Timor Leste to undertake the Tour de Timor.
You will also know that I was experiencing a significant amount anxiety with an impending sense of Dread and Doom.
Well having completed the Tour de Timor now. I certainly can report that the feelings were not unfounded as this event is as close to Hell on a bike as I have so far experienced.

Now before I go on I feel that I need to define what I mean by this. This event is grueling, firstly you are in a country that is in the process of development. However my experience as always in coming to these sort of places is that the people smile and greet you with a sense of joy and happiness not often seen elsewhere.

But as usual I am side tracking.

The event "Tour de Timor" is the most difficult riding I have undertaken to date.

You're riding in HEAT. On some days the temperature reached 48 degrees Celsius on one day with all days making it over 37!

In the evenings you camp! With sleep difficult! And the event itself is a punish with u climbing high into the mountains high as 1500 mtres plus!

I came with 2 of my longest and dearest friends.... Which was helpful and allowed me to get through.

However the purpose and title of this blog is Perspective and Expectations.

So this is where that comes in. I myself did not ride all the event and did not complete all the stages. But rather than be disappointed I have chosen to be reflective. Considering 90% (I am guessing on this number) would likely not even have tried. Also in regard to the place of Timor Leste. It challenges your expectations and perspective or world view. As stated earlier the people here appear happy as a large population of children in particular came out to cheer us on as well as we're eager to assist.

As is indicated by the photo below of some guys who really wanted to have a go of fixing a flat tyre I gained on the hellish roads.

I got the flat along a patch where there was small village and a family sitting under a tree watching riders pass. I asked if I could sit with them and soon I had a crowd standing and watching with interest. I could tell they were eager to assist and they started pressing and trying to work out what was wrong. I was happy to allow them to assist but guided them through tricky bits that they were obviously unfamiliar with eg quick release wheels and disk brakes on a bike. One of the guys I noted had a hand full of tools to help. It was nice to share the experience and assurance especially the pumping of the tyre which is a punish for me. (I need to move to CO2 canisters maybe)

However as the people have been displaying a welcoming behaviour the county as with all countries has it's challenges! It is a country where conflict has occurred and evidence is still visable today, malnutrition and general health can be poor particularly in the villages as is indicated by one of the highest infant birth rates but also one of the highest infant mortality rates on the planet.

So in regard to my own difficulties of not completing the bike ride well for one I am no elite athlete. I always had modest at best expectations. But as indicated by the the earlier post my anxiety and feeling of DOOM I was able to successfully work through and with reflection admit that I have actually flourished! I completed this by focusing on those items that i can directly control eg how much water i drink in the heat, what food i eat, and to be mindful of the moment and enjoy that for what it is of being neither good nor bad but simply real terms I could see these lessons as being more valuable than focusing on what I did not do.

This event has been a challenge as well as a great experience which I can take with me and remember which I can then draw on into the future.

I have my achievements that were completed here and I take those with me home keeping them close at hand so as I can draw on them in similiar periods in the future.

I would recommend the event IF AND only if you SAY YOU ENJOY THE FOLLOWING:
*Cycling up hills considered by some to be WALLS
*CAN APPRECIATE and handle an over whelming sense of uncertainty
*you check your western world expectations at the border
*love adventure
*can cope with personal challenge of your limits

then and only then would I recommend the event.

BUT if you do undertake the challenge you may well be rewarded with a range of unexpected rewards that will stay with you well into the future where you can reflect on your position in the world.

Eg if you are reading this you are among some of the richest people on the planet not that I am such a stunning writer and you are blessed to read my words, but:
*you can read
*your government has not censored large chunks of the Internet
*you are likely well fed
*as well as a range of other privileges I am sure you experience that others do not!

Just a few things to gain some perspective!!!

I guess the best way to end this post is to describe the experience that allowed me to begin to think about it.

There was a guy we met on the Tour
Who's name is Eric and who we called Eric the eel, who during a conversation similar to that above stated that some people really would do well to walk around with the following emblazoned on their shirt!!!


See you next time!

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