So I just got back from Indonesia with 101 7th grade students... wow! I'm wrecked. I've hit a massive granite wall at full speed. I hope it's just that and not Avian Flu, Swine Flu, SARS, Malaria, Dengue, or any of the other baddies...
The morning of day three started off fairly cool and it looked to be a good day. I wasn't too tired, considering my lack of sleep due to the DJ booth fiasco. I placed myself amongst the front 75 riders or so and I found the Kiwis. Have I mentioned them yet? They were three guys I'd met and ridden with a little on days 1 & 2. Baron, Mario, and Steven.
We started off uphill but there was a rough downhill right away. It was plenty wide - fit 10 riders abreast - and it had to be as we had no chance to spread out. All of a sudden I saw a major endo and a rider superman off the front of his bike into a cloud of bike, human, rock, and dust. No one had stopped so I did. He was East Tomorese so I knew there was little hope of communicating with him. I grabbed his arms and dragged him to the side. Then I went back for the bike. Mind you, all the while, 100 bikes are flying by and one guy even had the gall to yell at me for being in his way. Crash man started shouting "ambulancia, ambulancia" and in case you didn't figure that one out, he wanted an ambulance. I didn't see too much damage, but he was bleeding and he had managed to crush one of his bar-ends in the crash. That takes some doing.
Of course the phone I had been issued by the organizers didn't work. I got something to the effect of "you call cannot be completed as dialed..." but I didn't bother to put Crashman on the line to see if he understood. After a few minutes a motorcycle showed up and sent me on my way.
"So much for doing well today", I thought. I kicked it down and made the best time I could. It actually felt really good blowing by all the non-competitive riders at the back of the pack. I felt really fast, but I knew I had little chance of joining a fast pack.
I spent most of the day alone and off to the side I saw the Kiwis madly pumping up a tire after an apparent puncture. A little voice suggested I wait for them and ride in a pack, but I charged forward and continued to pass people. About an hour later, the Kiwis were on my tail with the tiniest Malaysian rider I've ever seen in tow. I jumped on the back and started taking turns at the front. I definitely need to start listening to the little voice more often.
Miss Malaysia wasn't contributing, but she held on for dear life. If my calculations were correct she was the 2nd female rider that day. I, on the other hand, struggled. Just when I was about to fall off the back, however, Mario felt sick. Or was it the $20 I slipped him to fake it? The Kiwis slowed down and I recovered a bit. Steven and Baron were absolute beasts, taking long, fast turns at the front and dragging the rest of us. My only saving grace was that I had a gel and some pure water in a bottle to share with Mario.
With about five km left to go I hit the wall, but the gents proved to be gentlemen indeed and they slowed the pace a little for me. Looking back, I think it may have been something to do with my food mix. It tasted a little funny all day... check out day 4 for more on that one.
We camped right on the beach and I staked out some prime real estate. The organizers had learned from the previous night's fiasco and made sure the film was nowhere near the riders encampment. A bath in the ocean, followed by dinner and I was just about finished.
But the best news of the day was that they knocked five minutes off my time for helping Crashman. I finished 67th for the day. Not too shabby.