Friday, April 22, 2011

TdA Stage 77. Mobilising People.

140km. Bush Camp to Ghanzi.

While I would like to imagine that I checked my ego at the office when I set out to experience the world, I admit that it takes a certain amount of ego to undertake a 12000km bike ride in Africa. Everyone here is guilty of that.

Now, after 9000km of riding and three months of the mostly basic living conditions of bush and desert camps, the illnesses, the injuries and the fatigue, most of the egos here have been shredded and left to die along this seemingly endless road. Beating or being beaten on a given day by another rider has less and less bearing on how we choose to ride on a given day. Determination to reach the end, rather than ego, is what keeps most of us going.

I have seen few things that can mobilise and unite people as predictably as National Pride. We have observed this as we have followed the movements in North Africa during this trip. And, today, we had a chance to observe National Pride at work as we formed national team time trial.

Teams formed quickly. Racers and non-racers alike joined forces to represent their countries. The Canadians, the Americans, the Dutch, the Germans, the Brits, the Aussies (x2) and the Commonwealth battled it out for 40km. The trash talking and stereotyping started early, and it was predominantly directed at the Germans. They just make it too easy!

Though none of its four members are still in the overall race, the Dutch earned the bragging rights of being the fastest nation. Our team tied with the Americans for the runners up.

The fun continued at camp as there was an Ostrich roaming around, checking out all of the tents. We watched and laughed as it poked around and eventually tearing a hole in Steve's tent and then laid an egg. Something new every day on this trip!


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