Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Man Down

Today saw us cross the border into Malaysia from Singapore. I have never done so without flying across in a plane so to do so in a bus was a new experience. You basically check out of one country, enter a neutral zone before checking into the next. It made me wonder if the neutral zone was one of those places where you can do anything you want and no one can stop you. Like international waters. I wanted to gamble, let off fire works and shoot with illegal firearms.

Anyways... After checking into the race hotel, we decided to go for a ride. The weather here is much like Brisbane in the middle of summer, in the middle of the day. A billion degrees, humid as a tropical jungle and it could rain at any moment. The Europeans on the team suffered in the sun, but so did I. It felt like my head was going to explode.

After 60km, we were 20km from the hotel. One rider, Clemens from Austria, managed to hit a pothole and puncture both of his tyres. With only one tube on us, we had to leave him behind to wait. The plan was to leave him by the side of the road, go back and get the team manager to pick him up. Meanwhile, if Clemens could get a taxi, he would call the manager to let him know.

Apon returning to the hotel, the team manager was in the managers meeting for the race and could not be contacted for 2hrs. We assumed that clemens would simply get a taxi and find his way back. 2hrs later and he still had not returned. We asked the manager if he had received a phone call only to discover that he was using a Malaysian SIM card and the number was different. Surely, Clemens had found a taxi by now.

3.5hrs since we saw him, the team presentations were begining and he still had not appeared. It was time to panic. The team manager tried to call and I went to the lobby to see if he contacted the hotel. As I got back to my room, he walked out of the elevator.

Stuck on the side of the road for 4hrs, he sought shelter at a service station but could not get a taxi. A local man who spotted him, kindly gave him a lift back. Clemens still had his wallet and both his kidneys, but boy was he sunburnt. Perfect preparation for the next day's race!

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