Thursday, November 24, 2011
KOTO Bike Ride 2011
KOTO (Know One, Teach One) is a great organisation here in Vietnam that helps disadvantaged and street youth by giving them the opportunity to learn life and hospitality skills. It was started by an Australian and if you're ever here you should definitely drop into one of their restaurants. The training and value they give is evident simply being there.
Once a year they do a charity bike ride from Hanoi to the national park in Ba Vi. Johnny did it years ago, and I tossed up that we should do it this year. Then I found out it was $200 and that put an end to that. Then, a week or two before Johnny got CBA on board and suddenly a bunch of us were doing it.
The first thing I should note is that it was 70kms. SEVENTY KILOMETERS. It started off at 60kms, then on the morning Johnny said it was 65kms, then at the end of the ride someone said it was more like 70kms. Let me tell you now, when you're hot, tired and about to burst into tears, it's a very big difference.
But the key point here is that we finished it. Or more importantly, I finished it. The first half was "okay". It was definitely novelty riding through the countryside and seeing children run to the streets to yell "hello!". By the time we pulled into the halfway point I was ready to quit. It was emotional. For some reason I kept going. I think it was because:
a) I was under the illusion of "how much worse can it get"
b) Surely there's some type of barrier I'd "break through" or
c) Not wanting to be "that person"
The second half was painful. Tears were imminent the whole way. I did not break through any type of barrier. We rode through amazing countryside but it it now tinged with pain. I will never look at it the same way.
The upside is: Johnny has proved himself to be an AMAZING partner. I'm not going to get gushy but we all know how competitive he is. He, instead of taking up the challenge rode with me the entire way, didn't get angry or frustrated, and knew when I was about to burst into tears and stopped. He said later he didn't even feel like he rode all that way. To him it was a walk in the park. Oh the other upside is that I didn't die. And KOTO raised money.
The irony is that they called this a "fun ride". IT IS NOT A FUN RIDE. It is a physical and metal challenge. My sense of achievement is overshadowed by pain. Pain that will live forever.
* This isn't meant to be a negative post, it's supposed to be a happy one about achievement blah blah. Yeah!