I type this post as we ride a bus through the jungles of Sumatra. Sara and I have just finished two days at Rumbai International School and are headed to their sister school in Duri. More about Rumbai later. But now let's return to Borneo.
One may take pause when one is informed that the mountain bike ride starts at the crocodile farm.
Well, after three bi wheeled excursions with the pedaling maniacs - affectionately monickered, the Mud Hogs - I began wondering if I would have been better off with the crocodiles.
Brent, Matt, Ben, and Linc proved gracious guides to the jungles of Borneo as we rode through ultra steep urban alleys, up paved climbs to radio towers, from the crocodile park through rubber and tapioca plantations - atop earthen pathways separating ponds in shrimp farms. That is or course, if one includes being ground into dust in the jungle gracious. I do.
We rode with a pack of about twenty riders and every time a climb did me in they would wait at the top allowing me to catch up. But of course I suffered the curse of all new riders to an established crew. I was shown the double edged mercy of a no drop ride. No drop meaning the last rider is not left to fend for themselves, which is definitely a plus when cobras and venomous spiders are a part of the equation. On the other hand these guys also adhered to the once the last rider finally catches up at the top of the climb - hit the road (or in this case, the trail) rule. This means my lagging allowed the lunatics up front the chance to rest every now and then and start out fresher each time they waited for me. On the road back home in flat Ohio - I am more often than not in that front pack waiting for off the pace riders to catch up and then secretly chuckling to myself when as soon as they do - zipping out again.
Karma is a bitch.
After awhile though, Brent encouraged me to take a little extra time recovering from climbs and coached me along with gearing tips that really made a difference and eventually we were out of the hills and I was with the pack again.
I'm not sure why I find sport in simply surviving things - but I am really glad I went on these rides. I almost backed out of the last one but thanks to the encouragement of the Pasir Ridge International School's Mud Hogs members I went for it.
I mean how many folks can say they went on a jungle bike ride in Borneo that started at the crocodile farm?