Sunday, September 11, 2011

Let The Crazy Begin

The aussie guys took the national riders on a 3 day workshop/training camp.

Getting to Dili earlier a few days before the race i thought (incorrectly) that we would have some time to hit the beach, shop and hang out but everyone was already in full Tour De Timor mode. Sara, Mat and i took every opportunity to leave the Timor lodge compound so we didnt get tasked with stupid things, Sara got stuck sorting and resorting bikes one day, which meant she had to sit inside a sweltering container moving them around over and over again.. she wasnt happy.. Sara is here to be a kind of PR role for the creative activities unit, which is the team that Mick heads up under the President. the last few years they have had a good event but no one has really known about it, so her role was supposed to be to basically get it out there, but like i said we have been doing shit that they could be getting other people to do, especially when there was volunteers sitting around with nothing to do.

i think i may have already mentioned that Sara studied photography for a year ar PSC, she has a canon 7D but she was quite rusty on how to work it, so since i got here tuesday we have been giving her little photography classes when we have the time. after a lot of convincing on Mats part, we made the media guys add Sara to our team, we needed another photographer desperately, as i was to be in the chopper back and forth every day and Mat was to be on a motorbike down with the riders, there was no way that we could do it all ourselves,  we got what we wanted in a way and lost out in others. They decided that instead of giving us another photographer on the ground, she was to be embedded with the President, so she could capture everyone he spoke to, shook hands with and all that sort of thing. i guess its a cool angle but we really could have used a extra pair of hands on ground.

we somehow wrangled ourselves a car so that made life heaps easier to get around etc. we spent most of the 4 days in Dili, pre race, helping to organize, get supplies,  and everything else. there was a few little events, press conferences, and pre race stuff we needed to shoot, which was good as it kept us occupied. mid week we were getting stuffed around so much, Mat was ready to go home, he was (and within reason to be) really pissed about how badly some things have been organised. we would be told off for not being somewhere we hadn't been told to be, then having people bitch at us for missing shots etc.  we were all hanging for the race to start hoping that would mean things would improve. we tried to get out of the compound as much as we could, so we could explore, but a lot of time was spent waiting to find out what we needed to do. so so painful.. wednesday and thursday night we went out. we went down to the malay bars, had some beers, played some pool and just hung out, it was so good to be away from the compound and to be doing something outside of worrying about TDT. thursday everyone was going to 'castys' so Mat and i decided to go out for dinner and catch up with everyone later on.  we went to OceanView seafood restaurant, supposed to be the best seafood in dili. everyone had been raving about it, Mat had been before and said it was great, this night, not so much. i got fish, it was baked in sweet chili, the sauce was really good, it was just the fish that was shit... im not sure if it was the type of fish or what but it was gross. the texture was all wrong, it had a strange taste and was just generally bad.. Mat got a 1kg crab. looked so good when it came out, but we both left feeling like we were going to throw up, must have ben a bad day. we met up with the others and had a few drinks to wash it down.

saturday was the ride for peace, its run in conjunction with TDT, Rich organised it. the idea stems from peace in sport. for the ride they got as many kids as possible to ride a short course, along with some of the riders who are part of TDT. the idea is to get kis to turn away from alcohol, cigarettes and violence and to get involved in sport. they did the same thing for the marathon earlier in the year. it was a really good little event and was really successful for what they are trying to achieve. Mat had his first experience riding backwards on a motorbike and taking photos, he had a few issues with the driver im worried about when he is doing it for real on the race.

saturday night we spent packing and organising, and trying to wok out what the fuck was happening for the start of the race. so far i didn't know what time i was getting on the chopper, Mat and Sara didn't know what time to be at the Presidents Palace for the start, everything and everyone was chaotic, no one could tell us anything. really we wanted to know 3 things, where each of us had to be in the morning , what time, and what to do with our bags, as we couldn't leave any at the compound. we ended up working all this out at about midnight, and probably then made it to bed at 12.30..

some images from the past week or so.

Following the riders through Dili as they practiced.
this is true Dili, i love how no one minds,
its ok we will just weave through all the crazy traffic..

TiBar. there is amazing mangroves and beach, great for diving..

at Tibar, where i spent my afternoon one day.

early morning start for Race For Peace.

The Aussie boys showing off their skills at the finish of Ride For Peace.

Kids enjoying the ride

more riding children.

"Women Can Too, I Can Too" UN Women tent at the finish of
Ride For Peace, they are helping to get more women to race in TDT.

Very happy kid finishing the ride.

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