Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tour De Timor Stage 2 Laclubar to Beacu

i realise this has been a while coming, so writing will be brief(ish) and images plentiful.

i had returned to Dili the first night of the tour so that i could catch the heli again for day 2. i found myself back at Apod at 7am for a 8am flight. while we were waiting for the flight we got notification that they had delayed the start due to one of the water trucks going off the road, and was blocking the forward convoy from going through. they had to fix the truck, get it moved out of the way and they pushed back the start till about 9am. our flight was due to leave at 8am which means that we wouldn't be able to shoot any of the riders on the stage as they wouldn't have started by the time we were heading over them.. just to add to that, day 2 was a bit different. we had to pick up a medical evac from Laclubar as well. so that had a certain time frame on it too. there had been a massive outbreak of gastro at camp the first night, effecting 30+ riders (from 400) and quite a few support staff. another reason I'm glad i wasn't at camp the first night. in the end we negotiated that we would do a flyover, stop in Laclubar to pick up the evac, flyover the riders towards Beacu then land there and drop us off and take the evac back to Dili.

The flight to Beacu was amazing. the landscape was breathtaking, Beacu sits on the south coast of Timor Leste, prone to crocs but still a beautiful place, like most of Timor. because we were out of a major city we were able to get in closer over the riders, at one point too close, we could then see him waving us off. we were making the course just a little harder than it needed to be. i was harnessed in and leaning out the window, nearly crapped myself when the pilot decided to bank really quickly to one side which meant i was looking straight down to the ground with nothing but air in between.. mini freak out haha. it was fun though. we again got some great shots and landed in Beacu to await the arrival of the forward convey and the riders.

i spent the morning sitting out the front of the media room. and made friends with a little girl who was having a great old time yelling out to me and hiding.. she was cute as.. Mat decided not to get back on the motorbike for stage 2, still a bit sore and uncertain from day 1,  so he was riding in the forward convoy, they arrived about 11.30, with riders due at 1pm. so we had time to work out a strategy for shooting them as they came over the line. i spent time editing the previous days images then got ready for the riders arrival.

we shot the riders coming in, the press conferences and interviews and the crowd, then i retired to edit, get images ready for the heli and because i was a bit over it at that stage. once the bulk of the riders are over the line everyone starts finishing for the day, the video guys start coming in and editing their bits and pieces then everyone just generally hangs out. the line for dinner was crazy and i had spent about an hour earlier in the day trying to hunt down a meal card. no luck but i got an all access wrist band from one of the TDT girls who was heading back to Dili, so i would be fed for the rest of the tour. i would have liked to have the meal card though, they were punching holes for each meal. i would have been interested to see how many meals i actually ate, i know it wasn't many. Beacu was really well organised compared to some of the camp sites, the toilets and showers well well built (as well as they can be, being make out of star pickets and black plastic). and they actually catered properly. they didn't run out of food like they did further down the track at other sites.

Mat and i pitched our tent while it was still light enough to see what we were doing. this was a new tent i hadn't seen until this point but had been assured by mat that it was a good tent and that we would both fit... he was lying.. it was the tiniest tent i had ever seen. it was so so squishy but we made it work.  i was feeling a bit off so i went to bed pretty early, everyone else went to the travelling bar and had (quite) a few drinks. most of them didn't go to bed till 2am. we were all to be up again at 4.30am for the next stage..

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