During the past two decades, work has occupied a significant part of my life. It’s caused me stress, grief, hair loss and made me salt&pepper (wise is only the way I look). I was taken into custody a number of times and I’ve survived very hairy situations (yes! more hairy than my legs!), which you better don’t tell my Mum about…anyway, all of this makes up for great bar stories, but took a toll along the way.
It is in glorious mornings like today that, once again, I realise how fortunate I have been to travel the world and do what I love for living.
If it wouldn’t have been for Greenpeace, perhaps today I would prepare for the #TCRNo6 climbing the pre-Alps, back in Friuli. Let’s be clear, it isn’t that bad, but even riding up the Stelvio every weekend, if you live in Northern Italy, might become routine after a while.
Here we are, the province of Batangas, in the Philippines! Two hours drive south of Manila, where I am currently training for my day job, I’ve found an early sunrise and a mountain top, perfect for another sort of training, which frankly I didn’t expect.
A complete bonus, which makes me happy to have to have carried my bike, in this long journey with its final destination Amsterdam.
It all involves a 04.30 wake up call, a fair bit of water and a good sense of direction. Being 13 degrees north of the Equator, the twilight starts really early and the humidity is sky high. For some sick reason I love those conditions; it just makes me feel like I’m immersed in the jungle environment which surrounds me.
Not quite the conditions the Transcontinental race will throw at me, but good for keeping those hairy legs turning while I’m soaking up my day-job training. Speaking of hairy legs, please, remember to help me get a shave before July 29th! In case you have forgotten, or haven’t done it yet, here is how-to.
Navigating this terrain isn’t trivial, specially in the early hours of the day, but there are good land marks telling me the hills are not far away. Not to mention the navigation app, which I will use for the TCR and can now field-test in the unknown.
I’m getting THE look from the locals, wondering what this dickhead westerner in Lycra is doing around here, I just smile and wave back as they all say, “Hey Joe!”
50 odd kilometres into the ride and few hundred vertical meters after, here we are, back to Hacienda Isabella. I’m not sure my room mate realized I’ve been away for three hours. Time to freshen up and go to make sure Greenpeace supporters are getting the best bang for the buck.
I love the Philippines and its people, I’ve been here probably eight times, by land, air and sea. Of all those places I’ve travelled for work, it’s one of the rare destinations I’ve also travelled to for holidays, back in 2012.
I’ll be back, sometime in the future and make sure I’ll carry my bike, once again!
As fortunate and free I am in my existence, there are human beings who aren’t as lucky as me. I haven’t done much to deserve such life, and they didn’t either. Please, help me supporting Nazra Syria, let me do the pedalling and them turn the tide.