Adventure Nomad

Adventure Nomad

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tour de Timor 2013: The Magic is Still There!

Team Air Timor (Myself, Laura Liong, Anche Cabral, and Alvin Lim) celebrating our 1st Place Mixed Team victory after the 2013 Tour de Timor

The 2013 Tour de Timor is over!  How did it go?  Well, the 2013 Tour de Timor was marred by controversy even before the race started, as the original organizers were effectively kicked out and shut out of the event by the new race organizers, the Tourism Office of Timor Leste.  Given the uncertainty of the quality that the new organizers could bring to the event, many international racers did not come this year.  To top that off, local racers who had signed up for the race staged a protest at the start line, and refused to start.  That left only a small field of about 60 competitors in total who started the race.

Well, the fledgling organizers got a lot of things right, like the logistics.  The food was plentiful, toilets and showers were adequate, and our luggage was moved efficiently.  The organizers also engaged Russ Baker to do the timing.  Russ has been doing the timing for the Tour de Timor since it's inception, and the accuracy of his timing maintained the integrity of race standards.

There were a number of things that could be improved.  Communication is a big one.  Race safety is another.  In previous Tour de Timors, roads were closed.  In this year's event, some roads were closed, and some were open, only this wasn't communicated to us.  This was probably my most dangerous race by far, and I had a couple of really close calls, one of which was while squeezing pass a truck at high speed on a bend, and being surprised by a motorcycle, and then a donkey behind that! 

While water was plentiful during the ride, it was somewhat random, sometimes just handed to us from a moving SUV.  Position of Aid Stations could not be relied upon, and were often not marked. 

I get the feeling the organizers learn fast, as mistakes made during the first couple of days were quickly corrected, and improvements made in the following days.

Sure, we were lucky to get a good result this year, but what really makes the Tour de Timor special is the landscape and the people.  For me, that's what makes the Tour de Timor such a magical experience!