Tour De NED – Mega Ride
Author: Fatimah Hanif
Just a day before the deadline, my friends and I were sitting outside our department, contemplating about this project we had to complete when suddenly one of my friend blurted “how about we participate in tour DE NED?”. Uncertain of what has come our way, astonished and in unison we said “Cycling? Are you serious? We rode a bicycle 8 or 9 years ago. How can we race? ” To be or not to be a part of the mega event was the debate we carried out for one whole day when just an hour before the deadline we finally decided, “let’s be a part of the history”. Who knew a registrant who registered an hour before the wrapping up of registrations, who was not sure about how to do it and who was no more sporty anymore could actually do and win it!
It was 6:30 am and I had to report at 7:30 am. Whilst lying in bed and struggling with my thoughts I started having intrapersonal communication “I have a race to attend. Come on get up you lazy cat”. Hopped out of my bed, tied my hair and the first thing I did was to look in the mirror and said to myself “I think I can do it”. That reassurance was the game changer of some sort.
At exactly 7 am, I was ready to leave. Scared and loaded with mixed feelings, I woke up my mum. mum rubbed my hands and told me ” Go win it boi. You are my daughter after all.” that was it! I had to win it now. those words, still echoing in my brain, I took a rickshaw and headed towards university. How is it going to be? 8 km? did I make the right decision? do I have the stamina? were the questions I could hear myself asking myself.
When I was almost there, I could feel the vibe. There were bikers outside the main gate. A scene I could have never imagined taking place at NED. I got off, paid the rickshaw driver and the next thing I did was to look as far I could to embrace what was waiting for me.
The banners with the label TOUR DE NED, the standees with animated biker, the start and finish line, the DJ pumping up the audience, the registration desk where everyone reported, the bikers with their helmets riding around and sipping water from their sporty water bottles, the photographers, the media compelled me to exclaim with joy “Oh my! This is just wonderful”.
7:45, the girls race was about to start. The female bikers started gathering at the start line. Perspired, tensed with creases on forehead, one foot on the pedal, waiting for the checkered flag to swing to start it.
8:05 am, we heard the host ” Your race starts in 5,4,3,2,1 Go go go! Some rushed furiously while others were slow and steady including me. When I started off, the cold breeze and the pleasant weather were the only things I was enjoying whilst riding my bike. That experience was exuberant and in that very manner the first three lapse ended.
“It’s time to speed up” I said to myself at the start of third lapse. “How many are ahead of me?” I asked one of the volunteers on the check posts. “You are currently 5th.” 5th huh? It’s show time. My spirits were high but my legs were pleading to stop. “Just 2 more to go. You can do it boi. You can win it”. I rode and rode, singing and distracting myself from any of the pain I was going through. “you can win it” this time i said it out loud to gain what was lost.
Fourth lapse: “How many are ahead of me? ” “You are 3rd right now” 3rd? That’s amazing. The last lapse was there. Just few more kilometers. I could see the finish line now and I could hear the crowd cheering for me. ” I am almost there, yes yes!” and voila! there I was finishing the marathon at 3rd place. The moment I stopped my bike and looked around myself, I could feel it. The smell of victory was in the air. My friends came running towards me and gave me a very warm hug. I was spellbound and dumbfounded. I had actually done it.
It was time to enjoy the perks of being the winner. It started off with the interview to the leading channels to the many “congratulations’ ” and “taps on the backs” to the prize distribution ceremony where I received the medal to the oh-so-awesome poses with the medals and bike, everything appeared as if I am in a fantasy world and this was just a dream! Who would have thought a day I had doubts about would turn into the best day of my life!