Dealing with failure
Sometimes the hardest thing you can do is admit you failed. Well I failed.
It had always been my dream to cycle to Everest base camp, taking in the Pamir Highway along the way. The thing about having dreams is they should challenge you, least that is my take on them and when they don’t work out, you have to step back and look at what went wrong. From the very beginning my plans went awry. Maybe in my naivety I was asking too much, but the first major problem was having my passport stolen in Africa. This put me behind schedule, but I still felt I could get there before the trails closed (to cycles) due to winter snow.
Riding the Pamir Highway I would almost certainly have been the last cyclist crossing the high passes. Helen LLoyd was the last one to come the opposite direction and already it was starting to close in. I would have made it, had it not been for the unfortunate incident with the 4×4 and I’m struggling to come to terms with my failure, even though it was not my fault.
I have been thinking long and hard about what and where I should do/go next. I think I’ve missed the boat with Nepal, as it would now be impossible to ride the trails and while I could always settle for trekking, this is not what I wanted.
I am also not sure about my health. I know the accident has damaged my right ribs and this area is very painful, but am I struggling because of this or is my condition worsening? Because I can’t answer this question (and won’t be able to until the pain subsides) I feel waiting around is not beneficial. Getting into and the out of Nepal will take two flights whichever way I go and would mean me waiting around in India until conditions are right. I’d see this as wasted time, because there is so much more I want to do before ill health stops me.
So I’m thinking get the Visa for China in Bishkek, Visit Beijing and a few other places then make my way to Laos, visit South East Asia, then because of the kind donations I think it might just be possible to fly to Canada or America. I would so much love to end my tour here if things didn’t work out, but that would be a long way off and there is much cycling to do to even get there!
Back to the present and I met another Pamir Highway hopeful in Khorog, Luke, who quickly realised he was too late to take it on. We shared transport to Osh and will be sharing time together in Bishkek as he helps me build up a new bike so that I can continue my travels. More on this in the next blog. I also met up with a crazy (but very nice) German cyclist called Heino, who was keen to show me how he wanted everybody to know he was riding for world peace and a few other noble causes – quite a character!
Which just goes to show this journey is not just about me as I’ve met some truly amazing people along the way. The hospitality in Central Asia is legendary and I have experienced this myself first hand. Here’s a few images of some of the people who have changed my blinkered view of this whole continent forever:
The driver of the 4×4 is sat next to me in the photo above, and in the photo below is the kind patriarch that never left my hospital room during my initial convalescence.
I love children and had no end of fun playing games with them, despite my injuries. These included horse riding (I was of course the horse!), peek a boo, hide and seek and many more.
Food is never far away when you are invited to join a local family and this can mean you spend all day eating, as it’s considered rude to refuse. The fellow in the army uniform was in fact the English teacher at the local school – his English was pretty good!
And that’s it for this update. You’re probably all wondering how I’m doing recovering from the accident, well the leg is slowly returning to normal and my wrist though painful is usable. The big problem is the headaches and chest pain, the latter making breathing difficult. I will look at finding a decent hospital in Bishkek as the headaches really are very fierce and constant – my head is still numb on the left side and so I need to get it checked out.
I travel with Luke to Bishkek in the morning where we hope to sort out a bike for me, thanks to some very kind help. I’ll tell you all about this and how the fundraising is going in my next blog. Stay tuned…