CWC 2018: Unforgettable Memories Of A Very Special Week With Extraordinary People!
Ok, I admit it! When the bookings for the CWC 2018 ride came in so slowly, I was actually getting ready to cancel the ride. Well, I am glad I did not! CWC 2018 has proven to be an outstanding experience, which I would not have wanted to miss! It was full of challenges and equally full of rewards. We had 14 riders (actually one short of the minimum number I set) and nearly half of them were first-timers - either with CWC or long distance riding per se! But immediately a family-like bond was formed that even got stronger through the week.
Even long time cyclists were awed when presented with the daily distances and for many of us it was the first time to complete the dreaded "Century Ride", a ride of more than 160 km (100 miles) on day 4. In just 6.5 days the group covered over 750 km and climbed for a nearly 3,000 m elevation gain. Jointly we cycled more than 12,000 km, which is equivalent to cycling from Brisbane to Sydney to Perth to Darwin and back to Brisbane, it is just 1,000 km shy of the distance from Singapore to Los Angeles and 1,200 km more than the distance from Singapore to London! Impressive, isn't it? And even more impressive is the fact that aside from a few punctures, there were no other incidents and especially no crashes. I thank the many prayers of our supporters, the excellent tour guides of SpiceRoads and the cooperation, team spirit and discipline of the CWC riders for that!
By definition a race requires competitiveness and the urge to win. CWC is not a race, but a team experience! Everybody is a winner, just by being there. It is very important to me that CWC retains this team spirit. And that it remains safe! When the adrenaline and the endorphins are high it is easy to forget that cycling - especially on unknown roads - harbours dangers and compounded by the fact that we are often 150 km and more away from the nearest hospital, crashes can have devastating consequences. It would be very difficult for me to live with the emotional burden, if a rider has been seriously hurt on a ride I organise.
CWC rides are team rides. When we cycle we try not to leave riders behind and always give them a chance to catch up. Every cyclist knows, how hard it is to catch up once you get dropped by the pack and how lonely and demoralising it is. There will always be riders fitter than others. In previous rides I organised, we had national cyclists, national cycling coaches, SEA games cycling gold medal winners, Ironmen and - women and participants of the world's most gruelling ride - The Race Across America - but although so much faster and fitter than most of us, they understood the meaning of CWC and the importance of not leaving others behind! CWC rides aim to be a reflection of the way life should be lived. While fitter riders do not leave the less fitter behind, in life those of us more blessed and privileged than others should not leave those less privileged behind - as what applies to cycling also applies here - once one gets dropped, it is hard to catch up, it is lonely and demoralising and the distance to the lead gets bigger and bigger until it becomes impossible to succeed in even reaching the destination.
The ride was full of highlights; from the impromptu participation at the new monk ceremony; meeting teacher Mingki and the children at the school, where CWC through Grace has contributed to the much needed repair of the library (we will keep you updated on the progress and CWC's relationship with the school) to the closing ceremony at the Baan Fah Sighy Children Home and many unforgettable moments in between, CWC 2018 was a never-ending firework of impressions.
An initiative such as a CWC ride is a puzzle with many pieces and every - even the smallest piece - is important in forming the complete picture.
I like to thank all the riders of CWC 2018 for the trust and the confidence you placed in Selina and me by joining the ride - I hope we have not disappointed you -, I thank you for the many sacrifices you made in order to be there for CWC 2018, I thank you for the support and the funds you raised, but most of all I thank you for your friendship! I also thank your families for being so supportive of CWC and for letting you go on this adventure with us.
Without corporate sponsors a ride like CWC would be difficult to get off the ground. The support of our corporate sponsors allows us to get the start up funds we need to launch the ride and they give us creditability and recognition! I thank Mr Paul Baragwanath of Underwater Shipcare Pte Ltd, Mr Chan Soo Kian of SCDA Architects and Design, Mr Ole Olsen of Digital Collections, Mr Daniel Moylan of SpiceRoads Cycle Tours, Mr Christoph Hassell of Hasl Haus and the Management and Staff of ING Bank N.V., Singapore Branch for their so much appreciated support of CWC 2018! Thank you !
SpiceRoads Cycling Tours has been a partner and friend of CWC since the start in 2016 and also in five other rides I organised before launching CWC. There are many choices for cycling tour operators out there, but what sets SpiceRoads apart is their non-compromisable approach to safety and quality service. SpiceRoads shares my emphasis on providing all participants with a good and safe experience and will do whatever possible to achieve this. I like to thank Daniel Moylan for his patience in dealing with a difficult customer like me, I like to thank the wonderful Kie at the SpiceRoad office for her excellent work in organising the ride and for her support, I like to thank the amazing Khun Woody and Khun Nick for keeping us safe and for guiding us through this beautiful part of Thailand. Woody, your kindness and your big smile are legendary! Thank you, Woody and Nick! We hope to see you again in 2019! I like to thank the drivers Khun Suwat, Khun Sanit, Khun Somchai and Khun Paiboon for being there for us, for providing us with fruits, drinks and Beng Bengs. We are aware of you waking up at odd hours to go to the markets and buy those refreshments and nutrition for us and we thank you for that.
Last year we launched the one day family ride and following the success we included it 2018 as well. I very much appreciate the effort it takes to travel all the way to Chiang Mai to go riding for one day. It was beautiful to see the young riders cycling in with us into the Baan Fah Sighy Children Home and even more heart-warming to see the bond that had been formed between the children of Baan Fah Sighy and the visiting kids from Singapore during earlier visits. The world is not lost, when kids can break down those cultural and social boundaries in a heart beat. Thank you, Pauline, John, James, Justin, Alex, Kenneth and Roy for joining us for the one day ride!
For the past three years, Effective Aid International has been the beneficiary of the CWC rides and the Baan Fah Sighy Children Home has been the end destination of our rides. When forming CWC it was one of our guidelines to change a beneficiary after two years to avoid inter-dependency and also allow for a greater variety on routes to rides. CWC 2019 will therefore have a new beneficiary and the route will go through a different part of Thailand. We are currently in a selection process for the chosen beneficiary and are also open for suggestions from you. On behalf of CWC, I like to wish EAI and Baan Fah Sighy all the very best for the future. Your work is beyond words. Phil and Wanida, you have touched so many lives with your kindness and you have also touched our hearts. I know that many of us will continue to support you!
Thank you all for sharing this amazing experience with me!
For now: Kind regards, God Bless and safe cycling, always