The race was marred on Day 4 when Narayan one of the Nepalese riders, lost his life in a tragic accident.
To be honest I don’t deal well with death or sadness really. I live inside my own little happy bubble where 90% of the time the light is shining bright. I don’t know what to say to those hurting. Asking if you are ok, seems like a dumb, obvious question. All the questions I want to ask seem so insignificant. I didn’t know Narayan more than seeing his smiling happy face at breakfast and his strong legs catching my eye on the start line. The thing that hurts me the most is seeing people upset and not being able to help and make the hurt go away or ease their pain. When in reality the only guarantee in life is death, so I hope everyone lives a little more wildly and free, loves more openly and laughs a little louder every day you are in this life.
This race had been on my radar but I had put it on the 2019 race list, deciding to stay a bit closer to home this year. Even letting my passport expire. That was until I received an email from Phil saying they had some spots left; Did I want to join? A quick message to Karsten at Reho Travel and the rest is history. These races in more rugged countries somehow just draw me in and spit me out the other end. I don’t think I ever return home the same person I was before the race.
Rumble in the Jungle is a bit more luxurious than the camping stage races I have done previously, staying in hotels each night. To my surprise, even the odd 5-star hotel was thrown in to the mix. Being greeted with a hot chocolate and hot shower was another bonus after 2900m of climbing in 65km. Ordering room service and eating spaghetti in bed was definitely the recovery strategy I needed.
Each day of racing was so different; the first day being fast, furious, hot and humid, riding through jungle trails and then smashing a 1600m climb in 6km (that might be slight exaggeration). Day 2 was my favourite with a gentle climb, followed by a bone jarring decent (that was not my favourite) then trails weaving in and out of tea plantations and forest roads. Day 3 started with a 2 hour climb, character building head winds along Hortons Plains and the lush green fields of New Zealand farm resulting in a temperature drop as we climbed higher. Day 4 was going to be a long, flatter, more roady type day. A good chance for those road riders and triathletes to make up some time.
There are no words that can explain or soothe the tragic accident that happened on this day and Narayan will ride on in everyone’s hearts.
The beauty of stage racing is the variety of people you meet the extraordinary places you see and when this is combined with great organization then magic occurs.
Despite this trip being touched by sadness, I will be back to rumble in the jungle.
If you would like to donate and help support Narayan’s family back in Nepal, a GoFund Me page has been set up – https://www.gofundme.com/donations-for-narayan
A massive thank you to Reho Travel for helping to make these crazy last minute ideas an absolute reality. Also to Todd, my coach who has helped and supported me to get my body as ready as possible with not much notice. Along with Adam, who is back in charge of strength and conditioning. Thanks to The Ride Cycles for getting my trusty ol Rocky Mountain ready to withstand the Sri Lanka jungles. On to the next adventure.