Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Friends, Crazy Friends

The last week has been interesting.  I've had the Yak Attack on my radar for a while, and the 2014 edition which was shortened (by 2 days, by combining 4 days into two, not making them shorter), seemed within the realm of what I could fit in a vacation without doing a full leave of absence and hoping I was employed on return.

I had hoped to stew on the idea, talk to all my bike friends, see what everyone's far out (in time, and in crazyness) plans were, and see if we could get a group together to make a go of it.

So a week ago I hit the Yak web site, and to my surprise, the text has changed.  Yikes, it said accepting applications now, with 25 person foreigner limit!  I put in my blackberry to bring my passport in to scan.  I signed up before work the next morning, hoping I wasn't the 26th acceptable sounding rider. 

After that bit of impulsiveness that got my heart racing, I let my friends know this was on, and I was comitted, thinking I might find a (as in singlular) person whom I know to go along, as a nice comfort factor to also meeting a couple dozen new adventure seekers.

But of course I was wrong.  I wouldn't go so far as to say I underestimated my friends, you never want to do that.  I just didn't really give it that much forethought.  Sometimes wildfires spread fast.  I think the hit rate was over 80%.  Thomas Vandendale was in before I could blink.  Then Kate Aardal.  Then Gerry McCuaig.  Then Jeff Nielson.  Then Craig Stappler.  A friend I haven't met yet, although I've met his brother - Keevy Raes (Dave was at Andalucia with Thomas).

That's a crazy bunch.  In the space of a couple days, without much doubt, each of them went through a thought process something like this:
a) Erik is weirdly impuslive, but as long as it's biking, that's probably not too bad.
b) I've heard of that race before, that seems like an awesome way to spend some time in Nepal.
c) I've now brushed up on my reading, this sounds incredible (Thanks Carena, Carena's husband Jeremy, and Sonya Looney).
d) Do I think I can get the time off work?  Heck, do I think I can count the time out of my life working instead of living my one life?  I'm in!
e) Let's do this application thing and convince an organizer I'm not going to croak on the first couple stages.

That's an amazing group of people; I love you guys!  I've seen people take longer to decide where to meet for dinner on a Saturday night.

Gerry and I have already booked tickets, my first time around the world in its entirety.  Calgary-Vancouver-Beijing-Bankok-Kathmandu, then Kathmandu-Bankok-Frankfurt-Calgary 38h each way!

ps.  I've heard Yak's are large and reasonably nice.  There's two ways to ride a yak.  Touristing, or life saving.  I hope to do the former, especially after reading Jeff Kerkove's account of his yak ride last year.

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