We generally have quite a good group dynamic. Tallis had commented several times about our group being particularly positive and tolerant of each other. Apparently, in prior years, there had been instances of people openly fighting with each other.
Well, we certainly have tribes and sub-groups, people who share more similar interests and thus tend to hang out more with each other, but that’s just normal. I wouldn’t deny that there have also been a few instances of friction, and certainly there’s been some pitching and talking behind other people’s backs going on (as you’d normally find in any larger group), but I generally try to stay out of that. So I wouldn’t know much about that.
Generally, there’s no one I dislike—or rather I find each rider and staff very special and impressive in their own ways. Our diversity keeps it interesting. I’d have thought that I’m getting on reasonably well with everyone, at least that had been my impression until today.
There’s one rider whom I thought—like most others—that I was on very friendly terms with. We were fixing our bikes, a bit apart from everyone else, when he told me: “Alex, I have to tell you this now. I didn’t appreciate your outburst the other day. Now I know who you truly are, and I want nothing more to do with you.”
“Are you serious?” I thought he was just pulling my leg, having detected a faint smile on his face.
“You are arrogant and self-centred and [can’t remember what else],” he continued. “Please stay away from me.”
WOW! When have you last heard something like that? Hopefully, never. At least I had never heard something like that before. Even though I didn’t like what I was hearing, I appreciated his candor.
“Could I ask you which outburst you are referring to?” I asked him. I couldn’t remember ever having had an outburst on this trip.
“It doesn’t matter. I want nothing more to do with you.”
“OK”, I sure was dumbfounded. “I’m sorry if I’ve done anything to hurt you.”
“I don’t want any apologies. Now I know who you truly are: You are arrogant and self-centred and [can’t remember what else]. Please stay away from me.”
“OK”, I agreed and dropped it. Well, what was I to do? No explanations provided, no apologies accepted, no opportunity to make good offered.
While cycling, I kept thinking for a while. What have I done to deserve that treatment? Readers who know me might think—yes, she can come across as opinionated and overly direct at times, too honest to be polite, prioritising her search for truth and understanding over other people’s feelings. Agreed. No one is perfect, and that’s one of my flaws that I’m trying to improve upon.
However, to the best of my knowledge, I cannot remember any outburst at all, or any situation with that rider that would justify such a harsh response.
Most surprisingly, that person knows hardly anything about me. For him to say that know he knows who I truly am, and therefore dislikes me, has come as a big surprise. And, by the way, doesn’t everyone become likeable, once we know a bit more about who they truly are, their personal background and story?
Whatever misunderstandings might occur either way, I hope that intent goes over form, that I can clarify them with the other party and get rid of them. It’s sad when we allow most likely innocent misunderstandings to ruin our rapport.
Well, in that particular instance, at that time, I saw no chance of influencing how that person thought about me. The only thing I could influence was my reaction to it: Respect his wish and stay away from him, until he chooses to talk about it. And if he doesn’t, life keeps going on, surrounded by other people who—hopefully—like me a bit more. 🙂
Any other suggestions?
Stage 84: Nieuwoudtville – Clanwilliam (South Africa), 136km
Road & traffic condition:
Worst corrugation ever for the first 20km out of camp, then a bit better.
Unexpectedly, a scenic mountain pass made the slog in the morning somewhat more worthwhile, . . .
. . . though riding down that pass with its narrow road and steep cliffs was also bit scary at times (probably even more so for those on the heavy dinner truck!).
Heavy corrugation again into lunch, and for much after lunch, including a challenging climb.
Finally, tar from 95km onwards felt like heaven on earth! But a tough climb also made the tar road difficult. It’s been a long riding day. Tomorrow will be worse, supposedly.
Freezing cold in the morning, not so much at camp while having breakfast (clear sky, compared to miserable fog yesterday), but fingers and toes were all frozen few minutes into the ride from the windchill. It would take an hour until they’d come back to life!
Great weather thereafter—sunny all day long with a pleasant breeze from time to time.
Beef curry with rice and salad, followed by surprise cakes.
- Scenic mountain passes and climbs (meaning the views and downhills thereafter!).
- Camping in Clanwilliam by the river.
Clanwilliam turned out to be a quaint town, and larger than expected.
Its supermarkets that for the first time carried the full range of stuff we’re used to from home, have been quiet a highlight—finally, we’re truly back in civilization!
Difficult day done and dusted. I’m doing a lot of mental training while riding, trying to enjoy my ride as much as possible. It seems to work, mostly.