Wow. Having been to northern India last year, I remembered much of the idiosyncrasies and chaos inherent in doing anything here, but trying to participate in an "organized" event such as a mountain bike race is a whole other ball game.
We arrived in Shimla from Delhi yesterday after a 11-hour drive that was supposed to be 8 (only 11 due to Ram's creative driving and explanations - I've never been a diplomat from the embassy before, at least not since last year), and I crashed out after we reassembled our bikes, still a little jet lagged despite a wonderful yoga session in Delhi. Today we had a nice short ride down and back up some hills here with a posse of other (Indian) riders, feeling good and excited about starting the race tomorrow. Following that, a little frisbee and a puja blessing ceremony for the ride. Then Lin and I were asked to accompany one of the organizers to the residence of the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh State for an audience asking him to be at our start tomorrow morning (international delegation here to see you, sir) only to be turned away. Bummer. Then off to tonight's orientation (two hours late, much to a German rider's dismay in waiting punctually) and headed for some good sleep.
Essentially, nothing is on time, even for an event such as this. Leading up to the ride, the schedule was for a rest day on Day 5, Sept 31. When we all finally realized that September only has 30 days (huh...), the decision was made to just push back the end of the race a day - something that would never fly in the States, but didn't cause much notice here. Essentially, whenever I start to wonder whether something will actually happen in any sort of functional fashion, the advice is to just wait - eventually it will get itself ironed out. And crazily enough, it usually seems to. Not necessarily on time - in fact, that's nearly guaranteed - but eventually. Hmm. We start the race tomorrow, landslide detours and all, and I'm sure, in the end, we will get there. Not quite sure how, never quite sure how, but here goes nothing... More in 10 days!