wo söll‘s dänn higah?
London, Paris oder Rom? […]”
where should we go?
London, Paris or Rom? […]”)
Bligg, a Swiss rapper, was shouting this into my ears at 4am on Saturday, 13th of June. I put him on snooze. Shut up, I thought and turned around.
5min later, he asked me again, “… where should we go?”.
TO ELEVATE OF COURSE !!!
and NOW. GET. UP. !!!
That’s what I did. Quickly, I took a shower, ran to the fridge, ate some bites – a wild combination of crackers, Swiss honey and chocolate (secret wake-up-recipe!), threw stuff in a bag and drove to Elevate Campus. I just wanted to be the first. It was still pitch-black. The moon was too small to give light. Out of the blue – or rather black, I saw a flashlight and people coming out of tents. Oh yeah, right. Our Elevate Cycling Team had camped there. They turned on some music and we had a mini pre-party. And yes, I was already full of adrenalin (and Swiss honey) and according to that full of energy and excitement.
Shortly after 5am, we had a briefing with me telling our team how much I appreciate that they are there so early and making clear, everybody knew what was to do. And then we started. Like ants everybody tried to find and set up what they needed. A day before, we had transported everything from ICF to the containers. Slowly, the sun rose, it became brighter, warmer, and more and more people arrived. Racers, children, visitors, team leaders, photographers, friends, locals and foreigners, professionals and hobbyists. All of them curious, what was about to happen. And so were we.
Registration started, from young to old and back they came smiling out of our half-built building, holding their number plates and some vouchers in their hands. Vouchers for food, a foot massage, a shirt, … . Our presenter Rany shared information and time across the Campus. Whenever he wasn’t talking, music was being played. All the other team members were running around, trying to set up everything as perfect as possible.
AND OUR VERY FIRST BICYCLE RACE STARTED!!!
Actually, the start was a tiny bit delayed, not to make it more interesting but rather because we had to change quickly some details. And because punctuality is overrated. 🙂
Here are the numbers:
8 Categories for teens/adults
-> including 2 categories for women
2 Categories for kids
over 200 participants
Teams from Siem Reap and the capitol Phnom Penh joined as well as kids, teens and adults who just love to cycle. The racers were incredibly fast, the track interesting and challenging, the atmosphere fantastic, the feedback very positive, the weather not too hot but sunny, our team wonderful, the lake popular – the event was a great success.
LEGENDARY. – to put it in one word.
A absolute highlight was that some of our team even participated at the race and finished it successfully – some even with a rank within the Top 5. Not only they invested their energy into the preparation and their tasks but also into the race itself!
One of my personal highlights was to meet those who were responsible for the event being possible. Those who had invested energy and sweat into the Elevate Campus. My extended family – the workers who had built the lake. As they caught sight of me (me being running around all the time, checking on everything and everybody so that it would be running smoothly) they started to shout “VIVI” and as I approached them, came running, asking for “aub mouy” (a hug). Before I got to say something I was strongly hugged by about two dozens of people. I couldn’t tell who was happier to see each other again.
It was our very first event like this. Organized was it by Koni and me in close cooperation with especially Dara, our leader of the Elevate Cycling Team and the others of our team. Meetings, usually several hours long, belonged to the daily life. Not rarely, our heads would be smoking. And often we had to change ideas and plans entirely even though in the meeting before they had made absolutely sense. I guess that’s what we call pioneering.
I loved how our team worked together, eager to fix all problems and to make the event awesome. Even though we had started early and the preparation had been exhausting, even though everybody had to face new challenges, we were still motivated to give our best for those coming. It was not only about racing. We wanted them to feel welcome, loved, appreciated. Because I believe – and I think our whole team believes the same – that every single person on this planet deserves it to be loved. And we want to make that clear in whatever we do. Sure enough, that there is tons of people who don’t get this love or appreciation at home, in school, at their working place. That’s why, they should even more experience it at a race from Elevate Campus!
This was just a start. But our dreams are big. They include our children from the sponsorship programme, more students, more entertainment, more perfection. We want to reach out to all people from Siem Reap and more. We want to invite them to use our Elevate Campus for free or to join our cycling team, or other activities. They shall find friends, love and action instead of enemies, hatred and boredom.
We want to love them. To accept them just the way they are. We want to be friends with them. We want to be their family.
“What changes the world is when we begin to love each other. And when we begin to love the world. And when we begin to reach out to those in need.”