2017. január 8., vasárnap

My Tour de Festive 2016

My Tour de Festive

My name is Ferenc Simicz and I am writing my Festive500 story from Hungary.

I bought my first road bicycle around two years ago and I started to use it regularly in 2016. My goal was initially 5000 km but at the end of the year it turned out to be 4000 km. At that time I read about Festive500. I thought of myself why not do it since it is as if I would cycle between the farthest parts of my country. Then my realistic thoughts came since it is festive time, I have family, work to do and I am not used to this kind of load. Meanwhile the question didn't let me leave how could I manage it. Being a 45 year-old guy am I fit enough with my old, classic steel bike?

So I was on the road the morning 24th. On the first two days I went on my routine rounds in the Mecsek Hills close to home. It was only one smaller accident to mention on the glazed road due to sleety rain. But 'no worries' as my young daughter would say I kept on.

The thrilling period started on the third day. My bike was up to take me to my original hometown for the Christmas visit not my car. More specifically my wife and my daughter left me alone on the road with my bike at halfway. I enjoyed cycling in the frozen but sunny cold weather, everything was perfect and I was thinking about Festive500 would have been easily achievable if it was like that the other days as well. 

I became too much self-confident so that after 100 kms when I arrived to my birthtown, Szeged I suffered a big fall in one curve. My bike was okay but my face had a date with the surfaced road. Blood, tears, pain in my teeth and I could guess that my weird outfit would intervene the festive feelings of my loved ones. By the evening my injury made me alike a boxer in the 10th round.

Naturally neither this nor my cracked biker clothes could not prevent me to continue. How could I stop when more than 80.000 people had entered the race?

Next day not giving up turned out to be a good idea. It has been a long time since I don't live in my town of birth so it was extraordinary in this festive period to ride around my old places where I lived, grew up, attended schools, started working, fell in love for the first time or had naughty teenage acts with my buddies. I tried to visit most of the places which are close to my heart.
I remembered my relatives especially my father who has been buried last year one day before Christmas. I considered the idea that he would have been proud of me cycling here especially in the light of my previous life at 16 years distance. I went to the places where I lived when I had a breakdown due to drugs, where I suffered as a homeless person. At that time I wouldn't dare to think about being alive the next Christmas, yet now I have a family, a life that I like, a job, friends and meaningful footing. When I saw those heartbreaking places I felt gratitude even with the 50 km/h wind of that day. I was grateful that with help I was able to change my life, that now I can live. Festive500 challenge gave me this feeling.

The next few days I continued cycling at home. At times it was bitter cold and at times it was the wind against me but I could finish the race. I was alone all the time but in the strained moments I was not lonely thinking about the myriads of other people who entered the competion cycling with me each day. For the sake of freedom that comes from riding a bike.

Last day I had a moment when there were no cars just a great silence and the only thing I listened to was the sound of my tyres on the road which gave me a feeling that everything is on its place in my life, it used to and it will be no matter what unsolved problems I have. I am alive, I am healthy, I have a chance for a full life... and a chance for more and more of kms on the road.
Thank you. 

Ferenc Simicz