While I spent my first few days back in Afghanistan sorting out the bike delivery logistics from Kabul Airport Custom House, I took a day off to train with some of my favorite ladies, the women of the Afghan National Cycling Team. Coach showed up with his usual assortment of steel bikes stacked on top of his Land Rover and to my surprise had lovingly packed three of the composite racing bikes I had brought last spring between layers of carpet. This team needs a minibus something fierce!
Several new riders showed up including a trio of sisters driven by their brother because Coach’s car was full. As per usual when I now join, Coach handed off coaching duties to me, which I find comical as I am a mountain biker, not a roadie, nor a racer, but my previous life as a sports trainer and my general knowledge of cycling and coaching, coupled with the base level these girls are riding at, means I seem to have some knowledge to impart. This ride? The peloton. How to ride in a pack and not knock each other over like a row of dominos. How to ride wheel to wheel without running over the girl in front of you by mistake.
And after some warm up laps, the girls started to get the hang of it and I learned a few new Dari phrases like; ‘Nazdeek bosh’ – stay close together. ‘Dar buchoo’ – turn around. And my favorite, shouted loudly and often, ‘Takar nako’, DON”T CRASH.
Lesson One = Success.
Lesson Two = ‘How to Corner’ coming up next.
photos by Deni Bechard. You can follow Deni on instagram at @denibechard