Excited and exhausted. That is how we feel right now. Today was the start - the start of the greatest journey of our lives. Sitting here in München (Munich) at the Deutches Museum, the first stop of our tour, still feels unreal. We just plugged in our batteries and are now working on the bike. But let us start at the beginning of the day.
The day started at 08:00 at our office in Eindhoven when the first team members arrived. Packing the last items and putting food in each bus. The first bus went towards the Pullman hotel, where we gave a presentation for our partners and the press. At 09:30 RTL news (national) was already present making an item! Slowly more and more people entered. Even the ambassadors of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan were present, as well as our own ambassadors Jan Peter Balkenende and Rick Nieman. We shortly discussed our project and the morning focussed on saying goodbye to our partners and giving lots of interviews for the press.
The excitement and tension increased as time went by. Almost. We were almost going to leave. Our two years of work, sweat and tears would reach its climax... Now. Just before noon we were all present at the 18 Septemberplein in the center of the city. It was great to see the large crowd there; thanks for your presence, people! If we didn't feel the tension before, we certainly did then. Many of us quickly gave a hug to our families and our boyfriends and girlfriends - often with some tears. The emotions ran deep.
12:00. The presentation was about to start. When Bas started talking, however, the sound failed and the screen shut down. Well, that sucks. It had to be fixed first. This was one of those moments where you have to trust in others; only one or two team members could actually contribute to fixing the problem so the rest of us waited with little information. It made us nervous, even more than we were before!
Luckily the problem was fixed quickly and our presentation could start. Although the screen was still not entirely flawless, Bas and our ambassadors gave great speeches and soon the technical problems were forgotten. The entire crowd felt our tension and excitement, and when the moment was there, we stood at that stage as a proud team.
And then, we departed. The motorcycle rode from the stage and the rest of us ran to the convoy vehicles. It is actually happening! After a quick stop at Van Eijck in Asten with many motorcyclists, we went on to Munich.
I rode with a smile on my face the whole time. I felt (and still feel!) proud. Proud of us as a team, of what we have already accomplished. Multiple motorcyclists followed us and also on the road there was quite some attention; people filming from bridges and waving from their vehicles.
On the German highway, Wave took us by surprise. It shut down on the highway and we had to act quickly; we took Wave to a safe place to investigate what was wrong. We did some quick checks and discovered the inverter (motor controller, a piece of electronics) needs maintenance. Unfortunately this will take some time; we will need most of the night to fix it.
And here we are. Arrived in München, and our technicians are working on the motorcycle as we speak. How does this make me feel? I feel exhausted. So many impressions and things happened today, it still takes some time to process. I feel nervous, because of what will happen tonight and if we will be ready to go again in the morning.
And I feel energized, by the great amount of people at our start and all the media coverage that was done today. I feel empowered, because I see how well our team behaves under pressure, when things go wrong, and how we still support each other no matter what.
Mostly, I feel proud. We have had a great, but rough start. A successful starting event combined with a rough first lap. And we are here, nobody doubting about whether to go to sleep; we need to fix that bike tonight. Some of us are getting some sleep to allow others that work through the night to sleep tomorrow. We continue.
I still can't believe that we have actually started and are now here! I am so curious, excited and nervous to see what tomorrow brings. The adventure has only just begun!
Update in the morning: our engineers have worked through the night and Wave has been fixed! We can continue to Vienna as planned today, but first an event at The Deutsches Museum.