After the long ride yesterday we were looking forward to riding only 80ish km today, we set off punctually and headed out of town- in the wrong direction! Mr Bac (our driver/navigator/bike repair man) realised after 10 km and turned us around, he closely escorted us to the right road and we were on our way.
The first stretch of the ride was great, it was such a relief to be off highway 1 and back in the countryside. We stopped and refueled at the only major turn so no more wrong turns.
(Jacinta got a shot of James sunning himself/ sitting in the middle of a roundabout directing us riders in the right direction. Pure genius.)
We went down the Ho Chi Minh highway for 64km, it was beautiful riding through the mountains on a windy hilly road, there were farms, forests, rivers and smiling children along the way. At first it was great fun climbing the hills and cruising down the other side, but soon started to tire, it was relentless and i am sure we were going up way more than we were going down. With 40km to go we stopped at a cafe, some crazy riders had a beer, personally i found a hammock and collapsed there until it was time to leave. The rest of the group sat contemplating where the welcome back party should be in HCMC, early days for that conversation! The last 20km was grueling, there was no place to stop and have lunch along the way and i had ran out of steam, every hill seemed like a mountain and just as it seemed to be getting flatter another would appear. With only 3km to go i was lying on my back in a pile of hay staring at the last big hill, the thought of a hot shower and a proper meal spurred me on. James, Chet Sam and Bac gave us a warm welcome at the edge of town and led us to the guesthouse. We ended up riding for 95km and it was definitely my hardest ride yet!