Monday, 16 November 2009
Creeping slowly up the mountains was so time consuming on day 13 that we decided to leave an hour early, we met up at 7am for morning stretches and bike tinkering. We implemented a buddy system, i was lucky enough to have three- Justine, Ronni and Rob a.k.a. the quad massive. It was all fun and games for the first couple of hours, enjoying the spectacular mountain views and odd orange soda breaks. However, before long the ups just kept going up. Legs burning, sweat dripping and tears streaming (OK a little over exaggeration!) we conquered the first hill. The first of many. Our thunder thighs were powering us up the hills and everything was going great.
Until Rob's tire burst. Again. Again. And again. Justine and Ronni went off on a rescue mission. Luckily Bach and the van were never far away and by now he is a tyre patching guru! By 2 o'clock we still had 40km to go and the mountains weren't getting any less mountainy, with no places to stop for sustenance we were beginning to grow weary. The race to reach the next town before nightfall was on, the last thing we wanted to do was get in the van but the pass would not have been safe in the dark. Slowly on and on, due to the last two punctures it had taken an hour to go 3km. Now, with 37km to go the road seemed never ending, everything was hurting but we were still smiling, this is it, the hardest day and we were doing it!
With 20km to go we found a cafe and hungrily downed a bowl of noodles, my morale was low as we had stopped at the bottom of a mountain and the top looked a long way up. Delirious yet determined we flopped back onto our saddles and set off on the last stretch. We soon started following the path of a river and enjoyed some rare downhills, mixed in with the ups. We made it into town, two hours after the group, 10 hours after our first peddle drenched in sweat and accomplishment. What a day!
More of the same terrain but with less than half the distance to cover than yesterday we could relax and take our time. With tired achy legs we took a leisurely break after only an hour of cycling. The ups were still tough but there were many lengthy downhill sections, it was so satisfying to sit back watching the 'Kilometerstones' go by with no effort. 6km from town we stopped at a waterfall, after passing so much amazing scenery it was great to have the time to stop and enjoy it. We climbed up past a couple of water buffalo and found a deep splash pool, within seconds i was in the water and enjoying a refreshing swim. We arrived at Thanh My at lunchtime and joined the group for lunch- rice and noodles.
- Sophie (and Rob)