Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Thigh Burning Ascents and Brake Burning Descents

I'm not sure of the date, I don't know what day of the ride we are on, and I think a pig is being slaughtered out back of the internet cafe here in Kham Duc, but I am feeling fabulous. Maybe a little bit sore, but a lot strong.

We had our first day off in Hue. Most spent it wandering the city, eating Western food, and running errands. Some didn't even leave the complex until early evening. Apparently I'm a masochist because I woke up at 5:45 am (earlier than I get up on cycling days) and went on a 12ish hour tour of the DMZ, which was fascinating, but possibly only to a history geek like me. Anyway. I had a great day revisiting the past and spending time away from my fellow H2Hers (even though they are all great people to cycle and hang out with).

Then we crossed the mountains along Highway 47. I was supposed to find Jesus on this ride and though it appears that James did, I did not. I did find pavement when I lost all momentum and toppled over in the road. Apparently it was hilarious because Jacinta laughed like a fool while I continued to lay sprawled out in the middle of the highway with my bike on me, but I emerged unscathed. Up and up and up and up, then down and up and up and up and up, then DOWN! and I found myself arriving in A Luoi to the cheers of fellow teammates. We had survived our first 60 km of mountains!! And it felt good.

The next day was over 100 km of mountains and it was tough. Obviously. But it was a hilarious and peaceful day. Because of numerous landslides caused by the 2 big tropical storms that had recently come through, no one was using the road except us. I believe the state of the road is secret Vietnamese knowledge that we are not privy to. Empty roads meant we didn't have to endure speeding busses or the deafening horns around every winding corner. We could pedal and coast and be speed racers all over the road. There were some epic falls into the mud (looking at you Cox) and some muddy warrior women seen arriving into Prao. We all finished, we all completed the day despite the mud, iffy road conditions, and numerous flat tires. If we finished this day, we can do anything.

2 more short days of cycling through beautiful jungle scenery with a few mountains here and there brought us to our current location of Kham Duc. It appears to be bigger than most of the specks on the map that we stay in and we've had some awesome food. That didn't make me cry. Tomorrow is another long day and it's probably relatively flat, but even if it isn't, who cares? We've conquered the mountains before and we will do it again.


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