The hills are every bit as fanatical, quad-agonizing, and formidable as I remember. The only difference is I was mentally prepared for them this year. On Friday morning rain looked imminent. It had been raining since our arrival the day before, Thursday, and gushed down all night long. But
After two shorter — but still rather hilly — days, we have another 110 kilometer (about 68 miles) ride tomorrow. My recollection from last year: bad roads, lots of up and down, a strong headwind, and the most irritating bee bite ever. But suddenly, we have just seven days of riding left; we’ll be back in
After seeing the same people every day for four weeks we’ll go our separate ways around the globe. Many will leave Saigon and
All 20 of us get together for one hour each night when we have a meeting. At our meetings we discuss the day’s events, things to keep in mind while riding and other fun stuff like that. We go over tomorrow’s ride and what to expect. We have a “sexy time” presentation given by the day’s previous “sexy time” recipient for their extraordinary efforts. Basically it’s a way of recognizing someone’s upstanding contributions to our H2H team. Lastly, we have a “cultural event.”
I introduced the cultural event concept to the group after a friend introduced it to me during a bachelor party in
For example, on the first night (waaaaaay back in Hoa Binh), I played a WNYC Radio Lab podcast on human “limits.” The podcast featured a story about the insane cyclists who undertake the Race Across America challenge. My intent was not to terrify the group but rather to show them what they are capable of and find their “hidden human potential.” I think I scared them.
Abigail had us write letters to our future selves — as in future Chet on the last day of the ride — to open later and see what we were thinking as we began our cycling odyssey. Liz shared some Eastern religion with us and had us meditate.
Phong had us write down the five senses that were most memorable from that day (Day 3 from Vu Ban to Quan Lao in that case.). It’s a great way to journal. So here are the most memorable five senses I’ve had from the last couple days.
Sights: Struggling up an ascent with no end and looking ahead and seeing the road up ahead in the distance…WAY UP.
Also, the fog emanating from the mountains like puffs of smoke. Being so high up we were pretty much touching the clouds.
Sound: All of kids laughing after you say “hello.” Kanye West helping me climb mountains: “Makes us longer, better, faster, stronger! Do it faster makes us stronger…”
Smell: Musty, moldy hotel rooms and fresh mountain air. It’s hard to find fresh air anywhere in
Taste: The half of a protein bar Nick gave me while riding 110 km the other day. I was so hungry I was shaking and I can’t remember anything ever tasting so good, or ever devouring anything so quickly.
Touch: The vibrations on the handlebars during massive descents. Quads burning during climbs when you’re convinced over and over again that you must have a flat tire but the hill is just really that steep. Also, getting high-fives from kids while riding.