After lots of fun packing nineteen bicycles, all our bags and of course us into the vans and taxis, we arrived at the outskirts of Hanoi and made our final preparations for the 70km ride to the medium-sized town of Hoa Binh. Once we had escaped the dust and trucks of Hanoi, we passed through some scenic countryside and a few dusty towns. It was fantastic to be finally on our way from Hanoi to Saigon at last, and not do another training ride on the Nguyen Van Linh Parkway (where we've done all of our training rides), so with a big smile on my face I kicked on, and felt strong and healthy for the 3hr or so ride to Hoa Binh, helped on by some good tunes on the iPod, as well as the waves and smiles of lots of friendly children.
Yesterday we visited Catdang Village and saw first-hand the work that The Children’s Initiative is doing. We visited the school and had great fun with the kids including helping Jeff orchestrate head, shoulders, knees and toes! It was good to see the faces of the people we will directly help and everyone now has a piece of cloth on which is the names of some of the children. These will be tied to our bikes the entire ride to remind us of why we’re doing this. All my pre-ride nerves have gone now and I think everyone is feeling good and ready for what tomorrow will bring.