Thursday, 2 December 2010

Makin' it Happen

Day 25….. the hardest day of the trip. Going into this day we knew it was long, we knew it was going to be hilly, but we had no idea what really was lurking ahead. My partner and I set off and we were pleasantly surprised by the tough, but manageable terrain. Every climb was rewarded with a descent. We reached one climb (653 meters ) but slowly and steadily we were able to make it up. By 11am, we were 40k in and stopped for a drink with some other riders. We all felt good about the pace and what lay ahead. We carried on along the road that was so bumpy my hands ached from gripping my handle bars so tightly. Just after 1pm we were 50k out and we stopped for lunch. As I was about to dig into my tofu and rice my phone rang. I asked Chet how things were going, and he cheerfully replied “I am climbing a mountain.” My stomach dropped as I did not see that coming. We learned it was a 10k climb, and it was just ahead. We budgeted our time, stuffed our faces and set off. The road was bad and the climb was long, but we trudged along keeping in mind we had to stay on pace if we were to make it before dark. Finally the climb ended!!! We had done it and had plenty of time to make it to town before dark. Once I got cell service I called Chet to let him know we would be in soon. Next, some shocking news…We had made it up the first mountain, but there was another just ahead. It was 4pm, and there was no way we would make it before dark. As we began the second climb, we realized we needed to get creative. A silver van stuffed with luggage and Vietnamese men zipped by and shouted “Hello!” out the window. We waived our hands and signaled the van to stop. Nam(5) Kilometers” I said as we pointed up the mountain….. We agreed to give them 50,0000 dong (less than $3) for the ride as they tossed our bikes in the back and us in the front. The men whipped out there phones as a photo frenzy began. Luckily, the men didn’t seem to speak any English so we were not bombarded with the typical questions. After less than ten minutes in the van we reached the summit and saw an incredible descent. We stopped the vehicle and hopped out. I felt bad about not making it up the mountain on my bike, but I was doing what had to get done! It was certainly an adventure and very Vietnamese of us. We swiftly hoped back in the saddle and sped down the mountain in the cool air as the sun was setting, We coasted and pedaled for ages in a race with the sun, but the town was not appearing and time was running out. Then finally a keystone, 2k away! The road had turned to gravel at this point and the sun had set but we were almost there and nothing could stop us until……….POP flat tire! Tired, dark, rocky road, and flat tire we walked the remaining 2k and were finally greeted with smiles and hugs by our teammates. Determination, creativity, teamwork and adventure is what H2H is all about!


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