Compare this morning to yesterday and the mood amongst the riders couldn’t be more different. Whereas yesterday everyone looked on the verge of tears as, dejected and miserable, we set off to tackle a day of unreasonably big hills in the freezing rain, today everyone was cheerily greeting each other with good mornings as we plied the excellent local market for breakfast treats. Even a 5am public service announcement over the town tannoy system and all night noise from a rather dubious sounding party in the room next to us couldn’t dampen our spirits. In the space of one day we seem to have left the cold and rain of north Vietnam behind (touch wood!) and entered the south, where we’ve finally been greeted by sunshine and delicious food. Quinn even donned his best threads to celebrate.
So, bellies full Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) we set off on a relatively easy day of undulating hills through bright green rice paddies in the baking sunshine. Yesterday seemed like a distant memory as we took a roadside break for a refreshing cup of sugarcane juice while topping up our cyclists’ tan lines.
Team spirit prevailed as Zara kindly shared her bike with Sandra who has been plagued with bike problems and Anna sang Salt ‘n Peppa’s ‘Push It’ to help me get going again after my chain jammed on a hill.
We arrived in Kon Tum in time to soak up a few more rays by the river and found a wonderful lady who made us an obscene amount of Bun Thit Nuong (noodle salad with meat and herbs) and Banh Cuon (fresh spring rolls). It was so good some of us went back for seconds later on.
Sandra’s morning lunge sessions came in handy in the evening for Joe’s culture night. The drivers watched on in stitches as we each tried to retrieve a cardboard box, gradually decreasing in size, from the floor using our mouths with only feet allowed to touch the ground. The team made a valiant effort using a number of interesting techniques, and groins were stretched far more than is natural. In the end it came down to an intense time trial between the ridiculously flexible Phong and Sandra in which Phong was ultimately victorious.