Day 20 began with an early morning scavenge for breakfast, the usual egg-based treat, and Sydney’s impeccable muscle wake-up. We were all feeling the effect of the last 8 days, but waddled to our bikes with some level of enthusiasm and winced through the initial perch onto the saddle with the thought of 24 bikeless hours just 80km away.
If there’s anything I have learnt on this trip, not listening to The Steak, map my ride or hearsay is probably at the top. The Steak is not to blame, he simply has a different perspective of what classes as ‘flat’ to us cycling mortals. Rumors and speculation (generally of an alleged downhill round the next corner) tend to be disappointing. So, this morning I set off into the blissful unknown.
The unknown began with an uphill which seemed everlasting. After 30km of slogging along the rivita-road, unexpected potholes and reckless drivers keeping us on our toes, the sight of parked bikes and ngoc mia could not be ignored. As a member of the more casual contingent of the H2H team, these breaks are not unfamiliar to me. Having a beverage and a natter has really helped keep me (relatively) sane and resisting the urge to stop every time I see a rusty Motachie next to a shack is near impossible for me. That is why just 20km and a few more pesky inclines later my cycling was interrupted with another break, this time for hammocks and salted coconuts (FYI an incredible discovery). After a while Mr C in the back van gave us his usual impatient beep of the horn, an indication that we should probably crack on. He loves us really but has spent the majority of the last few weeks staring at our buttocks so probably wishes for a change of scenery.
After a few kilometres we were pleasantly surprised to experience smooth, flat tarmac for the first time in a few days. We cranked up to the big cog and glided to BMT. I have never been so happy to see a KFC and gorged myself on greasy chicken before frolicking around coopmart, ecstatic to be experiencing civilisation. Once settled into our home for the next two nights, the rest-day began. With recuperation at the pool and bad-singing at karaoke it was just what everyone needed.