Having done H2H last year, I was really hoping that day one of the latest ride wouldn't be a repeat: rainy, wet, muddy, overcast, and generally miserable. Fortunately, when we got up this morning the weather looked...even worse. As we cycled from our hotel in Hanoi to KOTO for breakfast the skies opened up in a massive downpour, leaving us 20 riders wondering what the hell we had gotten ourselves into. The staff at the restaurant kept telling us that, in Vietnam, rain at the start of an event indicates luck. We were unconvinced.
By the time we finished eating the rain had slacked off, but the slow ride out of Hanoi turned into a mess, as Vien popped both of his tires at the rear of the group, leaving several people completely separated. After much apprehension and several phone calls we finally regrouped on the edge of the city, finally ready to really begin the day's journey to Hoa Binh.
Those of us who arrived in town first gathered on a bridge to wait for the rest of the crew to show up, after which we found our hotel for the night and began to decompress.