Wednesday, 3 April 2013

H2H 2013 Day 1: A lucky start?

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.
The ride down the highway out of Hanoi was pretty uneventful, just like last year. There wasn't much to look at, and the wet road and honking buses made things a bit unpleasant.
 Luckily, once we turned off the highway, the weather began to clear. After eating lunch we were cycling under clear skies and blazing heat. The scenery was amazing as well. Last year we weren't able to see many of the karsts along this road through Hoa Binh province due to the fog. I had no idea that this area is so spectacular.

 The last 20 km or so was fantastic, with rolling hills and awesome vistas.
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.
 This was a far better day than last year, both in terms of weather and, personally, mechanical issues. In 2012 I had two flats and a brake problem, but my bike cruised on like a trusty stallion today. (Knock on wood, that will continue.) There were a few issues - a couple of people's pedals fell off, Emma had multiple flats - but overall it seems like everyone really enjoyed the day, and your confidence always grows once you realize you can do this. The total distance for the day ended up being about 90km. Onwards to Vu Ban tomorrow!

Mike T.


  1. congratulations. If you happen to come to Nha Trang, I'd love to buy you all dinner. Thanks for your hard work. Enjoy the beauty ahead.

    Bob Schuesler
    Orangehelpers Agent Orange NGO

    1. Thanks Bob! We won't be passing through Nha Trang, but we appreciate the offer!

  2. Great work Mike. Keep up the excellent blogging!

  3. Great blog and pics Mike! So glad H2H is on the road again and you at least saw some sunshine on Day 1! Massive support to the team. Chris