Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Day 1: Hanoi to Hoa Binh

Becky got a bit dirty on her way out of Hanoi!

Twas an early one. We all rounded ourselves up before dawn to get ready for the first big day on the road. We were all looking fly in our brand new kits ready to see what the first day had in store. We had prearranged breakfast at KOTO in Hanoi in order to be properly fueled up as well as have the opportunity to meet Ngan and Minh, the two trainees that H2H 2013 supported. The breakfast was nothing short of fabulous, and it was so heartwarming to meet the trainees! It was once again so wonderful to see hard work right in front of my own eyes. These two trainees were so kind, so interested in conversation, and were really grateful to be a part of the KOTO team.

It was a smooth exit out of the city. Hearts were pumping, adrenaline was flowing, and feet were happy. We all stayed in a group and there were no major issues…yet.

Alex is loving her first day!
In my one year’s experience, the first day can be a bit of a tricky one to nail down all the routines and procedures of the team and the support vans.  But hey, it’s all a learning experience. Our first problem came at a fork in the road that left some of us confused. No major issues yet, and a simple turn around. However, a u-turn and several punctures left us in a bit of a sticky situation. Luke got two punctures in each of his wheels at the same time. After they were both fixed, he got another puncture 5 minutes later. Not the best of luck. One motorbike cut off Becky, causing her to slam on her breaks and have Caitlin come crashing in behind her. Thankfully, each girl only came out of the situation with minor cuts and scrapes. However, Becky’s large cog was bent in the accident and couldn’t be used after that. After these mishaps, there was a miscommunication with the vans that had them leave their post at the u-turn which sent Natasha and Danny Walsh about 15 km in the wrong direction. However, we were quickly able to fix the problem and send the vans out to get them headed in the right direction. Most of us had met up for lunch, and regardless of the issues, everyone was still positive and eager to get on with the rest of the day.

The remainder of the ride was a breeze for everyone. One small climb near the end left us gliding into Hoa Binh 82 km after leaving the capital. No more mishaps, and we all made it to our destination safe and sound. The team got a bit of a taste of rural Vietnam, and left them craving more.

Words by Andrea

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