7.30am on a beautiful Sunday morning outside Moonlight hotel in Dong Hoi, directly opposite a beach front that only takes a quick walk across a not so busy road to get to. This can only mean one thing for team H2H – warm up time to prepare us for the 110km ride ahead of us.
Picture us huddled in a circle in front of the hotel ready for our rugby coach’s, Mc Danny's, fitness regime. Only one thing was missing – music from our trusted little Bluetooth speaker, waiting in the middle. We’re not fully awake yet but still doing our stretch moves. Andrew puts on the song. Suddenly, piano chords play in blocks of a major key and a nice little twiddle. We know the song and we’re waking up. The speakers talk to us…“I know, you’re tired, of loving, of loving, with nobody to love, nobody, nobody” At least it was partly right, uhuh honey. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBAtAM7vtg)
Luggage loaded in the DHL vans (thank you DH drivers!); muscles stretched, which this time, included some of Danny’s favourite yoga moves!; phone call to Becky to check how she’s doing, motivational quote of the day said aloud by Andrea, followed by our team squeeze, hands in “123, H2H!”, and BAM, we were off.
“You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.” –Rumi
Usually, we have breakfast before our warm up but today, as there wasn’t a banh mi or pho place within walking distance, we first cycled 10 minutes to get some traditionaly Vietnamese breakfast.
|Breakfast to keep our energy up! - Bun Rieu|
It was here that we learnt many of the boys have nice firm buttocks.
|Thank you Danny Walsh for your prodding technique.|
Belly’s full, we set off out of the small town. Keeping 15 cyclists together is somewhat difficult, especially when traffic lights and a lorry doing a 3 point turn are involved. With no sign of cyclists ahead or a big yellow DHL van to keep us on track, some of us soon found ourselves lost amongst the small town, having missed our turning out of the city. Fortunately, super Chuong, our bike mechanic, and the drivers in the back DHL van were quick enough to spot our mistake so guided us back on the right road. During this time, we had also lost Alex so we stopped just outside an electronic shop and started a search and rescue.
Rob, the opportunist, took the moment to quickly buy a laptop charger after his packed up 2 days into the ride. Oh Rob. Alex soon found us – turns out she wasn’t lost, just in between the 2 groups and was wondering where all us cyclists were.
|This lady and the cute little kid were intrigued by us, so a quick photo while waiting for the DHL van to arrive from its search for Alex.|
10.40am, and a quick prank on Natasha (we hid in an alley with our bikes while she went off to get some food, only to look confused upon her return), we were back on the road again.
After three flat tyres from Natasha, Danny M and myself, all within the space of an hour, we made it to lunch, almost 2 hours behind the rest of the gang; it was a great resting spot - a stilt open hut with a lake underneath and a beautiful out back view, all in the middle of nowhere. Food was great too – fish were caught fresh from the lake by our own DHL drivers.
|Flat tyre #2 from Danny: sometimes a flat tyre means it's break time!|
|Flat tyre #2: Refreshments provided from this ladies home while Danny and Chuong fix the bike. Thank you!|
|Flat tyre #3 :( - my first flat tyre. Must've been too tired...|
|Lunch time, yay!|
It was a great day for powering on; the men and women who drive past you on their motorbikes or little kids on their martin 107’s or the old man sitting on stacked sand bags facing me on a vehicle his wife was driving that was barely moving forward, to all of you who all were smiling and giving me the thumbs up, thank you for the motivation, you probably have no idea what we’re doing but to see your faces light up makes it all worthwhile, even if, as Danny M put it, “There’s something weird about Vietnam, everything seems to be going uphill.
The night ended with a great culture night invented by Luke Chesthairs, possibly a new tradition for the H2H ride? A series of challenges where one person was eliminated after each round were carried out until one was crowned the ultimate H2Her. For example, in order to be the best H2Her, one must stay focused…so what better way to test this than a staring contest; in order to be a H2Her, one must be able to make friends…so the gang walked around and when Luke shouted a number, we had to make a group with said number. Congratulations Chuong for being the best H2Her anyone could ask for! His prize was Luke's very own Nutella! Yummy!!
Words by Jacqui Tan