Saturday, 10 May 2014

Day 26: Bao Loc to Dinh Quan

After spending the evening honoring the spectacular DHL drivers with hot pot and whiskey the next morning started slowly, particularly for those of us involved in the latter. As we lazed our way through blog posting, breakfast, bill sorting and bag packing Chuong mentioned that our professional counterparts, also riding from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, race style, would be making their way into town that morning, so as the last of us rolled out of bed we watched the pros roll into their finish line for the day about 120k from where they'd started a few hours earlier. 

Excited and inspired we hit the road, moments out of town we took our usual ride positions, Natasha and I bringing up the rear as the buffaloes we are, strong but slow, a title bestowed on us by the drivers. 

In the clouds
We had one 'climb' near the beginning of the ride, but before we knew it we were in the descent, laughing in the face of such a short, flat 'mountain'. We hit the backside and after such a short climb we had a massive descent, making it clear just how much climbing we'd been doing over the past few days. Natasha and I took a pit stop at a temple half way down and after enjoying our final coast through the clouds we caught up to the main pack along a bridge with a parade of statue horses running beneath. 

Soon after we arrived at yet another underwhelming lunch spot for some more mediocre pork and rice, Mccance tested the capacity of a single inner tube, which was an unimpressive performance, we all drank too many C2's and took mini naps and we were off again. Moments after leaving Alex, Natasha and I had to take refuge in a different temple from a momentary onslaught of rain. 

Most days we ride bicycles, but some days...
A forest ride, a few pot holes and an avocado smoothie later we arrived to the team set up in a rugby style tunnel to greet us. As I wobbled up the motorbike ramp and through them I realized in just a matter of hours this would all come to an end.

I wonder how I'll navigate my way through my day without a text message from Andrea telling me where to go. I wonder how I'll wake up without Jackie next to me and a bit of Carly Simon karaoke from Chesthairs, and I wonder how my muscles will have a clue what to do if Mccance isn't there to warm them up. I wonder what my beauty regime will be if not Vaseline and deep heat and I wonder what my fashion sense will become without padded shorts and sports bras. I wonder what I'll search the horizon for if not the yellow beacon of hope that is the DHL van. I wonder how it will feel to arrive at a destination and not have fifteen smiling, cheering faces to greet me. I wonder how my life will ever be the same. 

H2H 2014, I have had the time of my life and I owe it ALL to you. 

Words by Caitlin

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