Swarms of honking motorbikes, menacing trucks, clouds of dust and exhaust, not to mention the scorching tropical heat in Ho Chi Minh City, all things the team have been enduring in the last few months of training leading up to the "real ride" to come.
|Tat takes on the impenetrable roundabout.|
|Chris Rolls on the Hanoi Highway.|
Forget having to meet up for a bike ride; with a grueling work schedule, often times it's hard enough to just roll out of bed. Then there's the ritual of grabbing some mismatching workout clothes that you knew you should've washed, but hope people ride far away enough not to smell. Finally after a cà phê sữa đá if you aren't already late, it's off to the usual gathering points.
It's worth the grogginess and lack of breakfast to see members trickle in, geared up and ready to ride. A triumphant feeling sets in, the kind you get when the team of good guys show up at the climax of a superhero movie (likely due to the close-fitting neon spandex most members are wearing).
Then we hit the road, off to face our familiar friend, a 30km or so stretch of semi-shady roads from one end of District 7 to the other. After pushing hard up a few bridges, we reward ourselves with some refreshments and good laughs.
On the return journey, some of the more pain-loving riders continue on to Saigon's most sure way of burning those butt muscles, a grueling climb up Phu My Bridge.
Some might actually say the view is worth the effort.
|Not the safest place for a Kodak moment.|
On those rare days when there's no urgent need to be in an office or classroom, we treat ourselves to a picturesque ride across the river in Dong Nai Province.
So far the route is a team favorite, taking us just far enough from the noise and congestion of the city and across rice paddies and quaint countryside neighborhoods.
There's also the encouragement we get from the local schoolchildren.
The destination of our Dong Nai ride, Golden Scorpion, a peculiar manmade lake complete with contraptions for diving and a "blob." The cheap food, lukewarm beer, and hammocks make for good conversation and team bonding.
Some, if not all, are anxious for the 27 days of riding ahead. If it's mostly like this...
...I just don't know how we'll bear it. Guess we'll do our best.
By Chris Tran