Thursday, 21 April 2016

Day 15, The Calm Before the Storm...

Day 15, Thanh My to Kham Duc, 58km

Our fifteenth day on the road culminated in the best-placed rest day thus far. After four solid days navigating the mountains down the volatile backbone of Vietnam, we pressed pause and relaxed for a while in Kham Duc. 

Here you can see my relief upon entering our leisure destination (and the blurred town monument in the background).

We enjoyed a lovely lake-side lunch on arrival, and the food was good enough to tempt us back the next day.

Later on that day, in classic H2H rest-day style, we scoured the town for booze and snacks, polished off bottles of wine, whiskey and beer, ordered mounds of food and by about 8pm we were absolutely exhausted (#partyhard). That evening, the heat and humidity of the past few days came to a crescendo in the form of a thunderstorm. A sign of things to come.

Our relaxation in Kham Duc was accompanied by a slight unease surrounding the subsequent day. On day sixteen after Kham Duc, we would ride 105km to Ngoc Hoi/Plei Can and face the longest and most arduous climb yet.

From day twelve to fifteen, as a team, we really did battle with the majesty of nature. We were all given sage advice from previous riders and warned of the difficulty of the mountainous stretch leading out of Hue. So, we all had apprehensions of what lay ahead, but to make the feat even more challenging a heatwave stifled us throughout.

None of us have ever accomplished an endurance effort that can compare to the extent of cycling 2000km in just over 3 weeks (Damo is just having a severe case of deja-vu). Nor are we seasoned athletes with a taste for pushing the limits. 

Despite our mediocre calibre, since the start of the ride, we have grown stronger in body and spirit. It has been such a pleasure to ride alongside our motley crew. I've certainly not attained a state of self-mastery, but peddling through the pain up those steep inclines in the tropical heat tests every sinew and doubt that clings to us. And, once we reach the summit we wonder what all the fuss was about. 

Lessons learnt? Yes. 
Mountains give us the gift of perspecitve, and the climbs provide endless metaphors. 

Kate Grigg.

“You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss

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