Thursday, 21 April 2016

Day 17 Kam Duc to Ngoc Hoi 110km

Day 17 Kam Duc to Ngoc Hoi 110km or The Big One or Cyclists in the Mist 

This morning we had grand plans to meet at 6am and hit the road early, knowing what was ahead of us. By 6:30 most of us were still coming out of our rest day haze, a phenomenon that occurs after spending 36 hours passed out on a hotel bed, only venturing out for food and the occasional beverage. Sometimes getting off the bed was necessary to clear the Kit Kat and Top Cake wrappers from the sheets. Our rest day yesterday was embraced by all, knowing that our one and only grade 1 climb for H2H lay ahead of us today.

As we left the sleepy town of Kam Duc, we entered a world of jungle and mist. The mountain air had a chill to it this morning, a welcome relief from the previous days of what felt like a never ending heatwave. As we ascending our little warm up grade 5 climb at the 5km mark, the trees and mist became denser, almost as one

And then the challenge we had all been waiting for, the mighty grade one climb. 18.43 km of up. Fortunately the weather stayed cool for most of the climb and he scenery was beautiful. I'm not going to say it was easy, it definitely wasn't, but it was highly enjoyable. Riding through the mist, past babbling brooks, and beside a burnt out bus. Thanks to Mike, I had Mr Sexy Time on my back today. I believe he gave me a little extra boost up the last little kicker of ascent. 

As we reached the top of the climb, the mist was lifting and the sky was blue. It really was quite a 
sight to behold, watching the clouds rush over the mountain tops, disappearing into blue nothingness. 
Unfortunately, my photos don't capture the moment at all but it was magical. Hoa did manage to capture the magic of the waterfall just after the descent. 

The whole team arrived in Dak Glei for lunch before 11:30 (ie we smashed that hill!). Even Davide who got a flat tire just after the grade 1 rocked into town just after the majority of the team arrived. After a couple of hours spent eating, napping and avoiding the midday sun we set of for our last 54km. What looked flat on the elevation profile most definitely was not. A morning of climbing on the back of 15 days of cycling had left our muscles and minds quite fatigued and it was less than 
enjoyable slog into Ngoc Hoi. We were all in town and checked in by 5:30, a great effort by everyone.

Overall, today was a challenging but highly rewarding day. To not only conquer a grade 1 climb but to be able to enjoy it on the way is definitely something that I'm proud of. Only 9 cycling days to go!


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