Monday, 8 May 2017

Day 28: 2017 OUT.


Hey, it’s me again. Day 28, last day of the ride. Well, some of us had stayed up late socialising the night before, cause, you know, the sooner you go to sleep, the sooner it’s over. I woke up at seven, still tired, then took forever digging through my pack for a pair of socks. Anyway, we were supposed to be leaving about eight, but stretches were late, we stopped to take photos before setting off, I think it was about eight thirty by the time we got going.


The ride itself was mostly uneventful, not much in the way of scenery, though the road got progressively busier as we entered Ho Chi Minh, with a few hair raising intersections. We stayed as a group at first, but with traffic it got harder to stick together. We stopped for a break about 20k in, then I ended up with Travis, Oli (who zoomed off), and Eli up front and we just kept going till we hit the Boathouse. When we were nearly there a car tried to turn a corner by cutting across Travis, so they stopped in the middle of the road. Of course I’d tried to go the other way around the car, and ran into it. No harm done to me or my bike, but that did bring my total number of tumbles for the ride to four. Pretty sure that’s a record.



Getting to the Boathouse was an amazing feeling. We’d made it, and now we could relax for a while with fresh juice and a burger. And make bets on who’d be in next. (It was Jimmy.) Rhiannon had a flat tyre 3k out and had to get in the van, Andrew also had been ill and had to drive into Saigon, but in good time the whole team was there. Some of us went to drop our gear at various people’s houses, and we said a heartfelt goodbye to our drivers and support crew who’d assisted us and kept us going, literally, for 2000km.


Finally it was time to set off for the post office. Travis had sorted free drinks for us at Bia Craft on the way so that was our next stop. We had ten minutes to down them before hitting the road again.


The last few kilometers of the ride felt surreal, and it wasn’t long before we stopped just around the corner from the post office to regroup, our whole team, together for the last milestone. And to kill some time as we were the first team to arrive early, cause, you know, we’re awesome. By now I think all of us were getting a bit emotional, there were a few teary eyes for sure. Zak gave a short speech, telling us all how proud he was to have been our leader. Not sure we could’ve asked for a better one.

And then it was time. We set off together, and a minute later as the cathedral came into view there was cheering from the crowd of people who’d come to welcome us in. Two slow laps around the cathedral, and that was it. Our ride was done.



We parked up, there were hugs all around, previous H2Hers welcoming us, photos being taken, speeches given by charity representatives, the British consul, a bunch of media outlets filming it all and interviewing people.



Bohemian Rhapsody. It was kinda our song on the ride, so we all got in a circle round somebody’s phone and sang our hearts out. Afterward we moved on to Pasteur St for more free beer, people went for food, and we all had to get prepped for the party at seven thirty. It was great. We’d put together a playlist for it the night before, a weird, eclectic mix of songs, some of which had to be vetoed for the greater good. Music, pools, good drinks, some of the best people in the world, the last night of H2H 2017 was one to remember.


So that’s it then. We’re done. H2H 2017 is over. Twenty-eight days, was it long or short? To be honest, it was both. Feels like we’ve been cycling forever, like we’ve been setting out before the sun gets too strong, waving to smiling people, celebrating another day on a bike over, singing H2H karaoke, and collapsing into bed to do it all again for ages. But far out it flew by.

Highlights of the trip personally? In no particular order, the visit to the Live and Give Orphanage and meeting those legend nuns and the amazing kids they support. The four or five days straight after Hue with those brutal climbs and amazing views. Swimming, in lakes, rivers, pools, the sea, roadside puddles. Jimmy entertaining us with his magic, his ukulele, his songs and stories, his drawings. Making everyone groan with god awful puns, then sitting back and watching the punniness spread. Fresh mangoes. Dancing on hotel beds. Late night drinking with the session moths. Getting across the finish line as a team. Bohemian Rhapsody. Just hanging out with these people. It’s been great times.

Finally, to my fellow cyclists, you’re awesome, every one of you. Thanks. And to future riders, you people are amazing just for doing this. It won’t be easy, but take it as it comes, have fun, and look after each other. Ride on.

2017 out.

--Keith 'Oh So Punny' Maxwell


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