Monday, February 27, 2012

H2H 2012 - Ride Day xx recap part deux

Dear diary,

We are just days away from home and I am still several ride days overdue from updates. Let's begin:

Ride Day 5

We set off from beach town (Tinh Gia) to Đô Lương. This was a 90+ km ride day and I managed to do a significant portion of it, about 60km. As soon as we stopped for lunch, my knees seized up and I just couldn't do any more. I hopped into the van and we set off, following the the other riders as they entered town. 2km from our hotel, I noticed several bicycles propped up outside of a makeshift tent that is usually placed for wedding receptions. Well, our driver, Mr. Cuong, stopped and I hopped on one leg to check it out. Sure enough, about 7 of our riders were seated around the only table outside being fed curry, sticky rice, chicken, and buttloads of rice wine. What else do I do but join in? :)

doing the dancing

the groom and his nephew

phong offering our gift to the happy couple
(everyone pitched in about 100k each)


Once we were nearing overstaying our welcome (grandma started to grab the bottles of wine and dump them out), the best man invited us back to his pad down the block and continue partying!

his baby boy!

quinn's giant ass on some random neighbor's bicycle


waving us off

everyone had their bicycles to ride to the hotel,
so he offered me a ride back on his motorbike

stuffed wolf

Ride Day 6 - Phố Châu

This would be my final day riding in the van. 2.5 days total because of some bum knees. 

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what happens when you ride behind Sandra

Sandra and her hair diarrhea

Our rear support driver Mr. Cuong having his day made by Hanneke

Vietnamese "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"
Ride Day 7 - Hoang Khe

Not much to say about this day. More rain and cold, dreary weather. Lots of bikes on the road. As we we entered the town, we looked for the hotel the riders from the previous year stayed. It turned out that it was under maintenance, so we had to look for a new place. We found the "poshest" hotel, Duc Tai, in town and stayed there. 

Looking for suitors, fellas

Ride Day 8 - Đô Lương

A very beautiful ride today. Even with the ugly weather, the scenery was wonderful. Not much traffic and we got to ride through a bunch of small villages. There were a few boys standing with sticks that were pretty threatening. Luckily, they didn't take a swing. But, later, rider Hanneke informed us that there was an incident where some boys with sticks/pipes hit her as she rode by. :X

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Ride Day 9 - Đồng Hới

Our second beach day. Another fun day of riding. We were mostly just excited to get to another beach, even though the weather was shite. 

Kept my camera in my jersey pocket on my back with the lens facing my body.
Bad idea. Yup, that's sweat fogged up.

Arrival to our hotel and once again, human chain to unload the van.

3 happy campers on our way to a hotel that serves Western food.
Our first taste since leaving Hanoi.

Ride Day 10 - Cam Lộ

Leaving the beach town, Phong brings it up to the group that we'd be riding by Hamburger Hill that day. He mentions that there is a huge cemetery for soldiers from the war. We decide to stop by on our way to the next town. 

Lunch stop - beautiful resort town!

Bunch of people there to honor the fallen with their offerings.

We made it to town and Zara immediately made a new friend.

Also, note for next year's riders - Blue Hotel is where we stayed. Some people found blood stains in their rooms. Some found dead hooker skeletons. Just a word of warning.

Okay. That's certainly enough for now. I'm not even halfway done with updating about the ride, yet we are 2 days away from home. Let's see if I can bang out another one tomorrow!

'til next time!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

H2H 2012 - Ride Day xx recap

Dear diary,

I give up. I wanted to do a post for each day, but I just don't have it in me. Perhaps later, once I return, I'll do a more substantial recap of my time, but for now, I'm just going to give you the quick and dirty version of the days thus far. At least, until I'm up to date with the days. I'll try to limit it to 5 photos per day. 

Ride Day 3

Still in Vụ Bản, we start our day by cycling down the road to a grass field for morning stretches. The mud was not kind to me or my bike.

But, ^that didn't matter for much longer. 12km into our ride, fellow pedalphile (I wonder if this word is kosher) Sandra blew out her tire. Other pedalphile Kirsty and I stopped to help. 30 minutes passed by and we were finished. But, by then, my muscles had gone cold and my knees started to give in. Every time I extended a leg to pedal, my knees had the worst, sharp pains I'd ever had. Unfortunately, I couldn't continue. That sure put a damper on the ride. Barely 3 days in and I got injured to the point where I couldn't participate. That was the one thing I, and most likely the others, feared the most.  So, I spent the rest of the ride in the support van snapping photos and napping. 

The view from my comfy seat 

There really wasn't much else about that day. I missed a beautiful, scenic ride. We arrived to our next destination, fixed a few bikes, then that was that. 

Ride Day 4

The next morning, after doping myself up with codeine, paracetamol, ibuprofen, and Salonpas heat pads, my knees were feeling a bit better. Had some breakfast with the crew and then I decided to ride out to our first beach destination. 

After stopping by an alleged bicycle shop (technically, it was, but we were told they dealt in road bikes) to pick up some spare parts (to no avail), we rode onwards! We arrived to the shadiest hotel in Quan Lao. It felt like an abandoned hospital that was converted into a makeshift hotel.

As my legs were feeling the pain from a day's ride, I decided to take it easy and spend the evening recuperating. No dinner, no stairs, no drinking - just 3 episodes of The Wire and ibuprofen. 

It's a quarter to 11 and I am the last one awake. If it hadn't been for the roughest ride we had today, I would have started much earlier to finish this post on time. Tomorrow's gonna be a 112km journey, so I needs my rest.

'Til next!


H2H 2012 - Ride Day 2 recap

Dear diary,

This is going to be another photodump. I'll elaborate briefly about each day thus far, but it's quite late and we've got a grueling ride ahead of us, so don't expect much. I'll try to make the next few posts soon and clumped together so I can finally catch up.

Ride Day 2

Probably the most hated ride day so far. It was a short ride, but with a 6km uphill battle to begin, things started off a bit ugly. Flat ride turned into a 6% grade which then increased to 8% and that's where I had to walk my bike for a bit. Fortunately, once atop the hill, the rest of the ride was wonderful. A few of us stopped near the top and chatted up some friendly, old women. They even invited us all in for tea. As we descended, we stopped by a road-side "shop" and bought some sugarcane to chew on.

Sugarcane shop proprietor

They had a little bird hanging around and I asked what it was for. Apparently, people buy them (100,000vnd) to make wine with it. They throw in a bunch of stuff into a giant bottle and leave the bird in it to ferment. Yum.

Onwards we went!

We reached a halfway point and some of the group decided to stop for snacks and lunch. While waiting for others to finish coffee, a few of us got to talking with some precocious little sisters while perusing their shop. I spent most of the conversation teasing them and trying to get them to give me some food. I asked for some candy and got shot down. Then I asked for some rice with fish and got turned down again. Then I asked for just a bowl of rice and soy sauce. Nope. I noticed they had some bananas on the counter and asked for just 1. They weren't having none of my ish. 

Fashionista #1

#1 with her sister

7 year old rocking Chanel!

reverse facepalm

I told her that her shoes were very pretty. Then, I asked if she would like to trade for my muddy, to' up Asics. That is how she responded.

My stomach soon began to growl for me to put food in it, so we bid adieu to our new friends. We had fun, so much fun in fact that Rhona PROMISED to return to hang out with them 1 year in the future. Same time, same place. Guess that means we're signed up for a 2013 ride, yeah?

rice fish eggs tofu beef veggies and hot tea. yum
After that, we headed off to our next destination - Vụ Bản. This place was totally not the business. It was a tiny village with really just one road in and the same road leading out. It was rocky, muddy, and just a pain. It also didn't help that the hotel owner was pretty mean. 

poop running down my legs

bar owner wiping down a bottle of beer

well-deserved refreshments

hotel lobby decoration

Every night, we hold a team meeting to discuss the day's ride, any issues, and what to expect for the next day.  We were also introduced to SEXY TIME! Every day, 1 rider receives the Sexy Time award for just being an all around swell person. I had received it the prior night for being such a sexy rider and helping changing a flat.   In turn, I awarded Sexy Time to Miss Sarah Heavie for indirectly helping me fix my front brake issue. 

After the meeting concludes, we also hold a Culture Night! Everyone is expected to host the night at least once and the first volunteers were DaneDane and RhoRho. Game 1: Huckle Buckle. You pair up, mingle around, and when you hear "Huckle Buckle!" being shouted, you find your partner and proceed to match your body parts to what was shouted. 

Tongue to elbow.
Anna and I made it to the finals but lost out to Joe and Sarah behind us.

Game #2 - Oreo Face Race! Split an Oreo in half and stick the half with the cream on your forehead. Using your face muscles, move it down into your mouth and enjoy your victory. We did a waterfall race and it was intense. Some people were trying to hard, their faces started to heat up and melt the cream, making the cookie just stick and not be able to slide down. After an intense battle of probably almost 15 minutes, we emerged victorious.

And, no surprise here, you look absolutely ridiculous playing. But, it's so fun you don't care! Definitely bringing this back to the States.

Another 72km tomorrow with a 1000m overall climb. Not looking forward to that at all. Huế has been so good to us. Western food, french food, pizza, massages, mani/pedis, and SNICKERS bars, oh boy. Another 2 weeks before we get back to that on the daily (HA!). 

'Til next time, folks.