It’s a Long, Long Road…

Temp ☀️☀️☀️☀️

Distance  57 miles

Arseometer 👍

Alarm was set for 4.15 am, woke up drenched in sweat, our room & room next door had no electricity so that meant getting dressed & organised by the light of a head torch.  We were on the road by 6.30 am and the first part of the ride took us down the village byways again, where we struck the school run.  Mopeds & bikes loaded with kids!  All of whom shout hello & wave.  The landscape had changed from yesterday’s jungle to rice paddy fields, more farming, lots of ducks & every family seem to have at least a couple of cows.

However after the first rest stop we left the calm of the rural roads and hit the highway to Can Tho.  The road was long, straight, hot & busy, before we had encountered the occasional car or small lorry, but the highway was busy with every kind of traffic that weaved its way around us and the mopeds.

The saving grace was the rolling water stops, where apart from filling up your water bottles, you could plunge your helmet & neck buff into iced water.  Many of us squished ice cubes into our helmets, cleavage or wrapped them into our neck buffs.

Our day started so early that we had lunch at 10.30 – 11 am.  The food at the roadside restaurants has been amazing, so tasty & plentiful, and many have hammocks in the shade where we can relax & bring body temperature down.

After lunch we had a 25 k straight run to the final snack/rest stop.  The road was hot and seemed to stretch ahead forever, it would certainly give the Romans a run for their money in the straight road stakes. The road was bordered with electricity wires, which were covered in large spider webs with huge spiders at their centre.  There were literally thousands of them strung between the cables.  

As we headed into the final third of the ride we had 2 challenges to overcome, the Can Tho bridge and Can Tho city traffic.

The 2.75 km bridge rises steeply over the Hau river and is filled with city traffic, once we had crossed the bridge, we had a few kilometre run through the City to our hotel.  Although tired, this cycle got the adrenaline pumping, it was exhilarating.  Weaving through rush hour traffic with thousands of mopeds, plus lorries, cars & pedestrians.  Four way junctions were a chaotic yet orderly free for all.  There is no road rage here, as the traffic dodges, weaves & ducks, no cross words, even the hooting is done in a friendly manner, it means, ‘Just to let you know, I am here’, rather than ‘Getout of my way now.’

We all arrived at the hotel buzzing with the excitement of it.

Sadly in the chaos I didn’t press the record button hard enough on the camera, but hoping other women had bettter luck as traffic had to be seen to be believed.

So Day 2 complete.  Few photos but no time to edit video as 4.45 am start tomorrow.
 

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Many Rivers to Cross

Date:  Wed 6 February 2017

Temp: ☀️☀️

Distance: 37 miles

Arseometer: 👍

So day 1 complete, around 37 miles covered.  The pace today was steady with a couple of rest stops & 2 ferry crossings.  The sights and sounds were truly wonderful.  The terrain varied, from busy main roads, streets in crowded towns, to narrow concrete byways that link rural villages.  These byways, less than a car’s width meander from village to village. Local traffic streams through them, bicycles, moped & mopeds with trailers carrying fat pigs amongst other goods.  Every village entrance framed by an archway, many with schools where excited children shouted ‘Hello’, roadside businesses selling fruit, veg, meat (one sign showed cattle, pig & dog!), hairdressers, undertakers where elaborate highly decorated coffins were on display, shrink wrapped. I have never smiled & waved at so many people,the other road users are good natured & friendly even when faced with 100 women coming the other way over a single track bridge.

The area once jungle, a haunt for the VC during the Vietnam war, now seems filled with coconut palms, banana trees & sugar cane. Beautiful chestnut brown cattle graze in clearings, there were many ornate houses next to ruder ones made from coconut trees. Every house had 1+ dogs dozing happily in the sun & chickens scratching in the dirt.

We seem to be spend the day crossing & recrossing the Mekon & her tributaries, either by bridge, some rickety with planks missing, one huge motorway type bridge and twice by ferry. Again one small and one large.

We stopped for a lunch at a small restaurant at a busy crossroads in a small town, with child sized tables perched precariously by the road. Trucks, mopeds & bikes weaved their way seamlessly through this 4-way junction, with not a traffic light in sight.  Lunch as usual was delicious, nothing scary, flavoursome broth, pork, duck & rice.

We safely negotiated the junction & were soon back in the countryside, where the ever-increasing heat was tempered by the shade of the trees and a light breeze, cooled over the water that flowed through every village.

As the afternoon wore on, the temperature rose and the rest stops provided welcome ice to tip on your head or bathe wrists in.  The last few miles were a long tarmac stretch with no shade and no breeze, this was the grimmest part of the day, humidity & temperature really high, everything sodden in sweat & mad town traffic to negotiate, but we all made it. Exhausted more by the heat than the total exertion, never has a shower felt so good as did my fresh coconut.  This is my drink of choice, at most of the rest stops and hotels, you can buy a fresh coconut, the top is sliced with a machete and straw popped in the top & fresh cool coconut water is yours for drinking.​

​Day 2 is going to be long, over 100 km with a 4.15 an alarm call…..  don’t expect much tomorrow evening..xx

Ho Chi Minh

Arrived at Ho Chi Minh early evening and needed to walk; so stepped out of the hotel and made my way to the night market, like most markets, tat upon stall of tat, but atmosphere was friendly & buzzy, and plenty to buy if you wanted the ubiquitous I ❤ Vietnam & football shirts, suitcases & flip flops.  Felt hungry, so billy no mated it, and had BBQ prawns & rice at street restaurant.  Nice touch was the waitress in plastic gloves peeled your prawns for you.  The prawns were accompanied by a spicy green dip. So day one over, back to the airport tomorrow to join the Women V Cancer group who are flying in.​

26 Day Countdown

This is the post excerpt.

So that’s come round quick!  In less than a month I will be boarding a plane to Ho Chi Minh to start the Women V Cancer Charity Cycle Ride along with about 100 other women. (To be honest that could be scarier than the cycling!)

This is my first (test) post of my blog which I hope to update whilst I am away so all those who have either donated, bought my craft items or who came to MoonDance can see my progress.

So here’s to an adventure of a lifetime xx

 

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