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March 2, 2010
Well we’ve completed day 4 of our cycling tour around Vietnam and all I can say about today is that it was EPIC. By epic, I mean that it was long, hot, humid, 3 crashes, 4 punctures, headwind, etc. How the word “epic” ever got associated with such punishment is beyond me. However, the final kilometers we rode into the city we’re staying at (Quy Nho’n) made it all worthwhile. I’ve never seen such a busy place with narrow roads in all my life. Not exactly a peaceful experience but we’re getting used to riding in this type of traffic and it’s quite amazing being amongst all the action. If there were a ProTour of Scootering, this place would be the Tour de France.
A few things I learned from today:
1. We have to take our rest days more seriously. This was the fourth big day of riding we’ve done and everyone is starting to get fatigued. There’s no room for mistakes here. When we’re riding near the cities your concentration needs to be as intense as when you’re racing. It’s absolutely nuts.
2. At first I thought it was overkill to bring a set of spare wheels between us all. As it turns out this was one of the best choices we made. A group of 10 guys are bound to get a few punctures and it’s so much easier and time efficient to simply throw on another wheel and change it later.
3. Motorpacing behind a big dump truck at 55km/hr is an absolute blast until someone hits a pothole and goes ass-over-tea kettle. Once again, the spare wheels came in handy.
4. Incessant honking is either to let you know that a big vehicle is coming up behind, or to get your attention so you can see them waving at you. Every single bus or semi-truck that passes us wants us to wave at them so they lay on their steamship sized horns. After the 160km mark and 7 thousandth honk today a couple of us nearly lost the plot. They could have won the Vietnam War with honking alone!
We’re going to take a rest day tomorrow, sit on the beach and pamper ourselves STFU style. Spas are extremely cheap (only $6 for a 90 minute massage), However, we just learned not to call them “massage” or else you’ll be asking for something with a happy ending…
Also, I have to apologize for the poor updates. I’m taking lots of photos and trying to caption them all, but sometimes the internet cafes have horrible computers or there’s very dodgy internet access. Please be patient with brevity and spelling mistakes ;-)
Here is the GPS file of today’s ride.
…and a few photos:
Sean, our guide/friend has been taking us out to the good street food places for dinner. We pass so many regions that the food and flavors are dramatically different every day. I was skeptical about how inexpensive people were saying Vietnam is, but it’s turning out to be just that. The portions aren’t massive so we usually each get 2-3 main courses for our main. It comes to less than $5 (with a few beers or softdrinks). I’m in heaven!
We all got shaves and haircuts last night for less than a dollar each. Leg shaving was extra…
The hotels have been incredible. For $15/night each we’ve been staying in some beautiful places.