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We’re now about 650km away from our final destination HCMC, but in a couple of days we get to the deciding mountain stages.  This is where I’ll unleash my assault and take the yellow jersey.  I’ve been playing the food poisoning card up until this point and the peloton will suffer once we reach the high peaks of Da Lat.

Today we had an extremely enjoyable 100km ride along the coast from Quy Nh’on to Tuy Hoa.  It all started with a stupidly steep climb up a 20% gradient that I had to get off and walk! I wasn’t going to be soft and use my little ring like the other guys  ;-)  A couple of our hardmen made it all the way to the top without stopping which was very admirable.

The whole ride was very disorganized with the group split into three for the entire ride.  It was a comedy of errors which looked more like a 100km madison than a touring ride.  We forgot the golden rule: start a ride together; finish a ride together. Disobey this during any ride and it never fails to cause more trouble than it’s worth.

We ended up stopping at a mind-blowing 5 star resort (Vietstar Resort) for $35/night.   The rooms are stunning and the swimming pool and grounds are immaculate.  Isn’t it wonderful when you stumble on something completely unexpected?

The suspicious thing about this place is that we’re the only ones staying here.  It almost seems like it’s a Russian money laundering operation.  Oh well…works for us.

Tomorrow we have a 130km jaunt to Nha Trang along rolling coastal roads.  Nha Trang is supposed to be a much more touristy city with night markets, pubs, beaches, etc.  Everywhere we’ve been staying up until now has been very rural with very little Western influence.  It’s astounding how friendly and inviting all the Vietnamese people have been to us.

Sugar cane juice is sensational.  It’s squeezed straight from the cane with a little bit of kumquat, lime (I think) and salt added.  Makes for a great sports drink during a long, hot ride!

Nothing like a bowl of pho after a ride and some Saigon brew to wash it down

Much of our day is consumed by eating.  We really don’t need the second or third serving but it’s hard to say no.

This is how the moms drop the kids off at school.  No streets lined up with soccer moms driving BMW SUV’s here…

It didn’t take long for the kids to spot me with the camera

Next thing I knew there were dozens of them going bananas trying to get into the shot!  The Principal quickly came over and gave me a scolding for getting them all wound up.

This lady gave us a really nice soy dessert on the side of the street

I’ll never get enough of the cafe sau da beside the pool!

Life is good

The best thing about today was a clubhouse sandwich with fries.  I’m loving the Vietnamese food, but it sure was nice to have something familiar for a snack!

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