Extreme measures, flying unicorns, female dogs and a Mental Hospital... The story of Day 7.
OMG what a transformation... What a joyous day. Aji and Mike joined the ride today and they both made a massive difference for so many reasons. The first and immediate one was Mike offering to loan me something of extreme importance, something which would potentially ease the ongoing agony I am suffering in my posterior. So, with two very padded pairs of shorts on and Mike's wonder Gel seat firmly in place my ride was transformed from medieval torture to a joyous ride around the Vietnamese countryside.
As we left Hue we all chatted casually and the first 10 KM's flew by in a flash, no calculations of how many km's to do, speed per hour, just great chat with beautiful scenery. At least I thought it was good chat, perhaps I was wrong, perhaps Aji couldn't take anymore and wanted to eject himself from the chat torture because at 13km he mysteriously crashed hard into the Tarmac of the bridge we were crossing, there was no traffic, no rocks, but suddenly Aji is on the deck bleeding. The theories surrounding the phantom crash lingered on for a few hours...
Taking the fairly extreme hint, we rode around the sea passing the city of ghosts and oyster farms with considerably less chat, the air was pungent with the smell of dried fish and the early morning 32 degree heat did nothing to lessen the smell. The sea/lake, beautiful blue sky and the mountains in the distance made for some spectacular riding.
With the temperature at 37 degrees and 90km complete we set off for Danang via the Hai Van pass. I was told we will climb for 10km, as we started the climb I could see pigs being water boarded, perhaps they had opted for this versus being told to climb the pass??? ... With the words of Harrison in my head 'dad, don't give up and fly like the wind' and Will's 'dad, ride like a unicorn' I set off with a vision of the flying Tristar horse in my head, only now the horse is a unicorn. The start was OK but the climb got gradually harder, I crossed the 100km mark for the day, and in my head I knew I was now at 904km in total for the entire ride, fantastic!! Exactly where I want to be, week 2 will be easier...and then I saw a sign, a very cruel sign, it simply stated that Ho Chi Minh City was 991km away!! I was crushed. It was a cruel blow, how could the mountain do this?! but thinking back to the words of Harrison and Will I rose up off my seat screaming some random obscenities to the mountain to become that flying unicorn. As the mountain road got even harder for the remaining few km's of the climb, in my head I was absolutely confident that the English translation of Hai Van is Female dog.
All three of us made it to the top and I am extremely proud of everyone, a phenomenal effort.
Whilst observing the view from the top and the beautiful couple having their very grand pre wedding photographs shot, I had a coffee, it was the sweetest most enjoyable coffee I have had in a while I didn't think anything of it, I just enjoyed.
As I headed down the other side of the Hai Van I felt like Barry Sheen, I flew down the mountain, overtaking motorbikes, finding the right line for the corners and throwing my increasingly less weight into each corner, it was wonderful, and I didn't want it to end, I was hoping at the bottom there would be a chairlift to take us back to the top with our bikes (great way to do 1600kms!!) but alas there wasn't... Good business idea though :)
We rode towards Danang and then suddenly something happened, my peddling became fast, rhythmic and effortless, I had cycled 915km in the past week but it had never felt like this, I was flying, it felt like I had a rocket booster, the km's flew by and it was no effort, everyone else seemed in slow motion and I was flying, and I couldn't understand why, I should be lethargic but I am the opposite, and then I thought about what it could be, had I overdone the gels again? No... Have I eaten anything to give me this energy? .. No, and then it came to me, the coffee at the top of the Hai Van, whatever was in that coffee needs to be bottled sold and potentially tested by the world anti doping agency, if it hadn't been for the Lightning all around us I could possibly still be cycling today!!
We checked into our hotel (which resembles a hospital) for the night. Upon returning from a huge pasta meal in the beautiful old town of Hoi An we found that whilst we were away our hospital hotel had been transformed into a mental asylum with rave music blaring and lunatics jumping into the pool. I refrained from jumping in, but from the look in Ronnie's eye I think he may have headed back down there...
Well done Aji and Mike, you are both superstars.
Tomorrow will be a special day. (UPDATE was... I will post tomorrow)
Thanks for making a difference and helping save a life.