Sherpas, Evel Knievel, my Rock. Words from Aunty Grantley & Lisa...The best day so far.
Definitely the best day of the ride thus far. Starting the day with the people you love, the people who have supported you along every step of the journey, people who have contributed so much, and so generously was fantastic, the day went in a flash, I absolutely loved every single minute of it. I am so very grateful to you all, Thank you.
Leaving the Vietnamese city of love with a fantastic coffee made from beans produced locally, and with my shoe cello taped up we were ready for what was billed as the highlight of the tour.
Having sold this leg of the tour to everyone as a gentle downhill glide from Dalat to Nha Trang there was shock and horror on the faces of the riders as we approached a 5km climb prior to the top of the pass. Undeterred, everyone took on the beast and with the occasional help from sherpas and silverbacks everyone proudly got to the top. Lisa, you came for a quiet relaxing beach holiday in Vietnam and you ended up riding a bike up huge mountains and visiting children in Hospital, you are a true legend!
Everyone was breathless, not because of the climb but because of the incredible view, it was simply stunning, by far the best view of the 12 days, a view of the valley stretching all the way to Nha Trang. Taking in the views we sped down the mountain, passing waterfalls, lush mountain forests,
Tigers and even an elephant!
With everyone full of endorphins and enjoying the majestic views and cool mountain air, An decided to pull an Evel Knievel style stunt over a rock in the road, unfortunately it ended more Eddie the Eagle than Evel Knievel and poor An gave the cold concrete a high five with her knees and elbows. Unfortunately she has fractured her elbow, thankfully it wasn’t any worst and she will make a full recovery. She has been told no more daredevil stunts!
Inspired by the city of love and beauty all around, Grant and Ang decided to ride holding hands, it was a beautiful image on a beautiful day and inspired romance... Riding next to my beautiful wife I decided I would try to give her a kiss whilst riding, (yes, post event I realise this sentence just spells trouble), I got close and lent over, and just as I was puckering up I got my handlebars caught up with Nic’s, I tried to recover but ended up kissing the concrete road instead. With the temperature at 38 degrees at least it was a hot kiss! With elbows and ego scrazed we carried on riding passing through beautiful villages whilst riding alongside the river, it was a truly special day.
The biggest highlight for me was having Nic on the ride, I am so proud of her, she rode an incredible 66km! And I got to ride all of them by her side, today was my favourite ride of the tour so far and no doubt will be my favourite of the whole trip. To be able to ride side by side with the woman whom you love most in the world, with the person who makes so many things possible for me and our boys was very very special and meant everything to me, my wife is an inspiration and she has done so much for this initiative that no one sees, thank you gorgeous, without you none of what we are achieving together would be possible.
The pictures speak for themselves.
As this was a very special day, Aunty Grantley and Lisa are also guest bloggers today...
At 57 years of age riding a bike in the middle of nowhere in Vietnam was strangely, not on my bucket list.
But when Scott asked if there was a chance that I could join him for support in any part of his 1600 kilometres in 16 days epic journey, to raise money for children who require life saving heart operations, I was more than happy to donate to such an awesome cause. Naturally, I had no intentions at all of joining him in riding a bloody bike..
I couldn't have been more wrong!!! I realise now it should have been on the top of my bucket list..
Although I didn't have anything at all the indicated that I was remotely prepared to ride a bike. Except a new pair of runners..
It was one of the most amazing, rewarding and spiritual things I have ever done.
The freedom and the challenge of riding up steep hills thinking you will never make it, and next minute you have. The views, fresh air lush green jungle, friendly locals, all the different animals and sounds of wildlife I had never heard before. The instant friendship from 9 others that I met supporting Scott on his quest, made my one day bike ride an incredible experience, that will stay with me forever.
Although slightly sore at my business end, I'm not even a tad in pain like John, Aji and Scott. You blokes are sensational ...
Ride like an unicorn
What an incredible few days, and what a sense of achievement on so many levels!
Being part of Cycle for 16 was an amazing experience, an awesome day meeting 15 of the most "fortunate" children to have luckily crossed paths with Scott and Nic at the hospital in Danang. An emotional day for Jane and I, yet heart warming day to put to reality, the work the team are doing to raise funds.
To take part in the ride was an enormous personal physical challenge having not been on a bicycle seat for 7 years, (let alone one that had gears) and by a body that is so unfit and has a true aversion to the word exercise! Yet I managed to do it, well at least 49kms of the ride.
I was huffing and puffing, and would never achieved this without visioning those kids in the hospital, and without the support and encouragement of Jon, and the crew. Jon in particular continued to challenge me by giving me a false pre tense that it was only a few more kms, and that I could do it. Armed with a couple of sips of Jon's magic potion going up those hills, and his perseverance to push this stubborn Taurean beyond her capabilities, he and the lads acted as my Sherpa for the last bit, and I claimed my own victory with a big woohhhooo! The Queen of Sheeba made it, it was like something out of the show the Biggest Loser!
Thanks Scott and Nic, and all the riders for your incredible efforts in pulling this fundraising event together and raising such an awesome amount of money to help - an experience embedded in my heart that I'll never forget. But I will think twice next time I agree to have holidays with the Kirkhams, and also in trusting them that day was riding all downhill! Love you so much for all you have done for the kids xxxx
Day 13 and Mui Ne tomorrow.
Thanks for making a difference this year.