A tough day, I went cold turkey from energy gels and chews and felt like I was wearing lead boots and cycling through quicksand all day. It was tough, but the training is paying off, and brilliant messages from Harrison and Will this morning kept me going throughout the day. Tomorrow I'm back on the gels and chews and have already booked myself into the Priory on my return.
I've been going at a good pace and unfortunately our Guide couldn't do the ride today, and with Aji back in Saigon and Mike and Jon yet to join I was on my own with plenty of time in deep thought. As I rode along in my lead boots I felt like Forrest Gump running through the country, and I thought of his quote 'life is like a box of chocolates' , I thought about the children we are trying to help and it struck me that these children don't yet have good and bad chocolates, and what we are trying to do together is put chocolate back in their box of life. With a nod to the recently deceased Gene Wilder I thought about the magical childhood movie Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory, and considered that is what we are doing...
The scenery today was beautiful... I rode through tea plantations, rice paddies and corn fields in a fair amount of discomfort...my bottom has unfortunately not gone numb and the pain is unique! As I finished riding past a tea plantation I saw a couple of wild dogs sprinting at me with their teeth out, irrespective of the fact I haven't had a rabies shot I was off the seat of the saddle (which actually felt great) and was able to sprint away from them, I sat back in the saddle to more pain and carried on up the road, in front of me was yet another hill to climb, deep inside my head I groaned and started to climb slowly, then out of the corner of my right eye I saw something moving very fast towards me, two more wild dogs, this time bigger, faster and again teeth out, I tried to sprint away but couldn't as I was climbing a hill, they were onto me, the fastest one moved to the side of me with his teeth out ready to bite my leg, knowing I couldn't get out run him I steered my bike towards him to scare him but it only fired him up, with more aggression and teeth out he ran at me, with adrenaline pumping I un clipped my right lead boot ready to show this angry little critter that today is not a good day to do this, and with all the power I could muster I swung my foot at his huge angry teeth, he ducked, rolled and thankfully stopped. I carried on out of my saddle for the next 5 kms!
By chance where we stopped for the day was a little village, the people and children of this village come out to see what was going on. Ronnie wanted to give the local children the sweets he had bought earlier in the day so we went over to say hello, as soon as we got there I think the local villagers had Ronnie mistaken for Tom Jones, he was literally mauled by all the women, they were over him!! I had to prize him away and as we left in the van he was muttering how nice the village looked and perhaps he could spend longer in Vietnam..
Whilst we were with the people from the village we explained why we are doing and why, and having taken the learnings that sign language and speaking English very slowly does enable effective communication in a foreign country we used our tour guide to explain what we are doing. Everyone who came out thanked you, the people who are donating to help people like them in real need of help, for me they told me to get back onto the bike and get it done!!
Day 6 and Hue tomorrow.
Thanks for helping to put the chocolate back in.
Everywhere we go we tell our story, these men thanked us for helping their people.