Saturday, April 27, 2013

H2H 2013 Day 19: Headwinds are evil

It was a beautiful dawn at the Thien An orphanage outside of Pleiku, and I took the chance to wander around for some pictures.




the football pitch that is being built
Eventually more riders joined me, and at one point we took part in a morning stretching class, which greatly amused everyone involved. Afterwards we enjoyed an amazing breakfast of bread baked fresh on the grounds, fruit, and cheese and cold cuts brought up from Saigon. After weeks of little more than pho and banh mi op la for breakfast this was a welcome treat, and we stuffed ourselves.

After a few group pictures we set off on our 115km ride to Ea Drang, a small town down the Ho Chi Minh Highway. Fortunately the major road construction from the previous day wasn't an issue, and we cruised through the first 60km fairly easily. After lunch, however, things got more difficult. It was a brutally hot day, though that didn't affect me as much as it did some of the others. What really slowed everyone down was the wicked headwind that kicked up with 25km to go. Normally I can cover that distance in an hour, but I was crawling, and I was getting frustrated. With 5km to go I stopped at a shady drink stall and downed a gigantic coconut, which really gave me a boost for the last stretch. I rolled into town alone and found our guest house. As other riders arrived the verdict was that this had been one of the toughest days, simply thanks to the heat and wind of the last quarter of the ride. We were all exhausted, and this was a perfect illustration of how one or two factors can completely change the complexion (both physically and mentally) of a day. Luckily the following day would bring us to Buon Me Thuot, where we were set to have our second (and much needed) rest day.

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