HCMC Dining Guide

Friday, April 5, 2013

H2H 2013 Day 2: Conquering 'The Hill'

Morning on day two was muggy and overcast. We stretched at a football stadium and prepared for the day's vaunted hill, which is the most difficult climb until after Hue. This short but quite steep hill is the bane of every first time H2H'ers existence, and people were nervous. I wasn't even able to make it up the hill last year, as I got two flat tires on it and ended up throwing my bike in the rear support van.
This time I had no such problems. The leg strength I've maintained since H2H 2012 showed, and my bike was fine. I made sure everyone started the hill and then got into the zone, eventually passing almost everyone by the time I reached the top. I was hot, but I felt good. (Though I could've done without the honking trucks and buses.) Everyone else seemed relieved to have that over with. Here's a shot of a few of us at the top:

After a couple km's of flat riding we hit the steep downhill at the opposite side of the hill, and were soon blasting through the countryside towards Vu Ban. The scenery was awesome, and the smooth, undulating roads made for great riding.

lunch stop
By lunchtime the sun had burned through the clouds and the heat was blazing. We were in good spirits though, with pretty rice paddies to look at and curious locals to interact with.

The second biggest problem with day 2, after the hill, is that the last 15km or so into Vu Ban are unpaved. On road bikes the going is brutal, though at least everything wasn't covered in thick mud like last year. I threaded my way between the larger rocks and potholes and slowly made my way into town.

Vu Ban is easily the shittiest town we stop in during H2H. There isn't anything of note worth mentioning, there are no streetlights, and the power went out for a few hours after we arrived. We weren't even sure we would be able to eat dinner. In the end we managed to have a pretty solid meal, though our 'hotel' had no air conditioning and barely functioning bathrooms. But, these are the types of experiences we sign up for.

Don't forget to donate to H2H today! All donations go towards a great charity: https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/michaeltatarski/h2h-charity-bike-ride-2013

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