HCMC Dining Guide

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

H2H 2015: Days 4 & 5

After an internet blackout in Tan Ky I'm back with an update from the road. We're now in the dusty town of Pho Chau, sprawled out from either side of the Ho Chi Minh Highway in Ha Tinh Province, one of the poorest in the country. Day four took us from Yen Cat to Tan Ky under cloudy skies - perfect weather for cycling. The scenery was beautiful (shocking, I know), and has transitioned from the dramatic limestone karsts of north Vietnam to the low, lush rolling hills of the north-central region. Rice paddies fan out to the distance, except for when you have to climb over certain hills. We entered Nghe An Province, Ho Chi Minh's birthplace and the largest Vietnamese province by area, on this day.

 The climbing has been really enjoyable though, as oftentimes you are able to carry your downhill momentum into the next uphill and power through it. I'm completely converted to the clipless pedal cause, as my feet are always connected to the bike so I can pull up while climbing in addition to pushing down. It makes for much more efficient riding and allows you to engage your glutes and hamstrings, which hold serious strength.

At lunch we attracted a crowd of curious kids some of whom were pretty friendly, while others kept their distance if you approached. It's always fascinating to see how people react to faces they just aren't used to seeing.

 After 92km we rolled into Tan Ky, a bustling town with a marker noting that it was the starting point of the wartime Ho Chi Minh Trail, which the NVA used to carry supplies down south through the jungle.
 Dave five covered another 92km on the way to Pho Chau, the first stop on the new H2H route that was also on the old route. Once again we headed straight down the stunning Ho Chi Minh Highway, and traffic was the lightest yet. It's so nice to be able to cruise along without having to worry much about trucks or buses overtaking you at insane speeds. This is absolutely the best way to see the country.

I decided to take my foot off the gas a bit and ride in the middle of the pack with a couple of different groups, which allowed me to stop and take in the sights a bit more.

The weather was overcast again, and as I rolled into Pho Chau a light drizzle began. It's been raining off and on all evening - hopefully that won't continue into tomorrow. Amazingly we had been rain-free until today, which is almost unheard of in northern Vietnam. Tomorrow we have a short 52km day, which means we'll get into town early so I can finally get some laundry done. Five days in and 410km ridden and I'm having a great time, although we have plenty of extremely challenging days ahead of us. The team is gelling and we're turning into a well-oiled machine. I can't wait to once again see more of this amazing country as we continue further south. Ride on!

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