Coming out of the rest day in Buon Me Thuot I was nervous. Even though the leg from BMT to Lien Son was one of the easiest of the route - just 52km with practically no climbing - I had never made it past this point. In both 2012 and 2013 my quads seized up and ended up badly strained just a few kilometers out of BMT, forcing me to sit out the final five riding days in our rear support van. I had been baffled - I was in great shape and had felt fine right up until that point, and a visit to a sports doctor in the U.S. last year didn't give me any more insight into what had happened.
It was clear, however, that the rest days were causing some sort of problem. I had gone for a short ride during our second rest day in Kham Duc and was fine the next day, and I was hoping my warm-up ride on the BMT rest day would do the same trick. Before we set off in the morning I came up with some mental distractions to calm my nerves: I fired up 'Sam's Town' by The Killers, an album I know most of the words to, so that I could sing and keep my mind off the injury past. I also decided that I wouldn't look at any of the distance markers, since I knew that otherwise I'd be counting down the kilometers to the point where I had come up lame before.
We headed out of town and I maintained a steady pace, not too fast and not too slow. I was feeling fine, and eventually I noticed that I was riding farther than I had on the previous rides. We stopped for drinks about halfway, but I didn't want to stop moving for long so I carried on by myself. I began looking at the distance markers, and Lien Son was approaching fast. I still felt fine, and the riding was sublime, my legs dispatching the road with ease.