HCMC Dining Guide

Monday, May 4, 2015

H2H 2015 Day 23: My Own Private Waterloo

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.
I entered the broad valley in which Lien Son sits, and the elation grew. Alt-J's 'This Is All Yours' was a perfect album for this stretch, the atmospheric modern rock soaring as I blasted along the silky smooth highway cut through fallow rice paddies stretching to the hills on either side.

I knew there was no stopping me know, and I cruised into Lien Son on a high, having finally accomplished something I had been waiting for since 2012. After such a short ride I felt like I could've easily done another 50km, but that was it for the day, and it wasn't even 11am. I waited at the hotel for the rest of the team to arrive, and I appreciated their words of encouragement and congratulations. This unfinished business had been gnawing at me for years, and I had finally taken care of it. With 400km to go to Saigon I knew I had this in the bag - full steam ahead with 100% confidence.

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