Well it’s my first ride back from doing the Vietnam to Cambodia bike ride for the BHF and OMG it bloody Baltic! compared to doing that. Time for the 3 layers of cycling cloths again.
So it’s my last day in Cambodia and I’m packing my bag for the long flight home. We will be flying from Siem Reap to Singapore then catching a connecting flight back to Heathrow. All in all it’s been a good holiday and bike journey that was well worth doing even with the horrendous flights involved. I also had the opportunity to see Singapore as we had to wait 6 hours to catch our connecting flight back to London. So whilst in Singapore we went on the free tour to the city which shaved a couple of hours of the wait. I’ve taken nearly 400 photographs on this trip which I will be putting on my web site along with all of the Garmin data.
So this is it, the reason I choose this ride, to visit Angkor Wat and man what a place! Breakfast was at 08:30 and then we all meet up in the lobby to take a tok tok (motor cycle pulled carraige) from the hotel to the temple complex. Once there Kim our guide took us around 3 of the temples there, this place has some stunning architecture intertwined with the tree foliage. This place is so large I won’t have time to see everything, it would probably take me a week to go round all of the temples here. It’s another very hot day and I’m sweating like a pig, whilst cycling I had a nice breeze on me to keep me cool, but heat I’m just melting. Some of the temples are up steep stair cases which are hard work in this heat but at least it’s cooler inside the shaded temples. The views from these high temples are just stunning wish I had more time here to see more We then caught the tok tok’s back to the hotel for lunch and then I spent the rest of the day by the pool, chilling until this evening celebration meal.
Tonight meal is our celebration meal which we had outside by the pool under candle and star light. It was a 5 course meal which was very tasty indeed, I then went with the rest of the guys to town to the previous nights pub for a drink before returning to the hotel and sleep.
Today is our last day of the bike ride and it has gone so very quickly for me, and I’m dreading the flight home especially since catching this stupid cold. Again it would be a short day of around 40 miles where we will be finishing by Angkor Wat. We will be taking the coach first to the start of the ride by one of the original stone bridges, most of which have been replaced by modern concrete ones. We then rode the first 45km before stopping for lunch on a pontoon which was again a very nice meal to have. We also missed out the mid day sun over lunch before continuing the last 26km to Angkor. A couple of kilometers from the finished we all stopped to meet up as a group and ride the last 2km to the finish where champagne and medals were waiting for us. Riding this last section through Angkor Wat is very beautiful I’m looking forward to the full tour tomorrow. Well we made it to the end for a drink and group photo before taking a short coach trip to the Empress Angkor Hotel which by my standards is a very posh hotel where we will staying the next 2 days, it even has a pool.
This evenings meal was another great meal but I decided to stay in tonight as I wanted to get a decent night’s sleep (haven’t had a good one since leaving home) and try and make a dent in the stupid cold for tomorrows tour of Angkor Wat. Some people went site seeing and drinking and didn’t return till 05:30, brave people.
Today is the second of the 2 long distance days with this one being the longest at 68 miles. This time lunch is at the half way mark where we will stopping to miss the hottest part of the noon sun. We left at 07:00 and rode out into what felt like the hottest day to me but I think that was because we would be riding the longest time in it. From the Garmin stats I have acquired it wasn’t the hottest day, that was Monday with heat of 41 °C. Even though the ride was split up into 25km sections the sun blazed all day long which meant lots of sun cream for me. Today’s lunch was great we even had pasta! I have so missed that! All in all another good day in the saddle, at least for me, some people were beginning to complain about sore bottoms. When we arrived at the hotel we hit the pub before even going into the hotel which was right next to the river Tonight’s dinner and briefing was in another restaurant outside of the hotel, but it was very hot inside the restaurant, no air conditioning, so I was glad to get back out and back into the pub we first went into after arriving at the hotel. After a quick drink it was back to the hotel for a 06:00 wakeup call for our last day in the saddle.
Today is the first of the 2 big days ride we have doing over 60 miles but thankfully they would be split up into smaller sections where we would be stopping for water and fruit. Unfortunately we would be doing only 30km to the lunch stop and then will be riding through the hottest part of the day again like Monday. Lunch came very quickly but was in a very nice restaurant, then we were on the road again. The rest of the ride was again split into 25km sections where split up as the following. first 10km was a water break, then the next 10km was a water break then the last 5km was a fruit break where we would stop for about 30 mins then continue on. Before we hit today’s hotel which was across the Mekong river we would all be stopping on the bridge over it to take pictures of ourselves and the scenery. Today’s hotel was better than yesterdays one as it had better facilities and hot water, which was much appreciated by the time I got there and was able to take a shower. After doing 65 miles today I still feel great with no sore parts, the years training I had prior to doing this has really paid off I think and having my own equipment with me (bike seat, pedals and bar ends) is certainly helping. After the evenings meal and bike briefing we went for a drink in the pub ready for tomorrows wakeup call at 06:00.
Up at 06:00 this morning for breakfast and on the road by 07:30 for our first full day of cycling doing 48 miles. It wasn’t as hot today as yesterday and at least we would skip the hottest part of the day by having lunch between 12:00 to 13:30 before getting started for the afternoons ride. We would be crossing the Vietnam/Cambodia border today but thankfully that didn’t take too long to do. And by lunch time we were in Cambodia, must admit I prefer the food this side it was a bit more to my liking. The roads here are very long, straight, wide and very flat, absolutely nothing like the roads in Scotland which made some fun riding for me. Unfortunately today’s hotel is very basic, not hot water and basic facilities. Tonight’s dinner was in a restaurant just down the road from the hotel and after the briefing for the next days ride we went to the pub for a drink. Tomorrow is the first big day ride where we would be doing over 60 miles so it was an early night for that.
Today’s bad bit was me catching a cold of all things
This morning’s tunnels tour was very interesting and you got to go through some of the tunnels yourself and see how they were operated and built. Also on site was a live firing range where you could pay to fire an actual gun used during the war, this was fantastic! just wish I had know about it and had brought some money with me. but I was able to see some of the other guys shoot, but Christ these AK47’s are bloody loud! Someone fired whilst I didn’t have any ear protectors on, but it looked like a lot of fun they were having.
Once the tour was over we started our cycling in earnest with today’s distance being 44 miles but this would be starting at mid day in the hottest part of the day. We will be stopping every 10km for a water break and at every 25km for a fruit break, but it was still verrrry hot. This was the only time where I felt the heat affect me in that my heart rate was up in the high 180bpm but I was only doing 11 mph but by around 14:00 it was getting to be a bit more manageable. Near the end of the ride visited a temple where we stopped to take some pictures and go inside for a look around. We then rode the last couple of kilometers to the hotel just as it was getting dark and through some very busy streets. We had a good evening meal and a briefing for tomorrows ride before we went to the nearest pub after for a quick drink before bed.
The only bad part today was one of the guys crashing off his bike and breaking his collar bone. He was taken back to the hospital in Siagon for treatment.
Well after a horrendous 16 hour flight from Heathrow to Saigon I’ve arrived and I have a coach ride to the hotel still to do. It’s a nice hotel and I’ll be bunking with another guy called Sanjay for the rest of the ride. Since leaving London at 08:00 on Saturday and arriving in Vietnam at 12:00 Sunday I’ve had no sleep and I am very tired! But there is still stuff to do like the bike fitting, having lunch and our first bike briefing. After lunch and the bike fitting I chose to stay in the hotel and get a couple of hours of sleep before the dinner tonight. Some of the rest went out to do a bit of site seeing, I think I took the smarter option as it decided to pour it down that afternoon. Saw a lot of tired wet people later on
This evenings dinner was a bit of a surprise for Trix as it was her birthday and the Reps had got her a birthday cake to celebrate with. After dinner everyone went to bed as we would be getting up at 05:30 the next day for a tour of the tunnel complex built by the Vietnamese during the war with America. Once that was over we would start our bike ride to Cambodia.
Ok we will be flying out to Vietnam this Saturday to start our BHF Vietnam to Cambodia charity bike ride. I’d hoped I would be able to blog this in real time but circumstances dictate that I cannot, so i’ll be keeping a paper log as I ride and then when I’m back home i’ll write up the blog. We’re not allowed to take video cameras and even with an ordinary camera I am limited to what I am allowed to take a pictures of.
But I will be allowed to take some pictures so hopefully once i’m back home I’ll upload them to the blog and my web site as well
Last long distance ride before I do the Vietnam to Cambodia charity ride next week, quick lap around the forth.