After a very laid back night in our very beige hotel, it was an early start for this group of 37 ragtag Aussies, as there were 100 kilometers of tarmac to cover before nightfall! Today's theme was "Doing it for the team" and everyone definitely brought their A-game.
The morning cycle was 56 kilometers through what the guides have been describing as "undulating" terrain (read: steep uphills and tiny little downhills) that once again stretched through terraced rice paddies, villages, and, for the first time, jungle. Every single person did a fantastic job conquering every last kilometer. Jacinta (Jax) stayed right up front, showing the boys a thing or two every time we hit an uphill. Juliette tried strapping her video camera to her handle bars and had great success, which means some very lucky people will get to sit through several hours of footage! Symon and Shane stuck together, really looking out for each other. Yo-Yo had the one-liner of the day. She zoomed past me on a fairly serious incline, turned her head to look back, looked right in my eyes and said "eat my dust" then growled. She is one of our oldest participants.
We had another massive lunch of egg and tomato sandwiches, laughing cow cheese, peanut butter, and sugary drinks before a 2-hour bus journey to the starting point of our afternoon 52 kilometer cycle. You know, just a leisurely cruise through the countryside! Thankfully, the first 12 kilometers were almost entirely downhill, which offered some sweet relief to tired legs and bums. The real challenge came in the last 20 kilometers, which was make-or-break for everyone. Having come this far, no one gave up and all of us eeked out every last kilometer, with many of us finishing in the darkness of nighttime.
I can't quite describe the feeling of seeing 37 people complete what was for many, the challenge of a lifetime. There are several cancer survivors on our trip. They are people like Beatrice (above) who were in chemotherapy just 12 months ago and now they are cycling half-way across Vietnam. If that doesn't move you, inspire you, and encourage you to accomplish anything, I don't know what will! Of course, that's what these Inspired Adventures at all about. Early to bed tonight as we are up at 6am again tomorrow to visit an orphanage before putting another 45 kilometers behind us. Go team!
Finally, the shout-out of the day goes to Sarah, who came out of what she thought was the toilet at lunch saying it was "the smallest toilet she had ever seen." Turns out it was the shower and that "tiny toilet" was the drain. Oops!