It was yet another Brilliant day for cycling as team Flinders took the road on the last of our 6 cycling days. Today's distance was 91 kilometers, which would put our cumulative achievement at 415 kilometers! Today's theme was open-ended, allowing each individual to reflect on what had driven them to take on a challenge like this for a charity like Flinders. While that reflection became quite emotional, it was clear that the group appreciated the opportunity to collectively think about what this serious adventure was really for. For a few brief moments - a few short days in rural Vietnam - you can feel like you are not alone in this, and that can actually do something to help.
We flew through the first 50 kilometers! It wasn't easy but with so many Ks behind us, we were now fairly seasoned cyclists; a whole army of little Lances in training, Louise and Thelma said! Lunch was the usual scrambled eggs, tomato, cucumber, cheese, and peanut butter on fresh baguette (don't knock it until you've tried it) and from there we transferred by bus to the top of a hill to begin our last cycle of the entire trip.
The first 11 kilometers were some of the steepest we have cycled and it felt good to have the wind swirling by! At one point Juliette registered 57km/hr on her bike computer. WOOHOO! As we descended into the coastal valley region of Nha Trang you could feel the heat and humidity descending with us. It was like a big sticky hot hug. After a quick water break we began the final stretch and my goodness, was it tough. A nearly constant incline of 2 or 3 degrees, the grueling accent was paired with the hottest temperatures we had experienced to make sure that we would have to work for every last kilometer.
We stopped one kilometer before the finish line to regroup and ride in as a team. There is no way any of us could have done it without the love and support of not only our family and friends at home but, after 8 intense days together, the love and support of our amazing, incredible, inspiring team. Passing that finish line brought cheers, tears, and everything in between. It was a beautiful feeling that will bind these 37 people forever.
Special shout outs today go to two incredible people who cycled through some serious pain to finish with the team. Thelma blew out her knee around 20 kilometers into the day and pushed through (albeit with lots of pain) to bring it home. Nick was fighting what we thought was gastro then thought was an appendicitis but turned out to be an intestinal infection to bring it home for the team as well! In addition, Rachel, Robyn, and Sue led us across the finish line - a fitting moment for our three hardest workers. While it may seem like a holiday going away to Asia, Inspired Adventures are a whole lot more. 415 kilometers cycled, hundreds of thousands of dollars raised, and lives genuinely changed.
With the cycling behind us, we celebrated with a massive Vietnamese barbecue, cocktails, and a dance party. The group thanked our absolutely incredible crew and showed some love for Juliette, who was there every step of the way to support the team from Flinders. From here, it's onward to Saigon to visit the Cu Chi tunnels and Long Tan.
For real, GO TEAM!