As the last of our massive group of 37 reached the summit of the Hai Van Pass, the entire team breathed a collective sigh of relief while simultaneously cheering our incredible effort. My goodness was it an intense day, but we made it through and we did it all for Flinders!!!
We were cycling away by 7:30am, with 50km to go before lunch and the 10km, 12% incline, unrelenting, unforgiving, nothing but up Hai Van Pass. The first 40km whizzed by, as we cycled through luscious rice fields, rural farms, and small villages that were dotted with a see of children screaming "HELLO. WHAT IS YOUR NAME?" as we passed. Once again most folks started plotting as to how they could sneak an adorable Vietnamese kid home in their suitcase.
The last 10km was, as the guides described it, "quite undulating." it was god practice for our afternoon ascent, as was the onslaught of rain that joined us on our final portion of the journey! Boy did it feel good to hop on that bus, escape the rain, and head to lunch! We munched on delicious seafood spring rolls and noodles while watching the waves lap against the Vietnamese coast before saddling back up at the base of Hai Van Pass and churning up, up, up, up deep into the clouds, the cold, and the stunning views that such elevation offers.
It took nearly an hour for the first of the group to finish and nearly everyone else followed in due time, far exceeding any and all expectations that had for their own abilities. Louise was doing in memory of her mother Marjorie. Briony was doing it for her sister. 12 months ago Beatrice was in alternating rounds of chemo and radiation. Today, she cycled up one of the most intense routes in Asia. Take that cancer!!! Everyone is here for a veery important reason and that positive energy is definitely propelling us forward.
Our theme today was "doing it for Flinders" and the team certainly brought their A-game! We finished in Hoi An, checked into our hotel, and hot the town to celebrate a successful day. Tomorrow promises to be another killer, with 70km ahead of us. For now, it's food, drink, and laughter!
P.S. Thelma and Louise (below) said I could be there Brad Pitt! Score!