09 November 2011

Team Flinders Conquers Heavy Rain & Flooding!

We awoke aboard the reunification express to find the water was creeping right up to the tracks! Apparently a cyclone haas whizzed through in the previous days and the aftermath meant that large parts of central Vietnam were submerged. Still, the train pressed on and so did we! It was a quick change at the hotel where we all came dressed to impress in our brilliant cycling jerseys provided by Flinders.

Fitting the bikes was quite an exercise and took the better part of an hour. The BRILLIANT mechanics swapped seats, adjusted handle bars, pumped tires, and set up bike computers until every bit of equipment was just right. From here it was time for a safety briefing on what to expect. If anyone has ever driven, cycled, or walked on the roads of Asia, Latin America, or Africa you know EXACTLY what we were meant to expect: utter chaos, everyone violating every road rule, merging farm animals, and a complete disregard for traffic signals. It's all part of the adventure!

We set off in a break from the rain and it took only 3 kilometers for Kevin to take the award for "first stack." It was a brilliant one as well. He went right over the handle bars up on the sidewalk. Thankfully, he had only one small injury. We quickly patched it up and cycled on. It was a solid 2 more kilometers until the second stack of the day. This one belonged to Nick, who also thought it pertinent to fly clear over his handlebars. Again, injuries were minor and we were back on our saddles within minutes.

Today we explored a thousand-year-old Buddhist temple, a thousand-year-old imperial palace, and some of the most spectacular countryside one could imagine. We criss-crossed through rice paddies, cemeteries, and small villages, 37 jersey-clad Aussies ready to bring their all for Flinders. It didn't take long for the adrenaline to start pumping and the energy levels to shoot sky high. There is something simply magical about cycling through the back roads of the Vietnamese jungle in the pouring rain. It's just out of this world.

Early to bed as we have 80 kilometers tomorrow, including a 10km section that is entirely uphill. Wish us luck!

Today's Totals: 32 kilometers cycled, 5 stacks.


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