Distance covered: 106km
Headwind: not on the hills dammit
Temperature: 52.6 degrees! HOTTEST LEG YET!
Number of falls in the group: 5
Number of cusswords I heard on the road: approximately 110
Number of photos taken at the dam: something akin to a high school photo day
Number of fried chicken legs consumed: Unknown. I only had one myself but at least two giant trays ‘disappeared’
Just a wee blog today. Why will make more sense later.
Without doubt today was the most scenic of the tour despite us leaving the coastline and heading inland. It was also another day of rolling hills and short difficult climbs.
Oddly enough while a lot of riders found this day extremely difficult I was ok for some reason. The penultimate leg was certainly hot and I once again had to stop to purchase more water at a shop, but I found the beautiful mountains, jungles and rubber plantations so distracting I finished the legs without noticing much discomfort.
Special kudos to the amazing Jen who shepherded the struggling like a master mother hen, ensuring they were safe and well hydrated.
We had an incredible start to the day when, only 10 kms in, we stopped at a school. There the incredible Gae addressed them in Thai and explained what we were doing. We were mobbed by these kids and we handed out little sticky hand toys but not before we sang Waltzing Matilda and Darryl and Michael performed an impromptu haka (which made the kids laugh incidentally).
The kids were incredibly excited and we left probably more pumped up than we had been earlier.
For our second leg we had a short, sharp climb to a lovely dam and some photos. And what goes up must come down so it was a fun ride down from the dam before we returned to rolling hills and the hard slog.
Probably the biggest surprise of the day was lunch where, in addition to traditional asian dishes, we were also offered fried chicken.
Most of the action today was off the road. A visit to some beautiful caves offered an opportunity for peaceful reflection as well as a chance to catch the breath once more.
But the biggest event occurred once we reached our stunning resort in Khao Sok. If we thought the scenery had been great throughout the day we were stunned into silence by this incredible collection of cabins sitting in the shadow of awe-inspiring peaks.
With the exception of Peter, we rushed to our huts to change for a pool party. I single out Pete because he simply sank into the pool in his full cycling kit.
A few people expressed concern at the hygienic nature of this decision but that paled into comparison when, much later at the fines session over dinner, he fined himself for um… relieving himself in the pool. As did young Ashleigh.
But as horrifying as that was to many of us at least they had the good grace to admit and pay for it: there were quite a number of others who would later admit in hushed tones that they too put the urine in communal.
What’s that you say? Urine isn’t in the word communal? You’re right – and I wish some other people had noticed that…
But before we’d realised what had been unleashed on us we did enjoy a great pool party. We knew we only had half a day of cycling to come the following day and an array of emotions were starting to come to the fore. Excited at the prospect of finishing and sad at the prospect of our companionship soon being over. This manifested in boisterous bombs, animated conversations, heartfelt hugs and lots of laughter. Maybe a bit of booze as well.
It was Bernadette’s birthday today (a lovely ’28’) and to celebrate we not only sang the obligatory birthday song but Darryl and I performed a piece from Les Mis (the ABC cafe) as a duet for her. It was seemingly well received by the group and Bernadette appeared very touched. So much so that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that – in the musical – nearly everyone in that scene died the next day.
But not Darryl (aka Marius) and that’s all that matters. Mr Music lives on to entertain us another day.