On one hand, we’ve not yet had a day without a “hard work” factor of some sort or another, but I’d rather that it worked out like this than have all the adverse factors stacked into one day. Yes, today was very hot with little shade but it was predominantly flat. Just a couple of short, sharp hills with spectacular scenery to start the day then we had a pretty free run from 25km to 85km.
I can’t imagine how we would have ended yesterday’s repeated climbs with today’s heat. So, in the round, I wouldn’t change too much.
Today was best described as jungle and beach. All very rural again and no main roads at all. That doesn’t mean that we were dirt-tracking it, much of the roads we were riding today we’re brand new and while the surface was a delight, the smell of the bitumen in the heat caught the back of the throat.
My chest infection started in he day again with a series of coughing fits, but less than yesterday so I’m crossing my fingers that we’ve gone through the worst. Siubhan’s ankle though was painful for her for a lot of the day and she had a few grumpy moments
Siubhan also suffers much more than I do in the heat and needs more frequent breaks. I would have guessed that our relative physiology would have meant that I suffer more as I have less surface area for a given mass. Those first hills killed Siubhan and she’s usually well ahead of me.
This is the 14th day since leaving Pattaya (11 cycling, 3 rest) and it’s a repeated pattern that as we pass a remote house we can tell the exact point that the kids spot us and there’s a lot of noise, then all the family join in with various welcomes. It’s been noticeable now for 3 days or so that “Hello” has replaced the more Thai “Sawadee-ka(p)”. As we were riding and chatting today we were reflecting that we cannot remember either a word, gesture or action of unkindness over the last 14 days. That’s telling.
Despite the fantastic scenery, Thailand is far from being an idyll and I’ll write a good, bad & ugly blog when I get back, but the welcome, hospitality and good humour that we have received is difficult to describe adequately.
So we hit 1000km today. We talked about it as an aspiration before we left but we really didn’t know how we’d cope with the weather. We thought that we might manage an average of 50km a day, laden in the heat, but we’ve done a daily average of almost exactly 75km. We’re both pretty pleased with that, but we wouldn’t really want to be pushing the average up. The 4:1 ratio of cycling:rest also seems to have worked well so far but our current level of fatigue is suggesting that the next rest should be several days, not one.
That’s quite fortunate then because we have a target in sight that’s still at least 2 days ride away; every time I say something like that I find myself slipping into a Robert Mitchum impression.
Tonight is a real contrast and we are in a resort called Boryhee. There’s not too many options around here and we wanted something at about this distance. It’s a quirky collection of buildings and our room has no hot water, no flushing toilet and no bedding! I’m glad we brought sleeping bags. But it’s air-conditioned, has a CRT TV from 1982 and it’s clean enough. At 500THB (£11) it was always going to be “rustic” but I’m struggling to see what the target market would be.
It probably goes without saying that there’s been not a white face to be seen since breakfast and we’re certainly not expecting to see any around here. The restaurant I’m typing this in is nothing more than a small kitchen on the beach surrounded by a few tables – I think I’m sitting on a kindergarten school stool!
But, once again we’re surrounded by laughter, the Thais make as much noise as the Spanish! And the matriarchal figure in the tabard worked with our Thinglish until we think we know what we’ve ordered. It’s started well, the beer has arrived
Journey So Far
- 833 km
- 11 Cycling Days
- 2 Rest Days
- Average Distance per riding day – 75.72 km