Monday, 17 December 2012

vietnam day one: Ho Chi Min to Can Tho

After last night's chaos whereby our team was initially refused entry, some kind of confusion between the nomenclature which means that regional teams can compete with a mixture of different nationalities but other teams cannot. Fortunatley the issue was resolved thanks to a friendly commisaire and our friends at Agile. This morning we woke up at 5, recieved the good news that we could race and commenced boiling water to drink on the road. Having breakfasted on Congee and baguettes we met with our driver, Mr Minh. Between our team he have 5 languages sadly mr minh contributed two more and none of them were shared. However his enthusiasm and friendly attitude made up for the gaps in vocabulary. He's also now capable of using glucaon.

After our breakfast and an hour spent perfecting the aincient art of sitting around a hotel lobby in lycra drinking coffee we saddled up and rode to the start where we drank more coffee and looked for shade. The race took shape around us, seriously 100 motorbikes seemed to arrive and revved their engines in sync. most impressive was a tricycle with a crotchrocket motorcycle on the front, two wheels on the back and a blue tiger pinted on the side. after an hour of posturing, swopping race foods and looking for ice we lined up,i  looked down the lens of a TV camera for an uncomfortably long time, something exploeded and we were off.

Today was pretty nasty, the heat was opressive, 95 degrees at the start. after 10k neutral and having insisited we were going to take it easy, the flag dropped and i found myself out of the saddle and out of breath, we turned left hopped over a bump and dodged flying bike parts, bottles and in one case an airborne body. the heat beat down and the attacks continued, we were moving fast and it was hot. feedign was difficult with a large caravan and large potholes. and i was getting carried away at the front. i think i underdid the basal, about 60% of normal but i always go high in the heat. i had about 180g carbs for 180km which isn't enough but i was high. live and learn i suppose.

soon enough my head was feeling as if something was trying to hatch from it,  I was holding down my own vomit and i couldnt get out of the saddle without cramping. I slipped to the back to try and get some insulin out of the car but with our vehicle in 21st place in the caravan i worked out that i would never make it back. By the time i got back into a group the race was split up, in the third group those allergic to the wind had gathered and commenced sitting on. Myself and a teammate commenced doing the majority of the work and recieving grief whenever we stopped doing so, i spent far too long riding on my invisible aerobars and chasing down the occasional attack from team gheghis kahn (i'm not joking, they also have team atilla).

crossing the line i fell of my bike completely worked, my beard tasted of salt and my clothes were crusted with my own sweat. i was cramping in muscles i've never cramped in before; my intercostals, my forearms, my forehead. minutes later i had my head in a bucket and my body was doing the sensible thing when overheated and dehydrated, it was expelling the water it had left. Smart.

we've made it back to the hotel now, we're sitting on our beds sharing stories, cleaning shorts, eating sweet buns and shrimp flavoured peas, drinking iced coffee with condensed milk. we're sharing stories from the race and talking about things that aren't bike racing; our univerisites, our favourite music and our favourite other sports.

last night i overdid the spicy food, and my stomach wasnt happy today so i might back of the chilli and feremented fish products tonight, the race organizer kindly waters down the beer so i might have one of those. I'd love to explore canh to but my legs are less than excited about the prospect.

Hasta manana

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