Cycling Day 80 – Ea Drang to Buon Ma Thuot
Feeling pretty good about yesterday’s long ride, we were ready for another good session today to Buon Ma Thout about 80km to the south. We had a bit of a delay in the morning as I played around with the GoPro mounting on the front of my bike. The inconsistent road surface has been playing havoc with the little extension arms that lift the camera over the handlebars, with almost all of them cracked by now. I’ve taken them off so there’s a bit more of the bike blocking the way in the timelapse video but it should also be a little more stable as well.
After another beef pho for breakfast, we rolled downhill out of town and then began a fairly consistent ascent for about 10km. One interesting milestone we reached today was that we have now climbed the equivalent of Mt Everest five times since leaving Whistler in July, with a total ascent of 44.5 km so far according to the altimeter on the GPS. If I’d known that was going to be the case before I left, I might have reconsidered!
As we were riding on boxing day, it felt natural to be checking the cricket score for most of the day. England’s batsmen, however, were doing their best impression of us going up a 15% hill and going as slowly as I’ve seen any batting team for a long time. From about lunchtime I lost interest completely. We had lunch in Buon Ho – in the search for the perfect place we actually cycled past the middle of town and ended up having to get yet another beef pho – I think when we leave Vietnam I’m going to be able to go without eating a pho for at least five years.
The road quality for the most part was very poor again today – riding consists of keeping an eagle eye out for any path through the potholes that will allow you to avoid a bone jarring crunch through the handlebars. This is made much worse when you are going downhill at speed – the bell on my bike acts as a warning system by ringing over every bump if I’m going too fast. Thankfully after about 55km the road completely smoothed out and was slightly downhill almost all the way into Buon Ma Thuot (as far as I can tell it is pronounced “boon ma tote”). It’s amazing how much difference the road surface makes – our average speed over this section was more than double that when we were going over the rough stuff.
We have another rest day tomorrow as we have realised that there isn’t really anywhere to stay between two of our planned big days, leaving us with an impending day of doom on Sunday where we get up early and try to do both days in one. This is followed by the big climb to Dalat on Monday, where we will stop for New Year’s Eve. We’re down to only seven planned days of cycling left now until we hit Ho Chi Minh City, but with an average of 86.5 km they will definitely be tough. We’ve actually extended the distance somewhat as we’ve picked up some extra days on the way so instead of heading directly to Ho Chi Minh city from Dalat, we’re going to go out to the coast and the seaside resort of Mui Ne for a few days before heading back across to the west.
I’ve had some big issues with the video editing software we’ve bought so there will be no more time lapse videos until we I’m back in Australia and have time to sort it out.