11 hrs + 5 punctures = 108 tough miles

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Hotel Extra

Flag of Thailand  ,
Monday, April 4, 2011

When the alarm went off at 6.45 am I dragged myself out of bed thinking, ok we've got to cycle 104 miles and I’m already exhausted, but at least I’m not off to work. (I do love my job, but I also really love not having to go.) The day began amazingly when we checked Facebook whilst munching our eggs and bacon and discovered that Tommy Godfrey is coming out to see us on the 9th!!! Unbelievable. He suddenly got some time off and booked a flight in and out of Kuala Lumpar. If our plans come together we will meet him in Penang and travel back to KL together. (Tommy in a hire car/moped – details as yet to be decided) VERY exciting though and meant we set off even more determined to do the 100 or so miles today and so make sure we get to Phuket on Tuesday.

Some very friendly kittens got involved with the bikes before we left and seemed quite keen to accompany us to Takua Pa. They were the first of several cute animals which made friends with us today.

After a mile I started winging that my flat tyre was slowing me down again and we stopped to get air. The first guy used the wrong pump and totally deflated it, scaring us. His friend swiftly stepped in and sorted the situation however and we set off determined to stick to 12mph. An insanely sweet puppy slowed us down as he ran out needing some cuddles. The scenery today was again sensational. It felt like we were cycling through an incredibly exclusive rural area and some of the houses were stunning, surrounded by jungle and mountains.

Two more punctures to my back tyre and we were finding things less amusing however and getting stressed about the time running out, and the fact that we weren’t getting any breaks as they were all spent fixing punctures. We desperately tried to find a bike shop and get more inner tubes, but unlike other Asian countries people here drive and bike shops are few and far between.

At 50 miles I was once again lagging behind Mikey and struggling and realised the tyre was FLAT for the 3rd time!!!! We were only 2km out of a town so I tried to ride it for a bit, and when it was clear I was destroying the rim I ran with the bike- not fun in the heat, but actually I just really wanted to be off the saddle at that point. Mikey pointed me towards a garage and cycled off to see if he could find a bike shop. No shop available and so we spent 1hr outside the 7-11using up all our last patches fixing tubes and trying to work out what was causing the punctures. It’s definitely on the inside of the rim, but we can’t feel/see anything. Ready to set off we had further set backs when the tyre punctured twice more – once due to a shoddily applied patch (PG responsible) and then just as we changed it the valve blew pumping up the new one!!!!! That made 5 punctures in less than 2 hrs. It also meant that it was 3pm and we had 3 ˝ hrs to do 50 miles before dark – aaaaahhhhh!

The day had been ridiculously hot and the hills were really taking it out of us. The American Jim had emailed us the previous night with this cool Google maps thing he does where he gets them to produce a profile of your route and so you can see where the hills will be – knowing when something was coming up means you can plan your breaks around it. We stopped at 76 miles in Khura Buri and had an iced coffee in the 7-11 and saw the rooms above it that our helpful host from the previous night had told us about. We decided to keep going and try to make it to Takeo Pa, especially know we knew that the accommodation she had mentioned would likely be there. This stop at the 7-11 was the first where we had actually been able to sit and rest rather than mend the bikes. We spent it eating kit-kat chunkys and watching a big fat monk enthusiastically smoking a cigarette. Surely there is no reason for someone who lives a life of spiritual contemplation to need the relaxing properties of a cigarette?  We’ve also seen a whole bus load of then getting dropped off at a holiday resort! Why would you need a holiday if you spend your life meditating? Crazy – maybe he was a fake monk like those we were warned about in Bangkok.

Anyway the last 32 miles were pretty punishing big hills amongst the constant dips took the last our our energy. At 85 miles we saw the most gorgeous jungle lodge perched on the top of hill, over looking a valley. We REALLY wanted to stop and stay there, but it would have meant 110 miles the next day which seemed unrealistic. Having passed that by we were more determined to keep going and make the next day as easy as possible. The sun started to set at about 6 and we cycled for half an hour gazing at an enormous orange ball of fire fronted by silhouetted palm trees. When it got dark, the hard shoulder kept us pretty safe and there were street lights once we hit Takeo Pa. We found 'Friendly Resort’ on the outskirts of town, but it seemed very seedy so we kept going looking for the Esso garage behind which we had been told there was a hotel.

The Extra hotel was pretty grim, but at 7.15 after 11 hrs in the saddle, cycling 108 miles we didn’t care. A cold shower was perfect and we headed straight out for some very much needed food. A street café served us lemon shakes and delicious beef and rice although once again – too small portions! Luckily they also served banana pancakes smothered in condensed milk which filled us up. I was falling asleep over my meal again and sitting on a stone bench was not cool after all that time in the saddle. Had thought we were immune to chaffing after 7 months, but after today it has raged out of control! VERY SORE BOTTOMS.

Back in the room, we watched more Prime Suspect  - on series 5 now and tried to psych ourselves up for 84 more miles in the morning! Hmmm…

Miles cycled: 108 Record-breaking, bottom-chaffing miles
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triciagick on

Amazing stuff you two - 108 bottom scorching miles - sore just thinking about it! X

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