Pre-ride – 22nd November – Night pre-ride meeting – everyone had late dinner together and we talked about starting off the first day. Great news not revealed until that night was the donation had reached 50,000$ right before we even started any cycling. This is totally beyond our target of 40,000$ this year. The great news took nervousness away from some of us who were new riders of CCA.
First day – 23rd November – Hue> The Nguyen Tomb> Lang Co Beach
Kicking off from 8:45AM, we left Hue city in the pretty cool weather though it was raining few days before. Right after first few kilometers of nice city streets, we were welcomed by rugged narrow roads but super peaceful and beautiful village view in both sides. Green bushes with nice shadow, country people with “Hello”, waved and smiled and made the heat of 32 Celsius degrees “a piece of cake” to many of us. Some moments we forgot we were cycling, as other senses of ours were busy replying “Hello” or giving high-fives to the kids along the road.
Without any expectation, many of us got stuck after an “uphill” sign of SCC on the road. The gear! Yes, we were slow to change the gear. The uphill part turned out to be so long that some of us had to walk with the bike up the hill for a while. Note that the village side view is very picturesque, but the road was very rugged. Then came the downhill part, not so easy but pleasant wind released our painful surprise. After passing a few villages for about 17km cycling, we reached The Nguyen Tomb where everyone got some cool water to refill and some fruit to recharge.
Our bike parking in front of The Nguyen Tomb. How many can you count? (Photo: BP)
Group photo at The Nguyen Tomb
We visited The Nguyen Tomb for an hour, took a group photo under the heat and moved on. Another 43km was waiting for us!!!
Leaving The Nguyen Tomb around 11:00AM, some felt a bit down due to the heat. Some well-prepared riders put on covers to keep them from getting sunburned. More cycling to go! After a long long ride into some other nice villages with cool green trees and pleasant shadow, we reached a highway with all the dust, sunbeams and noise. The tree’s shadow was something we wished for every kilometer we cycled. Our wish finally came through after uphill – downhill – uphill – downhill highway ride under the temperature of 33 Celsius degree. The hottest moment was 39 Celsius degree. Keep in mind that we were riding under this heat for hours… That’s more than tough! Our wish came true finally when we saw SCC turn-right sign to a very magnificent lake with white ducks eating and playing around. We stopped right at the first shadow where 2 ducklings were resting. Having some banana, orange and water, we got excited to move on after knowing that just 3km more to cycle before we could stop for lunch. WOOHOO
We then were enjoying very picturesque view of a village with a green water lagoon in our left hand and a lot of houses in our right hand side. Sometimes we saw some women washing their clothes right on the bank… It was so quiet, peaceful and enjoyable!!! After all the nice scenes, we stopped at the bridge house connecting both sides of the lagoon. The first group was there having lunch, some lay down for a siesta with the cool wind from the lagoon. I noticed an old lady sitting nearby telling fortune to some expats in English with a…Hue accent! Whoever heard her would remember her (smile).
Where we stopped for lunch
Moving on to the final stop, we passed bigger village road with bamboo trees on both sides. Done with 60km of the first day. The bus took us to Lang Co Beach resort to relax after our first challenging day…
Very nice swimming pool as a reward for a long hot cycling day (Photo: BP)
Second day – 24rd November – Lang Co Lake> Hai Van Pass> Da Nang
Starting the second day, we had the most excitement for conquering Hai Van pass. Some were nervous, some were excited. None of us had known whether we could do it, but we all wanted to be “Hai Van Heroes”.
Knowing that 12km up Hai Van pass would be very tough, the route today had been prepared very thoughtfully with first treat of a nice flat ride around Lang Co lake. The 16km was very easy for us as our eyes were entertained by super scenic frame of lake view together with cool wind and white cloud. Couldn’t be more peaceful!
After enjoying every moment of the lake view, we stopped for water refill and moved on. Starting with no flat road, and not any flat road at all. We used to know how tough it is for even a bus or motorbike to climb up Hai Van pass, but conquering Hai Van pass by bicycle is another experience! The heat was pretty high at around 9:30am when we were riding up, and we just wished for a flat road every cycle we made. Wishing every now and then for a flat road, for a shadow. Nothing! In contrast to our great effort to cycle every bit of the way up Hai Van pass was the breath-taking view to the beach. We felt like we were riding in high hell looking to amazing heaven down there. The weather got cooler and colder when we were reaching the top and finishing the pass. It was amazing for those heroes of Hai Van pass when they got cheered up and encouraged greatly by the team coming up earlier.
View from top of Hai Van pass down to the beach. The weather difference by height was amazing! (Photo: BP)
Whole team at the top of Hai Van Pass
The effort we made completely paid off when we rode down Hai Van pass. At the average speed of 63km/h, our hands got tired from keeping the break on during the 4-5km before we stopped for lunch. Nice view from the middle of the pass…
Having lunch in the middle of Hai Van pass
After lunch, we continued riding down the pass at the same speed for another 6km before hitting flat road heading to Da Nang beach. Riding on the highway a bit and we got to ride along the coast. The light blue ocean made us feel so pleasant as a reward for the tough part up Hai Van pass this morning. However, riding along the coast for about 30 minutes and not reached the stop yet, we were wondering whether we were lost… We rode, rode and rode until we met our big bus, we knew how long the coast is and that we just finished the second day.
Third day – 25th November – Da Nang> My Son > Hoi An
After finishing Hai Van pass, we knew the third day would be an easier experience and we would love to finish soon to be home. First 10km out of 26km heading to My Son was village roads and super rugged. “Hellos” and smiles from people and children on the road brought us more energy. The latter 16km to My Son was nice big flat roads with rice fields and big trees in both sides. Blast at time made us enjoy the view and ride even more. Some uphill roads we had to ride before reaching My Son.
Group photo at My Son
Visiting My Son, taking group photo with the ancient background, having lunch with “Mì Quảng”, we started cycling back to highway before reaching another village and getting ferry to Hoi An. The blast sometimes was great, sometimes it made it tougher especially when we were riding in a small road with vast rice fields on both sides and no house was located there. We rode about 2km on this rode with the very strong wind and we felt our legs too heavy to make another cycle…
Finally we got to the ferry where everyone was ready to head off to Hoi An. Our bikes were transported by another ferry and we all enjoyed the wind over the river and looking forward to what waiting for us on the other bank of the river.
Our bikes in the ferry YES (smile)
Hoi An welcomed us with a tranquil ancient town of yellow houses along the river bank… This looked so romantic and lovely like Venice of Vietnam.
Quiet Hoi An ancient town (Photo: BP)
A lot of people were looking at the big team of people and bicycles coming from the ferries. Quiet Hoi An ferry station became noisy by our crowd, and lots of people were curiously asking us questions. Not seeing finish line yet, we all cycled another 3.5km through the ancient town of houses, restaurant with colorful lanterns at 3:30pm to reach the beach where a BBQ party at Jaspas Beach Club, beautiful Hoi An beach was waiting for us…
Seeing the coast line from about 500m away, we were all so excited and rode as fast as we could to pass the red Finish line. Woohoo, WE MADE IT!
180km of challenge, joy, new experience, new friends, amazing views of Vietnam countryside and we all celebrated our success for the donation we have raised by the whole team. We know our effort today would indirectly make a different in some disadvantaged children’s life who were longing for winning the challenge of their life: poverty.
BIG THANK YOU to all our friends whose donation will provide education to children in Vietnam in order to win bigger challenges in their life.