Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 5: All's well till.....

Note: Due to lack of internet, and the whole "cycling" thing, all posts are delayed. This post was written by Jen Flynn, co-leader of the cycling challenge with GVN Foundation's Caitie Goddard

Well, we all knew there would be some hills on this bike trek but REALLY??? We drove out from the hotel to bypass some dangerous spots along Hwy 1 and dropped out bikes about 20 km out from our first 'hill'. (we refused to call anything a mountain just for psychological reasons!)  Once our legs were warmed up from the semi flat riding, we approached our first 'hill' - the smaller of the two.
Pep talk time! Guys, this "hill" might be tough...
Hill #1 was a challenge in itself, partly because you don't know how steep or long it is... There are continuous curves that make you think you've just hit the peak, then surprise..... more climbing.  But we all conqured the hill and felt great! Despit the heat, we were ready for our biggest challenge yet - Hill #2.  This hill took every ounce of power and determination.. you know it's steep when you can out pedal a semi truck that is struggling to make it to the top! I think my average speed up this hill was about 7 km/hr... I went through all my Kick Butt Music to make it up - Mostly following Steven and Mr. Khai we finally made it up to the summit! High fives all around... then just moments later - we got to enjoy the massive downhill! I'll admit, I hit the brakes more than once to ensure I'd stay on the road at the turns but it was an awesome downhill.
Bike tour leader and cycling guides get tired too!
 Upon reaching the flats - we were able to see once again the beautiful scenery of Vietnam - the rice fields, old women drying rice (still in the husks) out in the road, the kids biking to school and the water buffalo in the fields. As some of us were resting about 10 km or so after the downhill, we got a call from Caitie about an accident that occurred just up the road. Caitie had been biking alone for a bit and had been hit from behind by a drunk moto driver! By the time we got to her, the police and ambulance had arrived and they were 'marking the scene' with white paint to show where Caitie's bike and the moto lay, the man's body (he wound up being ok after a trip to the hospital), his shoes and Caities 'stuff' that flew from her bike. Thankfully, Caitie was ok - VERY bruised and scraped up but otherwise very lucky.

Miiiiles and miles of rice fields!

This was our only real scary event of the trip - despite losing Joy for about an hour - Hey - if you're gonna have a big day, let's make it a good one huh?? (So said Joy upon reaching the hotel....) Oi troi oi!!

After quick showers and an intro from Mr. Viet the E.D. of GVN Vietnam, it was time to introduce the bikers to the kids!! We arrived at the Tuy Hoa Home of Affection 5pm to about 40 kids who clapped and cheered for all of us. Three kids sang some songs and danced and we saw the results of sponsorship from donors around the world who are paying $300 USD per year to sponsor these kids. Many started their lives in broken homes and wound up out of school and working on the streets as young as 6 yrs old. They did everything from beg for money to collect recycled cans to peddle lottery tickets. Thanks to the sponsors, they are OFF the streets and not only in public schools but also attending night school to catch up on VN subjects and to learn English from GVN Vietnam volunteers. The bikers raised money and some of the funds are going toward school supplies and dinner that is served 3 x per week at this school.
Cyclists at GVN supported Home of Affection
 After the meet n greet, we all 11 bikers, staff and 40 kids - went across the street to the fresh spring roll shop and stuffed ourselves for an hour! Eating with the kids is a treat as they love to make the rolls for their guests and see just how many we can eat! We finished the night on a yacht (bear in mind, this IS Vietnam) drinking beer and vodka, getting to know each other better and celebrating our accomplishments thus far.
Cyclist Natasha at dinner with 2 new friends!


To support the children we are fund-raising for, click here!

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