Day 7: Kamphaeng Phet to Nathon Sawan 145km

We had a long day of cycling ahead of us, initially the guides thought it would be approximately 130km, but due to the change of route it ended up being 145km. The city Nathon Sawan had been hit by the floods in October and November pretty badly, which meant to original hotel we were booked in for had changed to a new hotel called Bonintas Chinos.

The day started riding slowly at 7:30am. We had a fairly uneventful ride until we hit an area that was smokey due burning of the sugar cane fields. The roads were wet, the one stretch of road had what looked like oil and water in the shoulder area. The guides suggested we move out of the section, just as they said this Svenning slipped and went down hard in front of me. I knew I was going to fall, now it was a matter of how to deal with the crash. I couldn’t brake hard because I would slide, he was right in front of me, so I rode into him and on impact I unclipped pedals, let go of handle bars and prepared myself for the inevitable tar I was about to hit.

Svenning and I were a little shaken up, he cut open his face badly with his glasses and grazed himself. I was just slightly bruised. Svenning is one tough man, he got cleaned up and they put him in the car for another 20min until we stopped for some snacks and drinks, then he requested to get back on the bike as the bus was boring he said.

Back on the road. We were riding painfully slowly, but considering we had just had an accident going fast was not an option. The area we were riding through was not very pretty, mainly due to the burning of sugar cane fields. There was smoke, dust, sugar cane trucks and generally kak surroundings. I really hoped things would change, I figured they would.

We had a couple of stops for snacks and drinks. At 100km we stopped at the monkey mountain where there were loads of monkeys. This was our lunch spot. While we waited for lunch we tools some photos of the monkeys feeding on rice that had been put out for them. Pretty funny shit, I watching this one male scratch his huge red balls much like I scratch my balls. hahahahahah….

After lunch there was about 5-10km of road with a few turn offs before we could open up speed and really start riding. When we moved slowly my arms and arse hurt, but when we moved at decent pace it didn’t hurt. My legs were feeling great! Anyways, we eventually got to an open road with loads of potholes. We started opening up the speed, but 10km in we got two snake bite punctures caused by hitting potholes. Mr Tee quickly fixed the punctures and we were back at it. I time trailed to catch the others in front, then when we caught them we stopped for snacks and drinks again, oh well, was fun to finally push hard.

After a quick pit stop we got on the way for the last 20+ km. Mr Tee, Svenning and I worked to get her to push the speed up, we were doing about 35-45km per hour on the flats. nice pace and that meant the km’s flew past. We arrived at our hotel around 5pm. Long day in the saddle!

We checked in, went up to our respective rooms and the first thing I did was have a shower. Have gotto say that the shower and bathroom was one of the best I have ever experience. The shower is definitely the best shower I have ever had in my life, two shower heads with different options. WOW!

I did some blogging, but happy hour was calling and dinner after that. Such a good day!

Advertisements

Day 3: Lampang to Uttaradit 145km

This day was dubbed the hardest day of the tour. We had to complete 145km and 4 big climbs. Most of the cyclists were feeling anxious about the long day ahead, but I was ready for it.

We left Lampang at approximately 7:45am. Shortly after leaving the town of Lampang stopped off at a ceramics factory to look at some of their wares. The area is specifically known for its ceramics. We went into the factory, we got to look at how they make products and see everything from the raw ceramic product to the finished fired painted product. Next we went to their show room to purchase some little ceramic figures. I bought some gifts for myself, friends, family and my wife, the total was 400 baht about R100 for 8 pieces.

The route we were on was breathtaking, we were riding through farming areas with all sorts of different crops. I stopped regularly to snap random shots of whatever caught my attention. Despite having ridden hard on day 2 I was feeling super strong, looking forward to the hills.

Hill number one was called Ban Mai, before we got stuck in we had a food and drink break. Mr Tee and I went head to head and pushed it up the climb. Nobody rode with us, the nearest rider was Svenning. We stuck together up the climb and finished together, I knew we had another 3 climbs after this one. The downhill was mad fun, not sure what happened to Mr Tee, think he waited for the group to make sure everyone ok. I was pushing up to about 70+ km per hour I think, hard to say without a monitor. I recorded most of the downhill with my GoPro HD camera.

Once I got to the bottom I eased off as I didn’t want to get too far ahead. I started snapping pics of all the different crops, every half km was another amazing photo opportunity. I eventually saw a cyclist in the distance and it was Svenning. We joined forces and worked our way up the the second climb.

I taught Svenning a trick I had learnt ages back. I never ride a hill in a big gear because I am not strong, instead I drop to a low gear where I spin. Every so often I drop a few gears and get out of the saddle standing for about 50-100m to break the spinning. This method worked wonders for me and he started getting the hang of it.

We were alone peddling away, so we continued having a phat rap about all sorts. It’s sounded like this guy Svenning was pretty damn hard core, he was mainly a paddler and loved his kayaking. Fascinating listening to passionate people.

After 2nd climb we had another food and drink break before the 3rd climb started. The 3rd climb was set to be a mutha-fucka. I decided to go it alone and push as hard as possible. The temperature was really heating up, my head was boiling, but I gunned it hard up that climb. Feeling like a champion! The downhill was good fun too, again I recorded it on my GoPro.

On the other side of the 3rd climb we reached an area that was well known for furniture making. I was way ahead of the rest so made some stops at some local furniture places, amazing products, but way too big to ship home.

Our lunch stop was next to one of the largest reclining Buddhas in Thailand. Lunch comprised of a spicy noodle salad and noodle soup. After eating we all headed across the road to see the buddha. I have honestly never seen such a big Buddha. Easily could have been longer than 100m maybe even 200m, hard to get perspective of something that big. Beautiful temple, snapped pics and headed back on the road.

Next we had a ride through the country side heading towards our last climb of the day. We pushed hard, but is time it was Mr Tee, Svenning and myself working together. The climb was not massive, but it was still enough uphill to make it a challenge. I paced most of the way, but made sure we didn’t loose Svenning. He hang on like a trooper, 62 year old rock star if you ask me. We stopped for snacks and drinks at top of hill 4. The downhill was awesomeness, recorded it and made sure I was careful because there was a lot of road works, sand and fairly dangerous obstacles.

Waited for Mr Tee and Svenning once things flattened out a bit. We had about 40-45km to go, I sat on the front and pushed speeds of between 40-50km per hour as we had a slight downhill. I broke Mr Tee, he told me to ease off. We finished 25km in no time flat and waited for the rest at a petrol station.

The last stretch we eased off and rode as a group. We arrived at our next hotel in a Uttaradit around 6:30pm in partial dark. Long day in the saddle, the group was broken, amazingly Svenning and I still felt great, but tired as we had ridden hard.

Dinner was at 7:30pm at the hotel.

image

After the hotel I went out to see the town. Nothing to see though, no tourists in site. I figured let’s get a massage, but couldn’t find a massage place. Eventually after walking for ages I found a place that had massage on the sign. Strange place, crap massage, little disappointed and headed home to go to sleep before midnight.