Today we made it from Tam Son to Yen Minh in time for a late lunch at 2 pm. It was 51 km, but don’t let the short distance fool you! It was supposed to be an “easier” day but I was struggling at times, especially going uphill. Margaret waited for me at just the right times and said exactly the right things to keep me going. I’m not sure I could have done this ride with anyone else. She has been an amazing biking buddy and I want the world to know it!
During one section of winding climbs, I was in pretty good spirits but couldn’t force my legs to keep moving. I have never cycled on this type of terrain and certainly never for this long. The scenery wasn’t great because fog and mist made visibility low. Cold, tired, and getting hungry, I was also bored with my own internal dialogue and was concentrating too much on the steep climbs ahead. I decided it was the opportune time to take out secret weapon #2… My music! (Gu gel was secret weapon #1). I popped in my right earbud and pressed shuffle for a mix of upbeat tunes. It definitely helped, and after a few songs, we came to a large downhill segment and a workout mix of Party Rock Anthem came on. I may or may not have been lip syncing and bobbing my head to the beat…
The last 9 km was downhill in cool wind. My knuckles were freezing and I was dreaming about a hot lunch and changing into my warm fleece. When I packed for this trip I was worried about getting weird tan lines, when I should have been worried about bringing enough warm layers for cold days like today! Side note: This evening I bought a purple men’s mock turtleneck from the market after much friendly haggling with the shopkeeper. (He tried to raise the price to 100,000 dong after we had agreed on 80,000. I probably shouldn’t have been splitting hairs- 80,000 dong is US$4!)
After a great lunch in Yen Minh (Tofu! Green vegetables! Chickpeas! Rice! Peanuts!) We walked around town for a bit this afternoon but most of the shops and restaurants were closed. (This has become a trend in the past few cities we’ve been to.) It seems that most people open up a little business in the front section of their house and put a pretty sign out front advertising their offerings, but only open during certain hours of the day when they feel like it. I guess that’s just part of small town life in Northern Vietnam.
Tomorrow we head for Dong Van!