Epic cycle ride undertaken by unfit, overweight, not middled aged lady

I visited Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos in 2002. One of the things that really struck me about the countries was the indefatigable people, the welcome extended to visitors and the simple joy taken in small pleasures. But, having visited the Museum of the American War in Ho Chi Minh City, seen the 'Danger UXB' signs in Laos and read the good news headline in a paper in Cambodia: ' Deaths from UXBs down to 3 this month. Only 40 maimed.' I was acutely aware of the toll still being taken on the population.

Over the years I have pondered the munitions still there and this year I have finally decided to get off my bottom and do something. So I have, somewhat impetuously and with little regard for my physical fitness, cycling ability or dodgy left knee decided to join the MAG cycle ride from Ho Chi Minh City to Ankor Wat. I will be doing this the first week or so in Feb 2011 and it does involve a couple of days of over 100km in 30 degree heat. Having signed up I have been told that neither a rickshaw nor an electric bikes are options and that doing the distance on my own pedals is expected.

Donation link is further down on the right - I have paid for my own flights and contributed enough to cover living expenses so all money raised from sponsorship will go to MAG.

This is my blog of my progress to get on the road and when I am there - assuming I will be capable of rational thought after a day of unaccustomed exercise.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Do or not do - there is no try...

Well, I am off on Friday morning from Heathrow after a bit of a mad dash to get visas (yes obviously I left it to the last minute - life is more exciting that way) plus collating all the general kibble together. Spent an hour or so snipping labels off various items and packing them in my rucksack on Sunday, following which I can testify that while the special mossie repellent travel shirts may be 'iron free' this doesn't mean that that they don't look like they have scrunched up in a bag on the bottom of the wardrobe for a couple of months...

Packing essentials in my hand luggage (pair cycling shorts, MAG biking shirt, cycle helmet, bike saddle, buff and undies) just in case main backpack goes adrift. God only knows what airport security will make of that little lot!

Sadly I think that this may be my Karrimor's final journey ...
She has been a faithful companion for ten years and has survived much abuse including the bottom of the Mekong after a minor altercation between our motor powered canoe and a rather large rock. But, she is getting on a bit and after an unpleasant incident  with an airport conveyor (resulting in terminal loss of shoulder strap) is now merely a backpack instead of a 'multifunctional' bag; having said that a bag is there to hold your stuff, what other function does it need? There are also a number of non functional zips and overall she is looking a bit battered, not to mention a trifle unsanitary ... I did look at getting a few repairs, actually more like serious surgery, done by a specialist company but the cost of the postage was a bit prohibitive.  So, if anyone happens to be passing the Lake District via Hertford in March could you do a mercy dash to save her?

So getting to the nub of things:  How am I feeling? There has been a bit of frantic over training this week and I have a mixed bag of emotions ranging from quietly confident to 'OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! I want my mummmmmmy, '. But, the truth is, that I'll either manage to do it all or not and while I probably could have trained a little harder/quaffed a little less I have given it the best effort I could..... I am looking forward to the holiday generally and already have hubby on a schedule for the first few days after the ride.... 9ish  - bring wife brekkie in bed 930ish carry wife to sunlounger, 11ish arrange parasol over recumbent wife, 12ish feed wife lunch and margarita, 7ish carry wife to waiting taxi and take her to dinner...there might need to be a bit of work since there doesn't seem to be regular scheduled breaks for elevensies, afternoon tea etc but I think we can work on the details :-)

I will aim for a daily blog on the trip (technology permitting) but I know we are camping one night so that may be a challenge. The idea is that I will mail an account plus photos to hubs in the evenings and he will post onto the blog ....so there is the potential for all sorts of chaos from that followed by a domestic :-)

That's all - thank you again for all the donations and support doing this over the past months has been a truly wonderful experience due to everyone being so lovely


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