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On The Road with DC
Video pal Dave Christenson is out on the road again with Apolis This time their wild and crazy adventures have taken them to Vietnam. Where it looks like in-between video takes Mr. Christenson has been riding his Rapha-Condor road bike in new and beautiful country.
Words and Photos by Dave Christenson
It was overcast with light rain as I made my way down the two lane coastal road. I came into a port full of parked fishing boats, their crews on break from a long night of fishing, a beautiful sight indeed with all the brightly colored boats all amassed together.
The road hugged the coast and was almost devoid of any traffic whatsoever, the occasional scooter from time to time. It was absolutely serene and the temperature was perfect, and at times while descending even a bit chilly. The road rolled along and there was the occasional hill as well as two decent climbs but nothing too major. There was a small village about every 15km or so which made it was easy to find food and water, so no need to carry jersey pockets full of food.
Nearly every person I saw waved to me and said “hallo” so I was riding with one hand most of the time because the least I could do is wave back and smile, probably not too many guys on road bikes out their way often.
At about kilometer 100 I could smell the ocean air so when I saw a dirt road that cut into the sand dunes I took it not really knowing what I would find. After about 3km I could see a small village built entirely in the sand dunes and I headed there to explore and see what I could find. When I finally made it there I found out the name of the town was Chi Cong. It was an awesome little town with narrow streets and walkways, some no bigger than those in Venice, Italy.
As I made my way back I came upon a super steep but short climb. A climb so steep that either side of the narrow road had stairs for people on foot to go up and down, if I had to guess it was probably around 23% gradient. It was an absolute leg burner and I hadnʼt ridden anything like it since the last time I rode in Belgium on sections of the route of the Tour of Flanders. I had to ride it 4 times to get the timing right for the self timer on the camera. Each time just hoping that Iʼd get it right so I didnʼt have to do it again.
After looking at the time I decided I had to hammer it on the way back so that Iʼd beat the darkness and possibly get a swim in when I got back to my hotel. So I was off with the bit between my teeth chasing the sun at 43km an hour (27 miles an hour).
At about kilometer 160 I realized that I had missed my turn and made my way back to find that Iʼd overshot it by about 15km. As I made my way back darkness closed in and the road was completely empty and all I had were the lights of the same fishing boats Iʼd seen earlier in the day off in the distance to keep me company.
There is just something very special and fulfilling about moving over the countryside under your own power. That coupled with exploring new countries and new rides make it one of the reasons I never leave home without my bike.
A couple of recommendations for traveling to Vietnam with your bike:
Bring extra parts: brake pads, cables and cable housings, tubes and the ever important chain oil, especially when riding on the coast with all the sand. I forgot to bring some and after a while my chain was sounding like the Minsk so I had to stop and ask at a scooter shop. All they had was some motor oil so on the chain it went. Probably not the best stuff for the chain but it did the job. Parts and things of that nature are impossible to find in this area.
Total ride distance: 215km (134 miles) -ride time: 7 hours 45 minutes (exploring, food stops and getting lost included) -average speed: 33km an hour (21 miles an hour) -max speed reached: 74km an hour (46 miles an hour)
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