Perspective can be a funny thing, so lets imagine this. You’re sat at your dinner table at home, placed in front of you is five bags of McDonalds, each bag contains a Big Mac meal and a coke (medium). You start to eat… and eat….every burger, every chip right down to the last sip of coke. You still wouldn’t have consumed as many calories as myself and Paul burned in the saddle today completing this ride!
VIEW THE RIDE ON STRAVA BELOW!
We had planned to get out of bed at 4:30am for a 5am start, knowing that we had a huge day of riding ahead of us, we wanted to make sure that we had everything in place. The rock hard bed and rooster that started crowing at around 3:30am helped get me up and moving on time….
We blasted out of the blocks and begun the steady climb from the eastern sea board over to the Andaman sea. The first few climbs were done in the dark with nothing but our flashing headlights to keep us sane. Luckily the weather was fresh and the higher we climbed the fresher it got.
There were lots of roadworks going on so our climb was broken up by trucks quite a bit.
We had planned to do 110km to Rayong for the day and as we pulled into the PTT rest stop at 80km, we realised it was only 9am and that we were onto a winner of a day.
Both Paul and myself felt strong and the early start was keeping us in good spirits.
A few days prior Paul had been talking about wanting to do a 200km ride this trip and had it planned for a solo day on his way home after Phuket. We had also discussed how 161km or an “Imperial century” is another big ride we would like to complete. It was at that point that Paul made the executive decision that today would be a 160+km day and I immediately signed up!
Right at 98km we had our second big climb of the day coming up. This one was a torturous short sprint from 20m of elevation up to over 150m. Cautiously winding our way up the road we were met with excavators high above us digging away at the mountain while fresh rocks were strewn across the bitumen, certainly not a confidence inspiring situation and provided all the motivation I needed to keep pedalling!
As we flew down the other side at close to 60km/h with our panniers banging away behind us we were feeling invincible!
For us to hit the 160km we knew we would need to start to spread out our break times and plan accordingly. It must be said at this point that riding in the Thailand sun in the middle of hottest time of year is NO JOKE.
From around 12pm to 3pm being outside in the Thailand summer is horrid, being out on black asphalt in the full sunshine is almost torture, it feels every part of 44 deg C when riding on the black stuff.
It’s the kind of heat that makes you head straight for the nearest 7/11 to get inside the aircon and the thought of having to walk in the sunshine puts a wince on your face.
This has a massive effect on your endurance and absolutely saps you, so the fact that we were able to clear so much time relatively out of the sunshine was a massive plus.
But isn’t Thailand soo dangerous to ride in!?
This is something I have heard over and over again, to be honest I would rather ride in Thailand than Australia ANY day of the week. The cycling infrastructure is fantastic, lots of wide shoulders with bike lanes, or even dedicated lanes like the one above makes it a pleasure. Add to that the fact that the Thais are very courteous and patient on the road. No one is pushing in front of you only to slam on the brakes and take the next turn on the left, no one is blasting their horn at you and no one is passing you dangerously close just to ‘teach you a lesson’. Australia has an attitude problem towards cyclists, and it fucking sucks…
We rolled into our accommodation around 3:30 after pacing out the rest stops every 15km-20km-15km with ease.
This strategy worked well and the fact the last 50km was relatively flat certainly helped. I must say that I’ve had “harder” 100km days so it was a real pleasure to tick this big box and say “I’ve had a 100 mile day”.