Sabai Sabai I started this post on the 4th of January 🙂
2020 was a fantastic cycling year for me, blowing away all my previous mileage records :-). Thank goodness I moved to Thailand, in January, away from all the CoVid lockdowns in Europe.
According to Strava I rode 18,220Km that’s well over eleven thousand miles at an average speed of 21kph (13mph) with 82,456 metres of climbing (27,000ft). Pretty good for a 72 year old who also designed and had a house built at the same time.
As you can see this year is not looking so good for cycling. Three months in and only 2,300km ridden, a good 4,500 km behind last year as I said sabai sabai
I’ve now been in Thailand for 88 days and this is the first time I’ve been near my blog! Which is to say very unusual for me as is riding 6600km (4,125 miles) in the same period. Not sure if the cycling rate will continue at such a pace with, as in the UK, all Audaxes stopped and the daytime temperatures reaching 40+ in the late morning.
With a lot of help from a very friendly Thai Lady, I managed to extend my 90-day visa to a 1-year retirement visa which if I pay an additional 3800 Baht (£94) when I next leave the country it will be converted into a multiple entry visa. Which given all the COVID-19 virus stuff is very useful.
I made the decision to stay here in Bangkok rather than go into isolation on my own in the UK. interestingly as of today Thailand with a similar population to the UK has a total of 2,169 infected with 10 deaths against the UK’s 42,000 infected and 4313 deaths!
Almost Immediately after I arrived I failed the Sai Yok 600km audax due to a total lack of sleep on the plane and not been acclimatized to the afternoon heat but I still managed to ride 180km. The following weekend I successfully did the Kaen Makrut 400km in just over 23 hours with its two mega hills and very few/no supplies at the control points.
The star attraction for me was the Isan 2020km audax, awesome and very well organized and I did it comfortably in 160 hours the worst part by a long way was the 11 hours it took me to ride/walk the 80km from Ban Tat Kloi to Ban Kok Ka Bouk.
Two weeks later after doing some rides exploring Roi Et and then Ratchaburi we did the Ayutthaya 200 BRM audax a lovely easy ride (apparently Thailands first-ever audax route) but with a rather unfortunate abrupt ending at dinner after the event 🙁 🙁
Back in Bangkok life eventually returned to before the dinner episode with the help of my bike box 🙂 although we now have the COVID-19 closing all the shops, bars, etc, fortunately, the Rembrandt Suites is a pretty decent place to be although a real pity the pool is closed 🙁
After a couple of very relaxing days at the Zen Hotel and where better to stay in Nakhon Pathom than with a Cafe Amazon, a 7-Eleven and half a dozen foot and leg massage places within a few yards of your 7th floor bedroom overlooking The Temple for £25 per night 🙂 The massages are also a total bargain at 400 baht per hour (£5).
Wit Pimkanchanapong reminded me that the starting point for the Chom Bueng 300 audax is the same temple that was used as the final staffed checkpoint at 318km on last weeks 400. I plotted out a cross country route which turned out to be a delightful 43 mile ride some on gravelled tracks but mainly country lanes past historic Buddhist Temples and the rather unique channelled fields.
All with a warm breeze pushing me along what could be better?
I arrived on time at the Big Bear Homestay very spacious indeed but I guess the kitchen and dressing room won’t get much use 🙂
With the bike cleaned and oiled I’m now ready for the rather hilly, just over 11,000 feet of climbing compared to my last 300 The Everyone rides to Skeggy 300 which had just over 5,000 feet of climbing and took Sally and me 18 hours or so to do it!
Buoyed by the success of my first 600 I thought it would be a grand idea to finish a Super Randonneur series whilst in Thailand 🙂 I managed to get entry to the Nakhon Pathom 400km Audax so I rested a few days at the Payamai resort which so reminded me of places that Pelosi gets invited to in Hotel Inspector! The Full moon festival was in full swing at Uthai Thani so great experience.
I cycled the 31 miles in the morning to Ban Takhli station to catch a train with the loaded bike to Bangkok the bike fitting in the old dining car converted to a parcels van easily through the double door opening. I spent the night by Bangkok station in the OYO 140 The Krungkasem Srikrung Hotel.
The next day I caught the train going South to Nakhon Pathom, amusingly the main parcel van was full of boxes and a couple of motorbikes so myself and a small group of cyclists at to lift our bikes through the ever open windows 🙂 You have to be fit to travel with a bike 🙂
The train slowly filled up when leaving Bangkok eventually stopping at Nakhon Pathom.I had taken the front wheel off by now so I could upend the bike and squeeze through the regular door 🙂
The Zen Hotel is great about a mile from the Audax starting stadium and does breakfast from 6 am so perfect for the 7 am start. Great to see so many folks from the 600 ride at the start including Wit from the Audax FB post. The Fatty Bikes had now grown into a group of 4 plus a Californian lady on a recumbent.
Once again we set off at high speed averaging 18 mph to the first stop at 45 miles away! at which point I slowed down to my normal 21 kph. A small group invited me to their early lunch which was good, by noon I had reached the temple where I really enjoyed ice cream it was just so hot! far hotter than on the 600 the afternoon descended into a blur of finding roadside drink stops, I wish I could find something that is palatable when warm and doesn’t dry up your mouth. Fortunately, the sun gave up before me and the wonderfully cool evening started whilst I was ascending through the lakes gorgeous apart from the flies! I eventually found the temple at Chom Bueng cunningly hidden off the main street, with ‘only’ 85 km to go and just after midnight (the speedier ones came through 5 hours before!) I declined the offer of floor space and ploughed on through the night with no other cyclists, the 7-Eleven seemed an eternity and I was getting desperate to close my eyes but as soon as I stopped a posse of barking dogs would gather 🙁
I eventually finished at Nakhon Pathom at 5.45 am with just over 4 hours in hand! I managed to be having my hotel breakfast again 24 hours later than when I set off.
So still on a learning curve especially with regard to sleep and maybe removing a lifetime habit of dashing off, although it has stood me in very good stead over the past 72 years 🙂