Inveterate dabbler in business, travel, gadgets & life

88 days in Thailand

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 🙁 🙁

I then decided to take a bike tour on my own with my pannier from Bangkok >> Na Rim beach >> Chantaburi >> Sa Kaeo >> Bing Nam Priao >> The Khun Dan 200 audax >> AyutthayaWattha Sung >> Kamphaeng >> Bantung >> Nakorn Lampang >> Lampang 200km test audax ->>Chang Mai then an overnight train back to Bangkok to try the Tha Chin-Mae Klong 400 Audax which I DNF’d by 5km due to punctures and my miserable attempt to repair them! Thus making a rather epic 2,339km in 18 days! and apart from the audaxes with all my baggage!

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 🙁

 

 

Return to Chom Bueng in daylight

7th Floor view
View from my 7th floor bedroom

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!

To Chom Bueng

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Bhumibol Dam 600km Audax

Starting Temple for the Bhumibol Dam 600km Audax

Some folks may be wondering why I have landed up at Uthai Thani in Thailand the answer lies in an urge I’ve had to do a 600km Audax and also to keep warm without burning £20 notes. So when Wit Pimkanchanapong pasted this up I was intrigued: Here is a list of the 125 participants in this year’s event plus 10 write-ups (use Google Translate)  from previous years so a popular event! The route and Control Points can be found here

It starts on Friday at 8 pm (1 pm UK time) and I have 40 hours until midday on Sunday to complete it. Since the furthest, I’ve ever ridden are several 300km events it’s going to be interesting, to say the least. One positive is the night time temperature is at 23°C  one huge minus is the day temp is 32°C and humidity at 80% 🙁 although I’ve been here a week and survived so far.

Now for some sleep before the start.

 

Three days riding north from Bangkok

A very hot three days riding the 150+ miles from Bangkok to Uthai Thani due North from Bangkok and roughly following the Chao Phraya River. I had overnight stops in Ayutthaya and Sing Buri.  Ayutthaya is the old capital city before its wanton destruction in 1767. Interesting that stumps of the various massive buildings are all that’s left a bit like all the abbeys in the UK after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. My b&b reminded me a bit of the fussy UK places too. Sing Buri, on the other hand, was in an uber-modern garden room.

Uthai Thani is well of the tourist circuit so virtually no English is spoken but it seems to have a good selection of coffee shops etc although it’s a challenge ordering vegetarian food.

With all my switching of hotels, I seemed to have misplaced my tool kit 🙁 So here’s hoping to no breakdowns.

Still struggling like crazy to get my photos from the iPhone onto WordPress 🙁 Apple seems to dislike making them public and poor old Flickr doesn’t seem able to read the “Photos Library.photoslibrary” database, oh how I long for good old Picasa.