I did it! An 800km bicycle ride in 8 days. A personal challenge but also for a great cause.
In March last year I registered for an Annual Thai Ride through the charity Hands Across the Water (“Hands”). Watching my dad complete the same ride 2 years prior, I was keen to become involved this year as 2015 ride marked 10 years since the Boxing Day Tsunami. Hands was established to help Thai children affected by this natural disaster. The cause has now extended their projects with the work focused on improving the lives of the kids and their communities today and in the longterm (More info).
The ‘Southern Ride’ went from Bangkok to Khao Lak, home of the orphanage ‘Baan Tharn Namchai (BTN)’ in Phang-Nga, a town on Thailand’s northern Andaman coast.
The ride was not easy, with an average of 100km worth of riding each day. Despite the challenge, the ride was also enjoyable with a great mix of people and many laughs along the way.
With the help of Magnesium every morning and evening, my muscles would feel recovered and ready for the day ahead. Sleep and plenty of fluid was important and I managed to keep on top of it. Food was difficult and consisted of many ‘naughties’ I’d typically stay away from (potato chips, ice blocks, lollies, white rice). It was instant energy I needed to get me through to the next water stop and I wasn’t going to risk being picky and riding with no fuel! I also took a probiotic daily to keep all the good bugs in.
Both the scenery and Thai people were beautiful. On Day 6 the team rode inland. 96km of rolling hills bought me to our accommodation embedded in the mountain. The place was surreal and amazing, somewhere I’d love to visit again.
The second last day was the toughest day! Firstly I conquered the 4km mountain. The downhill was steep and certainly earned, but it wasn’t over with many more hills on the way to our hotel.
The final day consisted of a short 40km final ride into the orphanage at BTN. We received a very very warm and much anticipated welcome from over 100 children at BTN. Bi-Fern was an adorable 3 year old girl and I was lucky to meet her during my time (that’s her below).
It’s all over now and seems a lifetime ago. An amazing 800km, an awesome cause, team mates filled with encouragement and entertaining stories and a loving support team at home who told me “you don’t have to believe in miracles, just believe in yourself”. Some wise words that got me through this challenge and the many more challenges to come.