Archive for December, 2016

 

Vietnam to Cambodia, we smashed it!

Monday, December 19th, 2016

I am extremely pleased to report that after months of training, fundraising and let’s be honest, sleepless nights, I am relieved to say that we’ve done it. My cycling buddies and I managed the arduous cycling journey beginning in Ben Tre, Vietnam and ending in Siem Reap, Cambodia. img_1793

The challenge was huge, both physically and financially, so when I first signed up, I would wake up at 3am and say to myself “Lisa what have you done”.

Even though our training was well planned, the one thing we really couldn’t prepare for was the heat. Temperatures soared to 38 degrees and on the first day that was quite a shock to the system, especially at the points when we were cycling without shade. img_1771

Surprisingly it didn’t take long for our bodies to adapt to the temperature and we soon got into the routine of early starts and long days; with water and snack stops planned at regular intervals along the way. Water stops often included ice, we would enjoy stuffing great chunks of it wherever we could, so that we had the pleasure of it gently melting down our backs whilst cycling.

One of the highlights throughout Vietnam and Cambodia was the effect we had on the children. They were so excited when we cycled by and would call out “hello, hello” whilst frantically waving at us. They were delighted when we shouted back or waved at them, it would often result in loads of giggles for them and sore throats for us. img_1750

The route, which was mainly flat, took us through villages and towns, over bridges, along water ways and on some ferries. We came across lots of interesting sights that ranged from temples and monasteries to street markets and paddy fields. Contending with the traffic did take some getting used to as it seemed as if it everybody did their own thing and that was completely acceptable to all the other road users. So being confronted by a motorcycle, carrying an entire family going the ‘wrong’ way, soon became a normal occurrence. img_1637

The ‘sore bum’ subject was a matter for discussion most evenings, which usually resulted in extra applications of chamois cream as well as saddle re-adjustments the next morning. Heat rash was quite common amongst the cyclists and a few of us had the odd war wound to bring home.

As you would imagine on a challenge like this there were naturally highs and lows for everyone. A particular low point for us was on our first day of cycling in Cambodia. Although it wasn’t the longest distance by far, we felt exhausted and I recall being extra fidgety in the saddle. When we eventually reached the hotel in a hot, tired and sticky state the first thing we wanted was a shower. Unfortunately, this particular hotel was fairly basic and the shower left a lot to be desired, so washing with a cup of water was a bit disappointing especially when you added the cockroaches into the mix.

img_1557 The good news was that there were lots of high points and we three girls laughed our way across Asia. Sally’s ability to turn a normal situation into something of hilarity kept Liz and I amused throughout. Her encounter with a cow whilst she was squatting in a field was really quite entertaining and something that will bring a smile to us forever.

During the adventure and on the training weekend, we got to know the representatives from the charities and understood more about their work with women with cancer. Equally we met ladies who had overcome their battles or had lost a loved one and were riding in their memory. This kept us going, a constant reminder of why we were raising the funds. rs3723_logostrap_final_rgb_3jos-cervical-cancer-trust-logologo-site

Between Liz, Sally and I we have raised £12,500.00 which has far exceeded our expectations and it’s still coming in, so enormous thanks go to you all for supporting us, we really do mean that.

So if you are thinking of taking on an adventure or a challenge of this type, give it a go, my experience has shown me that I am braver than I thought and stepping outside my comfort zone was hugely worthwhile.