3 December 2011
I wake with the lights on. This is happening a lot lately. Evenings I do chores, I read, I snack and then I fade out. I'm tired, and the two planned rest days in Luang Prabang are only a ride away. Ok, so it's still 110km, but there's no major climbs, and it's a net downhill.
I leave without breakfast, hoping to get some kilometres wiped off the slate before I eat. It goes well. I think cycling and digesting are sometimes best kept separate. I've done about 40km by the time I stop for an early lunch, my average speed comfortably in the 20s. I get chicken and veggies in a Chinese-style stir fry, with sticky rice. I think that the sticky rice must be a great carbs bomb and eat as much as possible.
I'm sluggish after lunch, and there's a few small climbs to get over. I suspect this may be a downside to guzzling sticky rice. Once I get my rhythm back, it's on. I know I can expend all my energy, and even risk muscle problems and a little sunburn, because I have the two days rest to recuperate. I push hard all day, the post-lunch session being slightly slower due to the frequent small ups and downs.
I pass a white guy in white shirt and trousers, standing in the road smoking a cigarette while the engine runs on his white SUV parked behind him. The vehicle has a UNDP logo on it. If this is development, count me out.
I'm surprised I've not overtaken the Dutch. Then, right as I'm coming into Luang Prabang, I pass them. I ride up onto the peninsula, and cruise along Sisavangvong Road. Europeans on bicycles are tootling everywhere, most of them ignoring street signs and acting parts in their personal holiday movies. I've not seen this many white people for ages. In fact, not since I was last in Luang Prabang.
113km, 22.6km/h, 4hr59min, 1393km