19 January 2012
A longish but surprisingly easy ride today. I definitely get some wind assistance for a lot of the ride, as well as a helpful pull from another bike tourist.
Getting out of Kampot is easy - across the river and onto route 3. The road surface is generally good, and there's a wide rideable shoulder. After 55 kilometres or so, I hook south onto route 4 and ride 15km straight into the wind. Route 4 is narrow, and lacks a surfaced shoulder, but the dirt shoulder is rideable, albeit slower. I do spells on both, depending on how much traffic there is.
Shortly before the end of the headwind section, I meet an Asian-American bike tourist from Sacramento, California. He's really lightly packed, and riding a lo-fi road bike. It turns out he got up at 4am, and has ridden from Phnom Penh today - he'll clock around 230km. Impressive. He rides on the front for several kilometres - we probably average 30km/h. On a tiny climb he waves me to the front and seems to fade. Once we're on the flat again, he gets back on my wheel. I try to keep the effort level as high as he did. It's good encouragement. Another small climb appears, and he falls off the back. The aerodynamic advantage of riding behind another rider is much less at lower speeds, so I decide to get on with the climb and wait for him at the top. Inside several minutes he doesn't appear - I figure he's stopped for photos or a drink. It's baking hot, and I'm not going back down the hill. I press on to Sihanoukville, seriously wondering if I'd completely hallucinated the guy.
I take a short cut into town, but this takes me over some steep, rough concrete road. I'll head out the long way, I think. Again, it takes several tries to find a suitable room.
Sihanoukville seems like a classic Asian beach resort, with tuktuks, tie-die and schnitzel, and I'm quickly unsure about having two rest days here. I might take just one day off here and take another to loll around back in Kampot.
107km, 22.9km/h, 4hr39min, 4512km