Except one or two big hills, that third part got easier. In fact, closer I got to the capital, flatter the road became. The thing is, I was pretty tired from what I’ve done previously. One day off with Stephane was clearly not enough to rest completely. I did not have too much choice except keep on going because my visa would end in a week. On the way, I met Bright from China, another touring cyclist. We arrived in Vientiane together and spent some time around. I stayed in Vientiane for nearly 3 weeks finally.
Aaah finally! Finally an easy day! The day started with rain but I enjoyed a long down hill. I didn’t expect that last hill coming but apart that the ride was much easier than the past two weeks. I needed that, my legs needed that :-) I’ve ended sleeping in a valley where the weather we’re more pleasant.
I thought the worst was behind me but it didn’t mean the road would be flat. Ban Nam Chat is situated in a hole. I’ve enjoyed yesterday night going down hill for quite a while. After dinner, when I was trying to find a spot where to sleep I’ve ended cycling uphill again. That was only the beginning of the hill. This morning I started with a 650m ascension. I had some lunch at Phou Khoun which was in a bowl but still 1200m high. Finally I had another climb that brought above 1500m and started a huge downhill during late afternoon. At night, another huge storm hit the sheds where I was staying. The wind was super strong and I thought the roof was going to collapse but it didn’t fortunately!
Originally, we planned to leave at 7am this morning which is already quite late for me. That would let us only 2 hours of fresh temperature before the sun start attacking seriously. We got prepared, asked to the owner of the hotel if he could take a picture of us which he did obviously. Then, we were kind of ready to go but still talk and talk and talk until 9am! Arg! That’s nearly too late to start cycling now! Anyway, we must move! Have a good trip Stéphane. Enjoy Vietnam :-)
Today we did not do anything special with Stéphane. We just stayed at the guesthouse, went out to eat when you got hungry and that’s it. Around 5pm, when the lights became good enough to take pictures, I cycled to the Plain of Jars which is not really far from the city centre of Phonsavan. There is several different sites apparently but I’ve chose the main one. Of course, I cycled there.
This has been the hardest step I’ve done since I’ve started cycling from New Zealand. I’ve never had to push that often. They were lost of slopes with more than 10% grade and nearly everyday the total ascend surpassed 1000m. I was really happy to arrive in a valley after those 8 days travelling in the mountains, northern side of Laos.
Finally, I’ve reached my first goal, Phonsavan! This morning I wasn’t sure if I would make it but I knew Stephane was there and was going to move very soon. Fortunately, a long downhill helped a lot! It gave me the motivation to keep going. For the first time since I left Luang Namtha, I’ve seen a valley. I think the worse is behind me now.