Our training has been going well. Paul has been working the farm delivering baby cows and what not, and Ray has been scuba diving in Yap and Palawan … But, in an effort to do a couple more training rides, the day after returning to Chiang Mai, Ray set out on a century ride to Fang. Well, there was email to catch up on and bills to pay (no Internet on a live aboard in the middle of nowhere), so he did not get out of the condo until noon. By then it was blazing hot outside, say over 150F with the heat index. (I am not making these numbers up. Check out NOAA’s page for heat index, skip over the wind chill stuff, which never applies to Thailand. You will see the most-relevant table entry at 105F and 60% humidity and a heat index of 149F. I guess they assume no one is out biking in 105F with 90% humidity, so they don’t show those values. Or, maybe the guy doing the “experiments” passed out at that point of the research. Anyway, for the extra 30% humidity, I added just one degree.) Bottom-line: absurdly hot.
The ride to Fang includes several climbs. The longest climb is probably about 3 miles. Not too steep (7%), and nothing compared to Doi Ang Kang. With fresh legs I hammered the entire ride. Well, when I felt goose bumps from over heating, I did back it down a bit. My average speed was 15mph, which on my mountain bike with 2.25-inch off road tires and traffic in some areas, is not exactly hanging around. 🙂 (Yeah, I know whine whine whine …) For reasons unknown to me, the only food I ate that day consisted of one bag (small) of potato chips and pad pak ruam (mixed vegetables). What was I thinking? And, the vegetables were crazy spicy, which Paul would have loved.
The next morning I headed back to Chiang Mai. Don’t ask me why, but I skipped breakfast … real smart, eh? Well, by about 5 miles I had already hit the wall. Nice. Surprised? (The word “idiot” comes to mind.) I did get some breakfast (30 miles later) at the Chiang Dao Hill Resort whose sign reads “Largest Teak in Chiang Mai”. I had corn soup and chicken fried rice. I think the heat was bothering me a lot already though, so I could not finish the rice …
Now, where was I going with this post, oh yeah, the fireplace. Picture a heat index that is not even available on the NOAA charts. Picture me falling apart after 5 miles. I said five. Now picture a guy riding a regular bicycle in these conditions with a side-mounted fireplace. Normal bike, and I said side-mounted fireplace. It was a black box, dimensions in feet 2 by 1 by 1, and he was burning in it … get out of here … I am not kidding. I double and tripled checked, yes, he had a fire going. Was it incense? Was he cooking something to sell? It didn’t smell like burnt squid … Wow! I just looked down at the salt on my shorts and kept riding. I know that I was delirious, but it was a fireplace.
When I got back to Chiang Mai, I went out for a massage. Legs were trashed … badly trashed … and, I was, of course, badly dehydrated. But, I guess that is why people invented beer … 🙂 There was Thai tea, orange juice, banana shakes, water, and so on too … needless to say, I was totally ravenous, and I did have a huge dinner.
All systems are go. We are excited. Paul and I will meet in Copenhagen on this Saturday morning, 19/5/2012.