So, we have reached our destination in Recife, Brasil on day 75. I haven’t posted much during the ride, so I will speak a little of things that have happened, how I feel and about the people and organisations who have helped so much and made this possible.
We have definately had the protection of good spirits alaong the way. Leading up to the event, I crashed three times in two weeks, the final one on the day of the event start. I began with a really bad leg infection but it cleared up after a few days. For the week before, I couldn’t train and the first day back on my bike was the starting day.
For two months before the start things were hectic. The promised bikes from the owner of Milani of Italy, never arrived. The ONLY sponsor to let us down. Singha paid for a new bike, kindly provided at cost by Bangkok shop, Bike Station. Singha corporation the Title sponsor and Rawin there, my great friend have been AMAZING. Most corporate organisations decide to sponsor only for commercial return. Rawin and Singha are VERY DIFFERENT. They became involved, simply to honor the King of Thailand and asked for nothing in return. Unlike the usual arrangement, they have kept in touch throughout the event and constantly ask if I am ok and if I need any help. They ensured the support team could join me in Brasil, knowing I was feeling very low( BIG THANK YOU RAWIN AND SINGHA).
The company produces beverages, including the famous Singha and Leo beer, water, soda water and B-ING health drinks. They have supported many charitable groups and good causes, asking for zero commercial return! It’s very rare to find this and I once saw them give 5 million baht to the Thailand footsol team without any media presence.
Their support gives me the will and confidence to ride to the finish for His Majesty and Thailand. There has been some incidents along the way. Australia posed some tough challenges with many bad truck drivers, with little consideration for other road users. The cold wet weather and many freezing wet days and nights in tents, tested me and the team. The food was also a problem. Then there was one nightmare night in a trailer park, where we recieved shouted threats of violence as we tried to sleep, from a drunken mob.
New Zealand was very cold for the two days there and it was the very kind help of John of Keywin, our pedal and chamois cream sponsor that got me through, albeit with a bus transfer to avoid severe frost.
America was where I first went solo. Whilst I met some nice people, I found the USA very challenging, being hit with a stick and almost having my bicycle stolen. I was lucky to miss the expected high temperatures in the Southern states and to benefit from mostly tail winds. The atmosphere in the USA was threatening for me and I became very nervous and depressed. I found the isolation very hard and only the chance to speak with Rawin, my friends and May in Chiang Khong and my children, got me through.
Visiting Cambridge was the highlight as I got to visit the very room where the King was born, a great honor.
Canada was very cold, with tough winds off the Atlantic and driving rain. Only three days though and then off to Uruguay. After a ferry from Argentina, I spent two cold days in Uruguay. With a tailwind, I headed for Brasil and arrived in Porto Alegre on the 8th of June. I was very excited to meet up with the team and cried with relief as my isolation ended. Our host Tiago of Hostel Porto Do Sol was a huge help. Unbelievably friendly and without his help, we could not hire the support vehicle. Our card wouldn’t work but he stepped up to use his own as security.
So, Brasil…..very cold and wet in the South but it got warmer as we headed North. The roads were mostly in bad condition, poor surface, many roadworks, narrow and very dangerous drivers with no consideration for other road users, especially cyclists. Again, it was the truck drivers who were the worst. We managed to meet a lot of nice people along the way, although Brasil is a violent society and dangerous in places. I was almost knocked off my bike many times. A lot of climbing but no massive mountains, mostly it is rolling roads.
In the North, the rains came and a disaster area was declared. Now, many towns and villages are destroyed, many dead, countless missing. We missed one of the worst hit places, Rio Largo, by 24 hours. It was our next destination. Close to Recife, we witnessed a village, that was destroyed. Very hard to see, Brasil has terrible poverty already. Many people have nothing, live in houses made with clay and straw or even plastic bags. A lot of street kids too. Hope the new found wealth of the country filters down to the people who most need it soon.
So, now I am waiting for my flight to Portugal on the 26th. Today I hope to have my bike serviced as I need some replacement parts desperately. The team of Noi, Simon and May will return to Thailand tomorrow. I will go solo again through Europe and until the last two stages in Thailand.
Thanks to my friends and family for supporting me, also to the other team members, sponsors, especially John of KEYWIN and Dermot of RED SPOKES, Chiang Khong village and everyone who is supporting and following me.
I am tired but will continue until the end in Bangkok.
THANK YOU SINGHA, THANK YOU RAWIN MY FRIEND!
LONG LIVE OUR DAD!!