Udo 'Whinger' W
Barbara 'Wet Wipes' W
Ride:- 254/255 21/22 October 2006.Location:- Pavothai Museum and Resort, Suan Pung, Ratchaburi.Hares:- Udo and Barbara Scribe:- Pete BomberSaturdayThe sun beat down fiercely upon the group of hashers assembled at the remote Pavothai Resort in the far reaches of Ratchaburi province. We cowered in whatever shade we could find, fiddled with our bikes, and patiently awaited the whistle that would announce the end of the month of anticipation over what was in store for this Saturday ride.When it finally came, we were offered some impressive promises. This was to be a ride which would have "a bit of everything". River crossings, "ridable" puddles, lots of singletrack, physically and technically challenging sections, were all on the agenda. It had a lot to live up to.We weren't to be disappointed. Almost from the start, we were assaulted with some pretty mean ascents and technical sections, leaving some of us questioning the hares' assertion that the hardest part of the ride was to come after the water stop. Personally, I was a little scared. I was, however, having a lot of fun, punctuated only by a gruelling spell of breezeless uphill tarmac-pounding, in the unseasonably sweltering heat. It was during a particularly vomit-inducing section of this that I was taken advantage of by the RA, and wheedled into writing this report.Just when I thought I was about to collapse in a heap of seized-up limbs from heat exhaustion, we were offered a very welcome respite. We had finally reached the river crossing. It was some river. A rope strung across from one side to the other initially left me feeling mildly pampered. That was, until I noticed people submerged beyond the waist, desperately trying to hold their bikes and valuables above water level, straining against a current that looked as though it might transport them straight back to Bangkok.Some heroic individuals braved the swirling waters a second (or more) time, to help others across, for which they were later awarded the honour of an appearance in the circle. I considered my new role as scribe too important for such frivolous risk-taking, and was content to sit back and watch the drama unfold from a comfortable rock on the opposite bank.Feeling somewhat heavier in my saturated clothes, I eventually managed to drag myself back onto my bike and continue the last few kilometers to the water stop. After a final uphill drag, the water stop itself proved to be an idyllic paradise. We were welcomed by children bearing gifts of flowers, and tables laid end to end supplied a wide and varied selection of fruit and snacks. We rested our tired legs in blissful disregard for the question we would soon have to confront - whether to continue the ride.We were told that the remaining 15 km of the ride was not for the faint-hearted, and should not be attempted without a large stockpile of reserves in the energy bank. Or something like that. Those of us who failed to heed (or weren't put off by) these dire warnings proceeded from the water stop in a very upwards direction. Within a few minutes I was sitting by the side of the trail, frantically telling my legs to de-cramp, and cursing the hares for putting this section towards the end of the ride. A few minutes later I was repeating the process a little further up the hill. I feared this ritual might continue indefinitely.Fortunately, after this one big climb, it wasn't nearly as painful as the hares had led us to believe. Perhaps this was partly because the previously relentless sunshine finally gave way to some incredibly refreshing, if brief, showers. The hares would later receive the blame for this in the circle. I, for one, consider this a little harsh, and would like to express my gratitude for their timely weather control.The remainder of the ride was a mainly downhill run through forest singletrack and wide tracks, complete with the promised puddles, which prompted much subsequent debate surrounding their alleged ridability. Many people felt misled after discovering them to be, in fact, unridable. A satisfactory conclusion on this matter was never reached.In short, this was a damn nice ride. There were a few mishaps - the day started with missing wheels and shoes, and ended with missing pedals and the odd mechanical failure - but hey, at least there were no major injuries this time.SundayGiven the recent trend towards increasingly hardcore Sunday rides, the lingering jelly-like quality of my legs from the previous day's ride, and the hares' apparent enthusiasm for painful ascents, I was feeling a little apprehensive as I contemplated the imminent "hangover" ride over breakfast that morning. However, trepidation gave way to intrigue when it was announced we would get to ride through the "Grand Canyon of Thailand".From the off, the route qualified (in this author's opinion) as a proper hangover ride, allaying my earlier fears. It was great fun, and technical in places, but not nearly as strenuous as the day before. Once again, there were plenty of puddles to keep us all amused. As far as I'm aware, everyone survived the sneaky drop-off following a blind bend, that the hares had warned us about so gravely. Perhaps they were erring on the side of caution after the "ridable puddle" fiasco tarnished our faith in them.The "Grand Canyon" is actually not quite like the one in Arizona. It is, however, a pretty interesting geological feature, and makes for some entertaining riding. I mildly regret not spending a little more time riding around the place, but at the time, sheltering under a tree seemed like a more appropriate course of action.From there it was a short scoot back to the resort, where we circled up once more on the banks of the river. This day's unjust down-down nominations included everyone with too much white on their shirt, which included everyone with last season's Tour de Thailand jersey. This was followed shortly afterwards by a plug for the latest jerseys.A scramble for the showers ensued after the circle was dismissed, as people hastily laid claim to the three rooms available to those of us who had already checked out. I heard rumours that those showers weren't actually working, but was too busy queuing up for the one public shower to confirm or deny them.All in all, it was a quality weekend, and the rides really did have a bit of everything. Nice work!