By Hans Henrik Melchior & Bent Laasholdt
13 Vikings turned up for the first day of the annual rides in the Pattaya area on Saturday 28 May. They were: Morten Luxhoi with his support team consisting of Tai, her 9 years old son Focus and 12 years old niece New, Jan Peter Jensen, Kenn Lauritzen, Finn Soerensen, Fred Olmheim, Claus Gundersen (new Viking Wheeler), Bjorn Hammarberg, Hans Henrik Melchior, and the two organizers Bent Laasholdt and Claus Birk.
As the morning was overcast, the team started cycling south along the Jomtien beach in wonderful cycling weather. After a short stint on Sukhumvit Road, the daring Vikings turned inland on scenic country roads and uphill towards the first pit-stop at the Buddha Mountain. Suddenly, just before the arrival at the first pit-stop, the riders at the rear end of the group heard a loud “bang”, and thought it was a gunshot until, after investigating the incident, it turned out that it was Hans Henrik’s rear tyre which had exploded. So he now had an excuse to sit in the car during the part of the ride with the toughest hills.
Shortly after the pit-stop, while going downhill at high speed, Bent’s chain jumped off so, at the bottom of the hill, he had to stop and fix it, which took some time (by that, he actually got his first greasy and dirty hands in many years!) and the other riders got far in front. Morten was leading a small group with his “support team” and Claus Gundersen and was so busy flirting with Tai that he missed the turn towards Wat Yansang Wararam, leading this group onto a major detour. Hans Henrik in the support vehicle only realized this when, on a long hill after the Wat, he could not see Morten and his team in front of them, so the support vehicle quickly drove up to the front riders to be sure that Morten was really lost, and then back to find them. Impossible to say who was most happy, Morten seeing the car again or Hand Henrik having found Morten and his lost team.
Bent had suffered from blisters under one of his feet from the beginning of the ride and just before the second pitstop the pain had become too strong, so he had to give up, handing his bike to Hans Henrik, so he could ride the last leg, mostly downhill, back to Jomtien Beach. The front riders made the detour through South Pattaya and up the very steep Buddha Hill (near the Royal Cliff Hotel), however, due to the delays caused by the Morten team’s detour, this team regrettably had to skip this challenge, in order not to be too late for lunch. The two children, Focus and New, did very well and cycled about 52K including the challenging hills.
After a quick shower all riders proceeded to Admiral’s Pub, where everybody enjoyed a delicious lunch with Cool Green Carbohydrates and Norwegian Linie Akvavit (Viking Wheelers call it “Potato Juice”. In the evening a good dinner at Boo Ben Seafood restaurant at the south end of Jomtien Beach Road, after which the reporters were disqualified from participating in the further events. But rumors have it that some went to Pattaya and watched the early morning Champions League final before returning to the hotel for a couple of hours sleep before the Sunday ride.
Sunday morning the sun was shining from a clear sky, so this became a very hot day. The group again turned south on Jomtien Beach Road before they turned inland towards Huai Yai and then north towards the Siam Country Club. All riders knew that there would be tough hills during the Saturday ride, however, the Sunday ride turned out to be tougher, as it went uphill during the entire first half of the ride until the turning point at HW 331. We even passed a train and an airplane, which appeared to have given up getting any further several years ago. After the turning point the Vikings cycled past Pong and along the Map Prachan Reservoir and then back to Jomtien. Almost the entire ride, also this day, was on quiet , scenic country roads.
It was a happy but tired group of Viking Wheelers, who returned to Splendid Resort at about noon. Tai and the two children again did very well, only stopping after the 2nd pitstop at about 52K. Again a quick shower and then another delicious lunch, this time no potato juice but with a few Cool Green Carbohydrates at Admirals Pub, before returning to Bangkok or Khao Yai.
Jan Peter Jensen had signed up late and when asked what made him sign up he said that it was Claus Birch’s promise that there would be tail wind all the way both days. When this turned out not to be entirely true he filed a complaint, which was promptly forwarded to the Viking Wheelers Claims Manager, Mads Tranum Nielsen, who according to his Skype profile is still in Russia.
We also missed our always active President Khun Henrik, who was reported seen walking slowly along the great Chinese Wall.