Thank you to all of my sponsors
This year there were 46 riders and we managed to raise over $300,000 in sponsorship. All of that money is going straight to the orphanages.
A great part of the ride was actually visiting 3 sites that are supported by Hands Across The Water. This post has all the professional videos about the ride. It helps when 2 of the riders are professional video people!
The entire ride summary
This is the summary video of the ride and promo video for next year’s ride.
There are some things that are so wonderfully captured in video and you get a sense of the magic of the ride. At the same time you miss out on the heat (one stretch of the ride was over 50°C), the sweat, and the exhaustion. You also miss out on the sheer pleasure of watermelon and pineapple.
Day 0 - Klong Toey Slum
Before the bike ride, we visited the Klong Toey Slum on the outskirt of Bangkok. The slum houses over 100,000 people. This is a good summary article on the slums.
Working within the slums is the charity Duang Prateep Foundation. HATW help fund them and this is who we are ultimately supporting. In the slums they look after the poorest of the poor. The families we visited typically had one person (usually the wife) supporting a large family and an injured or disabled spouse.
Once again, video can capture much but it misses the smell of open drains and general filth. It also misses the wonderful cooking smells (I’m a sucker for Thai food) and the gradual changes that the Duang Prateep Foundation is making. They started with a school and now even provide/support and train the “fire brigade”.
After a sleepless night, the ride was finally here. For half the group we had no idea what to expect. Had we bitten off more than we could chew.
Each day is broken up into a number of about 20km rides. We would all leave as a group, and over the ride would break into smaller groups or individuals. We would then all regroup at the break and after the final rider arrived, we would start the 15 minute timer.
The first 2 20km rides were easy. The third ride leading into lunch was really rough. You can see it at about 49 seconds into the video. It was a long stretch that went on forever and felt like a continual slope up. I had fallen behind the pack and did it solo.
After lunch was a short trip to the temple for the ultimate photo opportunity. You can also see the team spirit of cheering people in at the end of the ride, and the “pleasure” of a bucket of ice at the end of a very hot day.
Today was the day that I had been training for. Someone had said “Temple Hill was the one that left me in the foetal position”. It was a steep 100m rise at the end of a 100km day’s riding.
We got to the top of Temple Hill and then some of us took the challenge and headed back down again for a second run.
It’s one thing to beat a challenge, it’s another thing to absolutely nail it. This was the most rewarding moment for me in regards to the physical part of the ride.
Day 3 was a real eye opener for me. For the first two days I was focusing on being in the lead group and pushing myself physically.
What I didn’t realise was that the best riders weren’t playing the ego game, but were back in the pack helping the group.
That’s where my post “great leaders aren’t always in the front” came from.
The ride is split in two. The first 3 days we are riding down the coast on the eastern side of Thailand, and the last 2 days we are on the western side. This is the day where we caught a bus across.
On the way we visited a boys orphanage run by the Duang Prateep Foundation.
Here boys are taken out of the city and away from drugs and crime. They are given an education and a home.
The Day 4 video looks more like a travel video for Thailand. It was the most beautiful of the 5 days with incredible lakes, rivers, caves and jungles.
You can see footage of the pool in the resort that we stayed in that night. This resort was in a steep valley and you get a hint of how amazing it was in this footage.
Day 5 was the shortest ride and finished at the orphanage.
What you don’t realise in the video is that the temple you see at about 13 seconds is where Peter Baines had to work identifying thousands of people who had died in the Tsunami, and help families find their lost.
15 minutes later we are riding into the orphanage and seeing the lives that have been forever changed by the work of Hands Across The Water and the Duang Prateep Foundation.
A final word (or two)
Firstly, another thank you to everyone who supported me.
For those who would like to support the work of Hands Across The Water, please visit their website. If I do ride again, then please consider sponsoring me.
For anyone reading this post and considering doing the ride, just do it.
To everyone who rode with me, thank you for everything.