The route: 96km of hilliness http://connect.garmin.com/activity/187812940 5454km total
Today and tomorrow were 2 days we had been anticipating with a combination of excitement (Andy) and dread (Emma) as the 4000m of climbing and 200+km of riding provided ample opportunities for pain. Andy bewilderingly persists with the notion that unless your heart rate is over 180 /are unable to talk in sentences then you simply cannot be having fun, whereas I am quite happy not to taste blood with each inhaled breath. A heated debate about whether this ride could be termed “suffering” or not managed to entertain us for most of the hill climb today – Andy even stopped the bike at one point to pull out a dictionary to back up his argument– perhaps a discussion that should have been had prior to the start of the bike tour. Luckily, the ride wasn’t quite as bad as other bikers had suggested and we had anticipated, and we made it through the rain storms to Mae Sariang sore but not quite broken.
Only 3 days into a 5 day epic, and with seriously stiff and aching thighs we waddled into the one place in Mae Sariang advertising massages. The proprietor took one look at us and phoned her friend for back up before ushering us into a room containing 2 futons and a motorbike – Le Meridien Spa this was not. Having changed into fetching pink pyjamas, we were then kneaded relentlessly until various muscles/joints/bones cracked satisfyingly enough for the masseuses – both tiny ladies who looked like they lacked the strength to lift a cupcake, but whose fingers (and elbows) possessed super human strength. In retrospect, I got off fairly lightly with only minor bruising and a few elbow marks, but Andy did not fare so well. His masseuse discovered a “knot” in his back which she was sure could only have come from breaking his shoulder at some point in his life. Sceptical medics that we were, we pointed out that such an injury had never occurred and that the “knot” was a tendon, however, the masseuse was not to be deterred and set about attacking it with a ferocity such that poor Boydy’s eyes were filling with tears. Every time he screamed “ow” or “stop”, the masseuse cackled and mimicked him while pounding harder, even giving him an extra 30minutes special treatment/assault on the area. When he was finally released, we were shown a visitors book in which multiple people had written “the hardest massage of my life” /”unforgettable experience” – if only we seen these warnings before we could have rigged up a syringe driver. Travellers to Mae Sariang – be warned – if you go to the massage place very near Riverhouse hotel ( a great place to stay), only go to the massage place next door if you have an extremely high pain threshold.