Our second day of cycling in Cambodia was the one that worried us the most in the lead up to our adventure. It’s our longest day – 80kms, and for novice cyclists, which we all are, we knew it was going to be a long, hard day. What we didn’t know, was that it was also going to be pretty damn awesome!
We started our day just on the outskirts of Siem Reap town. I’d had a great idea for us to get a nice team pic in our WK shirts, which we did (see above). although the backdrop wasn’t quite what I was hoping for – a muddy field… Still, draws more attention to our smiling faces!
We covered so much different terrain on Day 2, starting on red dirt tracks through vibrant green rice fields, onto country roads through villages and small towns, and pot hole ridden main roads where trucks, cars, motorbikes and our cyclists were all vying for the best bit of road and trying not to fall into the deep muddy indents.
Our first stop off for the day was at Banteay Samre, a Hindu temple built in the early 12th century. A highlight of this temple were the many intact, beautiful doorways which provided ample photo opportunities, and some much needed shade from the sun.
We cycled on to another temple, Banteay Srei, where we had lunch before exploring the intricate carvings that have been remarkably preserved at this 10th century temple.
Having refueled and refreshed, it was then time to pick up the pace so that we could complete our 80kms and still make it back to town in time for our evening plans. With 30kms still to cycle, this was not going to be easy, but our guide, Lot, was not prepared for the determination of Team WK. We zoomed through the next 20kms, at which point we hit about 4kms of some of the worst road we’d ever encountered. The shouts of ‘pot hole!’ could be heard reverberating through the group, but this didn’t really capture the craters that we had to manoeuvre around. One of us toppled on this section, which whilst it wasn’t our first fall (by far!), it was the most painful landing. We took the next section a bit more gingerly, and were grateful to hit the main road for the final stretch. We passed through busy markets on the outskirts of town at rush hour, which was hectic and fun, and soon reached the bus, waiting to pick us up and take us back to the hotel.
A quick turn around was needed to get us out the door for dinner and over to Phare, the Cambodian Circus. This circus is remarkable, and if you every get the chance, do go. The performers are all graduates of a school set up to give Cambodian youths from some of the most difficult social and economic backgrounds the opportunity for economic empowerment.
And so Day 2 comes to an end. With a great sense of achievement, we completed our 80kms cycle. The team are in great spirits, and we are buoyed by the support we’re receiving from you all at home. Keep the encouragement coming!