Blood is seeping through two layers of pants. The entire knee is cut open. Before I took the turn I felt the loose gravel on the road and in a flash it took me back to when I was sixteen and the bike slid from underneath me because I braked on gravel. You’d think I had learned by now! My heart is pounding in my throat ‘cause I feel the same thing happening again…
The back tire is already skipping sideways a bit, but then thankfully I remember to let go of the brake and the gas, allowing the bike to return to normal. This all happened so fast, I didn’t even realize I was holding my breath. The girl is holding her wrist and the guy on the floor, with the bloody knee, shows agony on his face. These people must have made the same mistake as I almost did, causing them to collide. There’s enough Vietnamese people around to help them, so I decide to keep on driving, very aware of the gravel now and the changing road conditions.
As I accelerate and switch to a higher gear, I feel the power underneath me. Only less than a week ago I overcame my fear of riding a bike and now here I am on the bike. Not using an automatic but a manual all by my lonesome and I must say, it feels pretty damn good! Every turn is different and I have no clue what to expect around the corner.
I hear the water before I even see it. When I look to the left, this gorgeous green blue water in a stream goes down in between gigantic impressive rocks. Kadunk! Whoopsie, pothole! I wasn’t prepared for that one, but it put me back in focus mode.
Up ahead I see more bumps coming. The road is shifting from a sturdy cement road to only dirt, mud and potholes. I lift up my behind, stand up halfway and lean forward as if I’m riding a horse that is about to make a nice jump. I feel as though, just like the horse needs some guidance and less resistance, so does my bike. Bump, bump bump, hobble, hobble, hobble. I ride them effortlessly and laugh out loud, feeling like a little kid. Learning something new always gives me that feeling of excitement and an adrenaline kick.
I still have a couple of hours driving ahead of me when my entire body is enveloped in the mist of the low hanging clouds. The sunglasses on my face no longer serve the same purpose. Thirty minutes ago, they were still keeping the dust from reaching my eyes, but at this point they are somewhat protecting my face from the cold. I am shivering intensely even though I am wearing six layers of clothing, big boots, two pairs of gloves, a hoody underneath my helmet and a mouth cap. I look sexy as hell ; )
Should I go back? The weather changed within the blink of an eye, just as I left the last town of the ‘Motorbike loop’. You still have a couple of hours to go and this was the last town where you could possibly stay the night. I’m freezing my ass off and I start to understand what the Italian Flavio was talking about before I actually took off for the loop “You will be sufferingue” he said “but iet will be beautifoel.” I know what you mean, I think to myself as I no longer can feel my hands. The fog has completely blinded me. I can see about half a meter in front of my bike. The lights don’t seem to work, so I quickly adjust my speed to stay close to the bike in front of me.
We move like that together for a while. Suddenly, he takes a turn. I get startled and feel lost for a second. There are not many people on the road. I switch gears and speed up to find a new driving buddy. Thank goodness! Tail lights up ahead. Luckily, he stays on the same road for a while and then finally, after about an hour of holding on tightly, I can relax. The clouds clear and the sun reappears.
All excited and proud of myself I shout out “I made it!!!” to the lady from the hostel. “It got a bit scary though, when I needed the lights and found out they weren’t working” I add. She walks over to the bike, flips a hidden switch and taddaaaaa. Then there was light. Whoopsie! Haha. I shrug. Ah well, I still feel badass! No silly hidden lights can take that away from me : )