We cycled 55 km in light rain on Friday morning, making our way to Đầm Lập An (Lap An lagoon) and the base of our assent of the Hai Van Pass. Other than getting completely drenched and a bit chilled, it was a fantastic ride. Crossing the Cau Tu Hien Bridge near Thon Phu An provided our first view of the South China Sea with deep green mountains as backdrop. The rain stopped toward the end of the morning, and we were left with misty clouds that gave our ride up the pass an ethereal quality and a different beauty that we might have experienced with sunshine.
Our 30 km afternoon ride was fueled by a meal of noodles, veggies, and fresh seafood. Really fresh in that the the outdoor restaurant had tubs filled with all manner of live seafood including the shrimp, octopus, and squid that made it into our lunch. Especially delicious accompanied by hot ginger tea.
Our afternoon ride began with an easy-paced 10 km ride around the lagoon before starting our assent to Hai Van Pass. This is the same road as the photo on our home page: 1505 feet elevation gain in 10 km, often at 5-10% grade.
We were an intrepid group with each of us making it to the top. John, an experienced cyclist, made it in 38 minutes (including time lost when his chain popped off)! Barry made it without stopping (except for a quick repair of a flat rear tire). Andy and Kar Ho both beat Barry to the top, each stopping along the way for photos. Anja and Sharon teamed up, providing encouragement for one another throughout the climb. We were the last two in and enjoyed the congratulations and high fives from all of our travel mates! Hai An Pass was a beautiful if daunting climb that left us with a sense of accomplishment as individuals and as a group!
And then there was the descent into Da Nang – an exhilarating 10 km ride down hill from the pass. Seeing the expanse of the city and Da Nang Bay in the distance was breathtaking!
Total distance for the day – 85 km! Total elevation gain for the day – 2099 feet! We were all ready to board the bus in Da Nang for a short ride into Hoi An. Hot showers!