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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Day 29 – 116km – 20.7 km/hr – Khao Lak to Kata Beach, Phuket. How I got to Crew at Kings Cup.

Finally got a great 'pull' by drafting this Mopad
or restaurant on wheels.
I’m not sure if I’m tired … bored, low on electrolytes, or just hot … but I felt terribly slow today. There was a big shoulder much of the way … with a fair amount of traffic. (Nothing worst than riding on 22x South of Calgary or HWY 8 to Bragg Creek.)

I’ve been trying to get mopads to ‘motor pace’ me a for much of the trip … however, for the most part they have no idea what I’m doing … and will either speed up or slow down … hardly acknowledging that I’m trying to ‘work’ with them.  I got a good ride today in this mopads draft! 

I arrived at the Kata Beach Hotel at 1pm … and met the other 11 crew at 3pm. We had some drinks and went for supper. The owner of Shatoosh, Peter Creamers, owns a construction company in Hong Kong.  He has a full time crew of 3 (all from the Phillippines.) 

Tim originally from New Zealand, lives in Hong Kong – he’s our Strategist.
Ollie from Auckland is our lead Bowsman. He makes sails for North Sails. (I will be working most of the week on the Bow.)
Nigel, originally from England is in the insurance business in Hong Kong. I’m staying at him 2nd home nearby.
Panda – from Australia – sails everyday.
James – from Essex – is in Property. He has sailed and raced all over the world.
X – from Dublin – a pilot.

I think what got me on the boat was a connection to Rob Tanner. Rob, originally from Charlottetown, owns a construction company in Hong Kong. He has sailed and raced all over the world … and has worked for and with Peter. 

Peter responded to my ad on the "Notice Board" of Phuket King's Cup Regatta:
"Been sailing all my life – mostly on < 19’ catamarans and dingies. Since turning 40 eight years ago, I have convinced Sun Sail that I am capable of renting and captaining 39-41’ monohulls in Carribean and Thailand!

I’ve done a few Ocean races on Canada’s East Coast (Grew up in Prince Edward Island.)

I’m taking a 90 day sabattical from selling homes in Calgary, Ablerta and will be cycling SE Asia prior and after Kings Cup.

I’m fit (5 time Ironman athlete) and still racing bicyles. 73 kilos.

Got a place for me?

Thank you for your consideration,

Peter replied that he thought he did have a place for me, and suggested that Rob was a ‘fellow country man’ of mine.

In any case – I’m on the 75’ performance cruiser, Shatoosh.

Feeling very happy and grateful for this experience!


Since learning about the Kings Cup race three years ago, I had it in my mind that I would like to race it.  I enquired to renting a boat for this years race, but I could not get one for less than 10 days … at a cost of > $15,000.

Funny Spectacle - not sure how to play this sport ... but there was
a bird in each cage. A huge crowd watching! I was looking for reasons to stop biking today
and enjoyed watching for a bit. I have no idea how this picture has so few people in it
as the grounds were FULL of people watching!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Day 28 - November 28, 2014 – 200 km - Ranong to Khao Lak

Not my longest day in the saddle … but my 2nd longest day. (The longest and way hard day with MANY hills was on my birthday in Laos – Nov 22 - click here for a recount of that special epic day.)
Oh ... here's the video of my day of many flats on November 23. Laos is Spectacular!
Today was not a particularly interesting ride … so had fun listening to
-      - The Art of Learning
-       -Vegabonding
-     -  Kevin Rose … who stated digg

Enjoyed meeting Stefan from Cologne, Germany. At 45 he committed to taking a year off for a cycling tour when he turned 50. (He's 50 now.) He’s rode 4000 km in Europe and 2000 in Thailand since August. He flies to Australia soon, then New Zealand … to be home in August.

He provided me with a few suggestions on routes to Phuket that would be most interesting. (There aren’t many options … but there is a couple of smaller road choices.)

It was funny ... when he met me ... I was (as usual) in full cycling kit ... going hard and sweating up a storm.  As soon as he saw me he said, "Wow, it really is sport for you, hun?"

I have met about 15 cycle tourers to date ... and have yet to see one with bike shoes, jersey or even cycling shorts! (My standard kit ... except I wear one cycling shoe and one sneaker!)

Stefan from Cologne, German - on the bike since August.
I decided I would not look for a place to stay until I had ridden at least 200km.  At 190km there were options ... at 198km there were options. I was tempted ... but at same time I secretly hoped there would be no options at 200km and would have to ride more ... but there were a ton.
I checked into a place at 200.4 Km's!

It feels like it may be town after town for the next 115 km to Kata Beach Resort.

That's fine.
I've done over 2000km of riding since November 2. I'm ready for some sailing beginning tomorrow! :-)

Coffee and Snack - 50km into ride today.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Day 27 – Nov 27 -Bus from Bangkok to Chumphon – then bike to Ranong - Haircut - 120km - Bus from Bangkok to Chumphone – then bike to Ranong - 120km

Those fucking Thai's. Don't always beleive 'em. I was dropped here at
3am and told the connector bus would be here in 40min.
At 9:30am I started the ride from Chumphon to Ranong - 120km.
Had a bit of a disaster bus ride from Bangkok.  I paid for me and the bike … but arriving at the bus … the driver REALLY did not want to load my bike.
In the end, the bike was loaded … but I had a few unpleasant interactions with the jerk bus driver.

At 3am, he woke me up … screaming that this was my stop.
My bike and bags were already unloaded … I found a bench and was told the connector bus to Renong would be here in about 30 or 40 min.

Got a hair cut, and shave, and eye brow trim, and ears and nose!
At 7:30am I noticed the scewer bolt was gone for my rear wheel. (Pretty sure that the bus driver is fucking with me.)  Got it sorted it out with some help … and waited until 9. At this point my bus ticket has been looked at soo many times … that it is now missing.  They tell me there is another bus coming at 9:30 … but I will have to pay again. It’s 100 Baht …  about $3.30.  I’m fed up.

I get on my bike and ride.

Coming from Northern Laos … this is a rather boring ride.

I have 315 km to go in next two days … to be at Kata Beach Resort for “Crew Briefing” of Satosha on Saturday at 3pm.

I’ll do 200km tomorrow and 115 on Saturday by 1:30pm. Yes. I can do that.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Day 26 – Myanmar Visa, Suit & Shirt Tailoring, Break Pads & tubes, Map of Myanmar

Arrived at Bangkok at  4:40am from Chiang Kong. I was close to getting on my bike and trying to find the Burma Embasssy – but was glad I opted for a taxi.  We found the Embassy about 5:30 … and then looked for a wi-fi CafĂ©.
Taxi left me at MacDonalds.
Myanmar Embassy - line up for a Visa at 7:30am.

The 2nd last requirement I needed for a Visa was a plane ticket showing I was departing the country. I looked at dates and times, and booked a flight departing Bangkok on Dec 12.
At 7:30am, I rode my bike the 3’ish Km to the Burma Embassy, and was about 30th in line.
The ride was exhilarating … traffic moves likes bee’s swarming. It’s very cool.

I was about 30th in line … just behind Neils. Neils was a dutch kid doing a Food and Hospitality Internship.  Neils held my spot when I went back to a lady in a van who was offering to photocopy passports for 5 baht. ( last reqirement I was missing to get the Visa.)

At 9am the door opened and we rushed to the cubicle. Paperwork was checked, and our number was provided. I was number 24. Wait some more.  At 10:30am my number came up – I paid my 1260 Baht and was told to come back at 3:30.

I met Peter and Orsula … crazy couple form Hungry – who said they would keep an eye on my bike.

I got in a taxi and went to James Fashion. I ordered 2 suites, 4 pants, 6 dress shirts, 1 casual shirt and 1 shorts. 
I opted to follow Peter and Ursula to find a book store near "Back Packers" Street -
Khaosan St. It was a fun ride. We were lost lots.

Then another taxi to a bike shop and back to the Embassy to wait in line for the 3:30 door opening!

Upon getting the Visa, Peter and Orsala invited to join them to find a book store where they were told we could get maps of Burma.
I was really happy to ride with them … they had navigation skills like me! (However, they were much more relaxed about it … and had some great laughs.)

Despite being the ‘best prepared’ (helmets and bright vests) cycle tourers I’ve run into … I was laughing at how they rode … and their lack of fear and complete disregard for ‘rules’.  My uptight Calgarian cycling friends could learn a few lessons from these two … anywhere …. But especially in Bangkok.

Peter and Orsula own a bar in Hungry on the famous Cycling Trail called “Eurpean Cycling Six”.  It a 2200Km + trail along the Denupe (I think staring in Germany.)
-       Must add that one to the list! I’m sure Shirley would enjoy this – no traffic ever apparently!
I loved my ride. Finding Khanosan Street was huge fun. We passed thorugh many cool markets … and just landing on this “Back Packers” Street was so much fun.

We found maps, I found a bus ticket South, ate some delicious Pad Thai on the street … and loaded a bus for Ranong at 6pm.

A Great day in Bangkok!

Day 25 – Evernote Learning – Burma Research – Ride to Phuket Research – Bus to Bangkok

Sunrise over the Mekong, ChiangKhong Green Inn.
Before going to bed, I learned the bus to Bangkok was at 8am.

I set my alarm for 5:20am and had a cold shower. I got outside for a quick stroll (I like this town a lot!) then got down to some learning:
-I was able to get a pretty good grasp on Evernote (It’s awesome for keeping track of travel idea’s, itineraries, airline confirmations, etc.)  I THINK it is especially awesome for premium account holders ($5 per month) to be able to use off line when there is no wi-fi. (However, I am now on bus with no Wi-Fi and it does not work! Typical me! I think you have to ‘allow’ it or something. Fucking Fuck.
- I learned how to down load a movie on Itunes! Looking forward to watching “Inside Job” – a documentary on those fucking few banking bastards who brought down the economy in the sub-prime crisis. (I feel that this 90 day ‘sabbatical’ is ‘fall out’ from the sub-prime crisis.)
- I think I figured out Downcast. I’ve been somewhat enjoying Tim Ferriss’s blog and podcast. However, I’m still not sure when I have it downloaded or streamed. It’s been a tad frustrating.

At 6am I confirmed the bus to Bangkok was at 8am. At 7am I thought I would try to get  some food … and double confirm the bus was at 8am.
Nope – bus is at 3:30 or 4pm.

I spent the day reading about Burma, and Learning Evernote. (I also found a kind of bike shop that had tubes that I Think will fit.)

Currently on a VERY comfortable bus (with a Stewart who has offered me water, Beal Juice and buns a total of 5 times since starting this ride 3 hours ago!) Scheduled to arrive in Bangkok at 5 am.

Plan going forward:
·      5-7am – find Wi-Fi and book flights to Burma. (Required to get a Visa)
·      7am – Get in line at Burma (Myamar) Embassy to get a “Visa in a day” (Hopefully get paperwork in and be done by 10am … to return at 3:30pm for collection.)
·      Visit James Fashion and get 5 white shirts tailored and a suite. (To do this right … one should have a min of 2 fittings … and 5 is preferable.) If good planning has it, I’ll have another fitting on 11th and a 3rd on 18th or 19th prior to flying home.)
·      Visit Bike Store - brake pads, tubes, better patch kit, shoes? (one sneaker and one cycling shoe is working pretty well.)
·      Tempted to get a ‘good’ camera. May have a look.
·      Take a night bus to Ragoon? (It’s about 5 hours I think. More research required.)
·      Thursday to Saturday: Ride 300 Km to Kata Beach Resort and Marina to arrive by 3pm on Saturday, Nov 29 to Crew on the 72’ Shatoosh for the Kings Cup Sailing Regatta.
·      Sail until Dec 11
·      Dec 11-18 – Fly Mandalay, Burma. Pretty sure I will cycle West to Rakhine State. (Big festival in Sitttwe that I should research a little more … to see if the dates work.)

·      Dec 19 – Home Sweet Home!