At 0500 we are sent on our way, in the dark. This is my first experience of night riding in a group and on unfamiliar roads...initially somewhat alarmed by the experience I ride ultra-carefully but, after 10km or so, I relax and ride confidently with the leading group at speeds up to 40kph on this pan-flat route with its village dogs, pot-holes and villagers spreading their rice harvest on the road to dry in the anticipated sun. I have 2 small but reasonably bright headlights, purchased specifically for this early start, and am pleased with their performance.
At about 40km one of our group gets a puncture in his front wheel, so we all take a 10 minute break while Olie [our group leader and a very capable bike mechanic] replaces the tube.
After 45km we come to Prasat Ban Pluang, a lovely Khmer Ruin site just 25 km from my house and which I have shown on SC before, where the first Checkpoint has been set up. Here our Trip Passports are stamped, and rice porridge is served...tastes great, and fills the stomach satisfyingly.
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