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Team Dai 2009 – Fundraising ride from Vientiane to Luang Prabang

posted Jan 14, 2012, 9:42 PM by Bruce Knox   [ updated Jan 14, 2012, 9:42 PM ]

Team Dai 2009 – Fundraising ride from Vientiane to Luang Prabang 

Rider Information Sheet 

History: 

Team Dai was formed in early 2008 by two teachers interested in riding from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. It was thought that making it a fund raising ride might help to give it a purpose. The original aim was to raise $1000. 
    As word spread that this was being planned, more and more riders asked to join in. Suddenly there were 10. A team logo was designed, a website was created, cycle shirts were printed, a support vehicle was organised, training rides were ridden and the word was out that the team was looking for sponsorship money. An online facility for donations was set up and the support flourished. And then the team rode. 
    For many riders, it was one of their greatest accomplishments. It is a long way to ride in three days and there are some long, long hills to climb but the companionship was excellent, the weather fine and the thrill of riding through some of the best scenery in Laos ever-present. 
    The team raised just short of $7000 which was amazing. The funds were spent on supplies for a school outside Luang Prabang, support of a woman running a single women's shelter and orphanage in Luang Prabang, building refurbishments and supplies for a local Vientiane school and supplies for three schools on the outskirts of Vang Vieng. 


The Ride: 

    The ride will begin in the early hours of March 7 from the Fa Ngum Statue park opposite the Novotel hotel (exact time to be decided). 
Day 1 starts in Vientiane and ends 160km to the north in Vang Vieng and will see riders in the saddle for approximately 8 hours. The first 80km are flat and the second 80km could be described as undulating hills. This is the longest day of the trip in terms of distance covered. The elevation gain is minimal. An early departure allows for extra time to recuperate and rest and get a massage if needed. 
Day 2 begins again at an early hour from Vang Vieng and ends in Phu Khun, some 100km to the north and 1000m higher in elevation. This is the most demanding day. The first 75km or so is undulating hills with some larger ascents sprinkled throughout and the last 25km is an unrelenting climb. Again, this day sees riders on the road for approximately 8 hours. 
Day 3 departs from the heights of Phu Khun in the darkness and chill of early morning and is interspersed with exhilarating downhills, the longest of which approximately 30km, and demanding uphills from 5-20km long. The final 10km of the 130km day is all downhill! Yet again, 8 hours in the saddle is to be expected. 

Preparation: 

    It cannot be stressed enough that this is a ride for which every rider must prepare and train. Not only do the training rides build up the fitness levels required for such an event, but experience has shown that spending hours in the saddle gets the part of the body most intimately acquainted with the saddle into riding condition. It is much better to get saddle sore early in the training routine than four hours into day one! 
    Participating in the training rides also allows for all team members to get to know each other and really enjoy the social aspect of this event. 

Lodging: 

    Night 1 - We will attempt to book rooms for all riders at The Elephant Crossing Hotel in Vang Vieng for the first night. This is a mid-range $25-50 per night hotel situated overlooking the Nam Song river. There is a wide variety of eating possibilities for the evening dinner and a host of massage places available for those aching and tired muscles. 
    Night 2 – Lodging in Phu Khun, as of the time of writing, is extremely basic. We may find ourselves sharing a room, a double bed and an extremely cold shower with one of our team mates (showering can be done on an individual basis). We will be visiting Phu Khun before the trip to scout out what is available in order to book the best there is to offer (last year there were small shrimp in the water bucket used for showering!!!!) 
    Night 3 (if you choose to stay in Luang Prabang on the Monday night) – Lodging in LP is up to each team member to organise for themselves. Some riders will be staying for the whole week for a well earned holiday and some will be returning to VTE on the Monday evening flight. 

Transportation of Riders & Bikes: 

    Transportation from LP at the conclusion of the ride is up to each individual team member to arrange. Lao Airlines are happy to take bikes on the plane unboxed. The support vehicle will be able to take a limited number of bikes back to VTE. 

Food & Water: 
    
    During each day of the ride, the support vehicle will carry fruit and water for all riders to share. 
    Day 1 
•    Breakfast – (Riders to arrange) 
•    Lunch – Roadside noodle stall, noodles 
•    Dinner – (Riders to arrange) 
Day 2 
•    Breakfast – Hotel, scrambled eggs, bacon, bread, juice, cereal 
•    Lunch – Roadside restaurant in the mountains, noodles, chicken, etc 
•    Dinner – Phu Khun restaurant, whatever they happen to be serving that evening. 
Day 3 
•    Breakfast – Phu Khun lodgings, fruit, energy bars, bread, whatever we have brought with us 
•    Lunch – Kiewkacham sandwich shop, sandwiches 
•    Dinner – (Riders to arrange) 

Other food – It is recommended that each rider bring his/her own supply of energy bars/gels/etc and rehydration salts to carry with them (or take from the support vehicle) during each day of riding. 

Support: 

    The support vehicle will travel with the team each day. It will drive ahead and stop at predetermined distances and will have fresh fruit and water available. All baggage can be transported by the support vehicle, leaving each rider free of panniers and other equipment. Should there be a medical emergency, the support vehicle will be available to transport the injured rider to the nearest centre for medical assistance (see more info below). 

Fundraising: 

    All team members are expected to promote the ride as much as possible and seek sponsorship from their network of family and friends. An online donation facility using PayPal is being set up and you will be informed when it goes live. Please do your best to make the fund raising effort as successful as the ride. Discussions are currently underway with two organisations in Laos to determine the best way to distribute funds raised. More details to come. 

Medical Emergencies: 

    For those living in Laos it will come as no surprise to hear that there are no recommendable medical facilities along the route that we will travel. Should anything of a serious nature happen then the nearest reputable medical assistance is in Thailand and would require a long road trip to get there. Ambulances and medivac facilities also cannot be considered. This being said, the support vehicle will carry a fairly comprehensive first aid kit and some of the team members have first aid training. Last year the first aid kit was never opened and hopefully will continue to be useless baggage. 

Equipment & Equipment Failure: 

    Each rider must have their own bike to ride. It must be of sufficient quality to stand up to 24 hours of riding on sealed but potholed roads and must have good brakes (for the big downhills!). It is essential that riders carry water with them during the day so drink bottles and/or back-pack hydration systems are recommended. Padded cycle shorts are also essential pieces of equipment (for obvious reasons!). 
    Team Dai lycra cycle jerseys will be printed and available for purchase (last year around $25 each) and we are also considering printing t-shirts for this year's ride. 
    It is each rider's responsibility to bring spare parts for anticipated breakages, which would generally only be spokes and tubes. If available, the support vehicle will carry a spare bike should any major equipment failure occur amongst the team. 

Costs: 

    At the start of the ride, all riders are asked to contribute $XX for night one and two accommodation and $50 towards trip expenses. These expenses include: 

•    Support vehicle petrol 
•    Food and water 
•    All lunches, day two dinner and day three breakfast 
•    Support vehicle tolls 
•    Support driver payment 

Note: as these expenses cannot be accurately predicted, any shortfall will need to be funded by further contributions from team members and any left over funds will be distributed back to team members equally. 


And if there are any further questions, please email Bruce at knokker@gmail.com. 

Cheers, 

Bruce Knox 
Team Dai Organiser

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