I wanted to write a quick blog to talk about the amazing road trip I had whilst looking for a new cycling route for school teams. We have been discussing establishing a proper 4 day/3 night cycling route for quite some time now unfortunately life has been getting in the way of making it a reality. So finally I twisted Bunlay‰’s arm and we stuck in the diary a two day adventure to discover a suitable route. Now for anyone who has ever ‰recce‰‰ routes and activities, it is never as straight forward as it seems. And what may appear to be an amazing route with loads of interesting stuff to see along the way, simply becomes logistically unworkable. The key thing is often where will the team stay each night this is ok if we are just talking about a handful of people but with a group of over 20 or perhaps up to 30 or 40, it becomes a serious pain in the planning process. And particularly in rural sections of Cambodia, there is very little in the way of half decent places to stay. We also need to think about suitability of the roads (we don‰’t want to be on busy roads obviously) but if we are too off the beaten track then we run the risk of limited support if something goes wrong. The time of year and especially the heavy rains can turn what appears to be a great little track in November into an impassable muddy nightmare in May. Other considerations include how shaded the route is, access points for re-supply by support vehicle or evacuation of any injured individuals, terrain it crosses (not too much steep up!), friendly locals (animals and people!), interesting stuff to see along the way, make sure it‰’s a journey and not simply going round in circles, and of course make sure its fun and challenging. We have been thinking that a ‰journey‰ from one camp to another would be an excellent idea not only does it have a ‰purpose, it also aids with support because teams can be briefed and organized from our own camp at our leisure. On average we are looking at about 50-70km per day of cycling, which at a slow and steady pace of 10-15kph should give a nice test each day.

And so we headed out for a two day recce trip, covering all the possible routes and tracks from our camps at Beng Pae to Beng Mealea. This involved lots of re-setting of the odometer, measuring distances from set points, driving down dead ends and searching for places to stay and visit. The fantastic thing about doing this is that you see stuff you are very unlikely to see otherwise. And whilst it was many hours of bouncing around on a dusty track, we stopped off and saw some great stuff…..To be continued……watch out for Part 2 in a few days…..