Doing Thai Massage takes strength and stamina, and I revel in physical challenges to keep me in shape. Cycling is one of my great passions and I was able to indulge that passion in spades this weekend.
My big plan was to ride the 100 km Samoeng Loop road that circles around the Doi Sutep mountain range on Saturday. There is a 1400 metre elevation change with some serious switchbacks and steep ascents and descents, but I was feeling up to it. Not, however, with my single speed “Create” bicycle.
The road bike I was to pick up Friday night from NK bike rental just outside the southeast corner of the old city walls didn’t get back to the shop in time. So the owner rented me a great Trek road bike and even threw in his own cycling shoes which happened to be a perfect fit. This is very unusual, as finding a bike big enough for me wasn’t easy, and to find a bike shop owner with the same size feet was uncanny.
After I picked up the bike, I met Nicole and Kelly at “Cooking Love” restaurant Friday for THE best mango chicken curry with rice and a whole fish. Then Nicole and I went gallery hopping as part of Galleries’ Night, an event organized by the Chiang Mai Art Conversation (CAC). Studios, galleries, event spaces such at Thaphae East, art cafes, and others, hosted art and photography exhibits, open studios, documentary films, live music, and provided free food and beverages (including beer!) Friday and Saturday night. It was an amazing event that took me all over the city, over the two nights.
By 7:30 am Saturday morning I donned my Bike Dr. cycling gear and set off for the Samoeng loop. Within the first 90 minutes I had two flat tires! Fortunately, I had a pump and repair kit with me so all I lost was time.
It was a beautiful and challenging ride through the mountains with many places to stop. On the trip I took breaks at a great cafe, several look out spots, a small town for lunch, and at a strawberry farm. There were spectacular views that I stopped to look at whenever it was safe, or when I needed to give my butt a rest.
Total cycling time was about five hours, and the total trip time with all the flats and breaks was about seven and a half hours. When I got back into the city I had my favourite banana black sesame smoothy at Pun Pun, then headed home for a shower before going to the Lanna Health Spa for a massage. It was a perfect end to the cycle trip.
Then I spent the night cycling around the Galleries’ Night events, including a documentary screening on a roof top where jumbo jets from the CNX airport took off directly over our heads. I also came upon a rock concert I was able to watch from outside the fence for a bit (sold out crowd of 10,000 people!), and of course I ate and ate and ate.
One more day and I begin my five week course at TMC (Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai).