Thailand: Tour of Friendship Stage Two

It was definitely a day to remember here in Thailand: It was a stage of epic biblical proportions! All the riders were hit with a massive thunderstorm that wrecked chaos in the peloton. Wade Wallace over at Cyclingtipsblog says “Today was THE craziest day of bike racing I’ve ever experienced. I’ve done a lot of bike races, so that’s a pretty big statement.”


We are racing in the middle of Monsoon season here in Thailand and today a massive storm hit at mid-stage of the race with lightning forks and crack of thunder happening almost at the same time. Even I could hear the raging thunder without my hearing aids during the race so that I jumped with each clap of thunder. I saw lightning strike telephone poles all around me as we raced at break-neck speeds through massive puddles that were forming on the roads.  We also had to contend with Thailand’s notorious traffic, often weaving between slow moving trucks and receiving heavy spray from the faster moving vehicles!

Waiting at the start of Stage 2

The race was aggressive from the start with many riders launching attacks one after the other. I was the instigator of a few myself and bridged across to the winning break with Lewis Fellas (Racing Force). Once we got across to the break, we injected fresh pace and increased the time gap between the peloton. After about 90km of racing, I unfortunately punctured out of the break and waited on the side of the road for a wheel-change. It never came. In fact, the peloton and the rest of the convoy never passed me either! The lead vehicle and our breakway had gone down the wrong road and ended up doing a longer route while the chase group and peloton went another direction…

The breakaway is going....

I spent 45mins sitting on the edge of the free-way, under POURING rain waiting for a support vehicle or the peloton to come past. I was also sprayed buckets of water by the heavy trucks that rumbled by. Fortunately, the motorbike commissionaire came back and handed me a bag with a couple of bottles of water, an energy drink and some custard buns to eat during my wait! That was my consolation after feeling so good in the breakaway.  This was the first time ever that I have been stranded without any rider or support in sight…

The organizers decided to call off the race and neutralize everyone except for the five riders in the open group that almost completed the full distance. This caused heated discussions among the riders on the time gaps and who should be where etc.  Things certainly were “heated” but at the end of the day, this is the Tour of Friendship – it is about making friends and not creating enemies 😉