Day 4. Kampot to Bokor to Kampot: Finally, some hills.

Posted: April 2, 2015 in Dahon Touring 2013
Tags: ,

Tuesday January 15, 2013, 68 km (42 miles) – Total so far: 245 km (152 miles)

I woke up feeling much lighter in the head and in the bowels as I really have nothing left to excrete. As I also have no tummy cramps, this must be a very good sign. Nevertheless, during breakfast, our director of medical services, in his usual magnanimous manner sought to prescribe me some meds for the runs which I think and hope has runned away from my system.

Today will be a rest day for some and a mountain stage for some others. As it turns out no one wanted to miss out cycling up to the Bokor plateau, least of all me. It’s about a 1000 m climb 25 kms with the road flattening out after 20. The road out of town essentially still Hwy 3, leads to the park entrance, a nice 10 km warm up ride.

Again we were blessed with apt weather for the whole ride. What started out as dark gloomy skies, remained gloomy, but it didn’t really rain. A slight mist hung in the air and hillsides, as we climbed slowly along gentle gradients that didn’t strained our gears and legs too much.

It would have been much tougher if the sun was really out and blazing, as there was not much shade to speak of on Cambodia’s finest 25 kms of tarmac.

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 The climb turned out pretty well. I did not have to stop and find a stick to switch to a smaller front chain ring of 39T. I had modified the stock 53T, which was way too big for touring with a load, much less a hill climb, and downsized it to a 46T which was perfect.

Last night’s lack of sleep wasn’t a bother too, as if I was sleepy on a bike, I might as well stop and lie down in a quiet spot. The group was quite spread out, along the inclines and I was also alone for quite sometime, enveloped in cool air, with the screams of faraway gibbons in the trees.

This Bokor hill station, much preferred in the past by the French for it’s cool climate, is virtually a jungle clad plateau, which used to have an elephant and tiger population. The new road that we climbed on was only completed in November or December of 2011. Talk about our good timing.

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Aaahhhh ?? What? It’s been renovated !

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Originally mouldier and slimier

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Nice views if not cloudy

The French of course used it to build a casino of sorts as well as a Catholic Church. I wonder which building one should patronise first ? The old casino has since been abandoned as well as the church. There’s a new spanking sprawling casino now, some condominium housing, huge parking lots, and what looks like a convention center, but no new church. I guess the ‘god of gamblers’ won. That title also belongs to a very successful Hong Kong movie.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_Gamblers

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At the summit, with the new casino in yellow

At mid day we managed to get some take away lunch from an eatery near the uncompleted Buddha, there are some fruit and drink stalls there too as well as a a spanking new toilet which I gladly needed no use of. The new casino had a lunch buffet with varying prices from US$5 to $12 depending on who you asked !

After lingering at the top for too long, taking photos, cracking jokes, some even exchanging bikes, it was time to turn around. We had to anyway as near the old casino some men stood guard behind a gantry and said this is as far as we go. A luxurious villa in the distance with shiny new SUVs lined up outside got me thinking that some despot is still in control of this mountain and it’s goings on at least.

At least he was kind enough to let us play on his perfect mountain road for the $5.00 entry fee we paid at the entrance. And played we did on the downhill.

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What goes up WILL go down……

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