CHALLENGE VIETNAM BIKE ROUTE TEST
Nine months ago I brought my bicycle to Nha Trang with the hopes of conquering Hon Giao. Unfortunately, a fever forced me off the route and into the hospital. Before my first attempt, I was warned about the intensity of the race; I was told the hills were steep and the wind was strong, even stronger than in Tri An. I was a bit relieved when I didn’t have to bike it, if I’m being honest. But once I reached the finish line on my second attempt, I finally understood. It is grueling, but the views more than make up for the pain.
You start near the 2/4 Square, and then ride for 9 km on a (mostly) flat coastal road. After cycling over Tran Phu Bridge, you’re abruptly met with a short ascent at Pham Van Dong Street. After these 9km, you enter the loop area, where you travel an 18 km stretch 4 times. A short hill greets you at the beginning of the loop area, followed by the Amiana Resort. In the resort itself, there are 3 more hills. They are not too steep – the hills are reminiscent of Pagoda Hill on Pham Van Dong Street – but they are a little long; each hill is about 300m. After 4 consecutive hills, you get a much deserved break. The next 200m or so is all downhill. I let gravity do all the work for this part, and it was quite relaxing, I must say.
Once you hit the 14th kilometer, you go up 2 humps and down 1 more. Kilometer 16 is the largest downhill drop of the route. It is about 600m long, and the last big hill of the loop. Leaning forward to make yourself more aerodynamic helps build momentum, which allows you to enjoy the wind rushing on your face and cools you off a little.
After the long hill, you come upon a picturesque fishing village where you must traverse a few more short hills. If you start losing momentum and motivation, use the amazing view on your left side as inspiration to keep going. The wonderful sight of the deep blue water will surely give you a power boost to finish your route. After going back through Amiana Resort, it is only 400 more meters until the end of your first loop. After finishing the loop 3 more times, you will go back the way you came the first time. Cycle through the 9km flat route back to 2/4 Square and finish.
Overall, this route is not as challenging as Tri An, but it is definitely harder than IM Danang. The hot, humid weather will cause exhaustion if you don’t properly hydrate before the race too. To better prepare yourself for the Challenge Vietnam biking portion, you should:
1) Practice your uphill/downhill techniques, especially the downhill ones. You can go slowly uphill, but with a strong downhill, you can get momentum back on your side.
2) Train in warm weather. The sun rises as early as 5:30AM in Nha Trang, and race time is 7:00AM, so the sun will play a factor for sure.
3) Lastly, the only way to get better at cycling is to continually practice. Training on a route with hills is best, as it will prepare you for race day. Have a great time training, and we will see you in Nha Trang this July!
Written by To Phuong – Ambassador of IPPGroup Challenge Vietnam 2019