Leg 6: Tân Sơn-
On this leg, we rode from Tan Son to the Dalat. To get there, we had to overcome two large mountain passes: Ngoan Muc and Dran. Figuring it would be a long biking day, we departed Tan Son early in the morning. After riding 12 km out of town, we encountered Ngoan Muc Pass. Ngoan Muc Pass is a 20 km climb where the road snakes back and forth from the bottom to the top of the mountain. It was a difficult climb and took us from two to three hour to climb it. We came prepared for the climb by eating a hearty breakfast and by drinking lots of fluids. There is little inhabitants or buildings along this pass other than a big water delivery pipe that descends from the mountain top down to Tan Son. At the top of the Ngoan Muc pass are food/water vendors that decked their goods for display and sale. At this mountain top, we rested and gathered ourselves before continuing. 10 km further from the mountain top is the town, Don Duong. At the heart of this town lies the next mountain pass, Dran, our next climb. Luckily, this town has some nice restaurants. Here, we rested and ate lunch in preparation for climbing Dran Pass. Although only half the distance (10 km) of Ngoan Muc Pass, the road is narrower and steeper, making it a much more difficult climb. In the past rides (1999, 2002, 2003, 2005), not many 4 wheel motor vehicles travel this pass. This year (2009), however, was different. We saw many 4 wheel motor vehicles. Being small and steep makes the road especially dangerous, but with 4 wheel vehicles, the road now is even more dangerous to bikers. Be especially mindful when climbing this pass. This leg is undoubtedly the most challenging leg of the ride, so spend a day to rest and recoup in Vietnam’s mile high city, Da Lat.