Today was my last day in Chiang Mai (until September ahah) and what a day it was! So it started at 5:20 to my alarm, and after snoozing like twice, I finally dragged myself out of bed, ate oats, got my kit on, braided my hair, filled my bottles, grabbed my garmin, and out the door I went for the group ride we had planned for today! We were all so keen on riding, but just didn't want to ride in the wet, and after the rain yesterday we were almost sure we'd hit rain, but I took a gamble and wore my dry weather socks, and guess what... it didn't rain! Now you might be asking wtf dry weather socks are haha. And basically, I have 2 pairs of socks I usually wear, a neon orange pair and a blue pair. My orange pair are always the ones I happen to be wearing whenever it pours down on us, Idk why but everytime we get caught in rain I'm fucking wearing those socks ahah. And everytime I wear the blue ones, it always turns out to be nice. And today, I wore my blue socks, and guess what... it was dry :P haah. There were a few little refreshing droplets of rain, but besides that, it was a completely rainless ride! WOOT.
Okay, so todays ride was a pretty big rad crew of Jacob, Biggi, Griff, Sam, Dan, Chris, Guillum, Harley, Hannah and Margaux! It made me so happy that I got to do a long ride with hannah and Margaux once before I left, and they both killed it! So the loop we did today started by going up Mon Cham which is always a stunner. During the climb there was the cutest little mountain dog, that was actually heaps friendly and just wanted to ride with us haah. It was hilarious, he would just ride in front of our group and sort of lead the way. He barked at oncoming traffic for us, and seemed to chase away other dogs. He was like our little protector haha and it was great. When we got to the turn off we went right instead of left, and it took us down this incredible road which rolled up and down through rural towns and onto this ridge which snaked around a mountain. There were so many epic views and it was just next level beautiful. We've actually done this loop once before, but it was such a different experience because that time it was just relentless rain aahha. We had such a great group of people today and I loved just chatting with everyone. I talked to Dan for ages about friendships, life plans, and what not. Chris and I discussed all our favourite books and he reccomended one called Norweigen Wood to me which I'll deffs check out. I also talked to Harley about some of the lessons I've learnt this year, and he also showed me these incredible leaves which close to the touch. And Jacob and I just chatted about everything. We talked about his life growing up, what he turns to when he's lost (nature), what he's interested in (nature photography), and I also discovered that he left highschool after grade 10 because he was like: this is so unnecessary and boring. aahha And then he just went on to do self study, and he's so much wiser and better off for it. I was just so impressed that at such a tender age he had the clarity to be able to make that decision to leave school when it must have been so against the grain and look down upon be society.
Because we were such a big group, we stopped quite a few times to let everyone catch up, and because 2 people got flats on the ride. And of course we also stopped heaps just for food and water. During one of the stops Guillum brought up that all the farming in these rural areas are all using very antiquated methods. Like single family farms that are all reliant on manual labour, where as back home, most of the farming is very industrial and large scale. But over here, it's almost like being thrown back in time to when villages are just self sustaining, and all these satellite farms circulating the village are just there to support the inhabitants of the village which I found to be really interesting.
Anyways, after we caught back onto the end of the Sameong loop, it was all basically downhill and flats from there to get home. On the last stretch of road before we got to the highway, we were just all riding along nice and steady... then Biggi sprints off on an attack, the rest of the guys all jump on, and then Harley fucking just RIPS it and zooms away. I tried for maybe 10 seconds to hold on then was just like... yea not today (not ever haha). And because I wouldn't be able to ride up Doi Suthep tomorrow morning since my flights so early, I decided I wanted to ride up Doi Suthep and say bye to the smoothie stall ladies, and most of the crew decided to join! After stopping at the 7/11 for a water stop, we headed up Doi in the afternoon heat, and boy was it hotttt. In the beginning we stayed together sort of... but eventually we all split up. A few people bonked, but I felt totally fine, I just kept chugging along at my smooth and steady pace, and before I knew it I was at the top saying hi to Gao, Mai and June (the smoothie stall gals). Gao was also wearing a VEGAN shirt which is so sick, and after telling them I was leaving tomorrow, we all got a photo together.
Gao is so cute too, she told me she'd miss me, and that she'd wait for me here (in CM) for when I come back haha. And after giving them hugs and saying Bye, I descended, went straight up to my room and ate a shit ton of cereal and weetbix with 4 bananas, soy milk and sooooo much sugar haha. Then I washed my bike, packed up my bike with help from Griff, started packing the rest of my crap. Then Margaux, Hannah, Nicole, Anthony, Emma, Sam, Griff and I decided to all order takeout from Anchan. I wanted to stay in so I could pack, and the rest of them wanted a chill night and stayed in with us since it was our last night. I got pineapple red curry, pad thai, and the stir fry mix veg, and we all just cooked our own rice at home! I also got a mango sticky rice for dessert, yummooo. After we ordered, we all just chilled in Margauxs room while waiting for the food to finish so the guys could ride over and pick it up.
But while I was sitting in that room, I just honestly was getting so overwhelmed by a few recent events, and for the first time in ages I just started crying and balling my eyes out. I can't really explain it, but I guess my emotions were just high, I was tired, stressed, frustrated, annoyed and it just all came out. Since it was my last day, it was all the more amplified, and It's not my place to say what it was that had overwhelmed or bothered me since it's not my place to say, but suffice it to say, it was just a lot to process, and all of a sudden in that room it just hit me. And since I was hungrier and more tired than normal it deffs hit me harder than it would've otherwise. And I just cried. Margaux took me for a walk, and I just sat beside her for ages and cried into her shoulder. I seem to always end up crying on Margaux's shoulder ahah, I don't cry often but when I do she seems to always be there to hold me, hug me, and say all the right things to me. I think that good cry was exactly what I needed though, and after that I just felt so much lighter and better. But I was telling Margaux that I was frustrated with myself for being down tonight since it was my last night, and I just wanted to be happy with all my friends. But she reminded me that our lows provide perspective for our highs, and that feeling any emotion so strongly shouldn't necessarily be unwanted since it makes us feel alive, and helps us know that we're really living. And she couldn't have said anything more perfect. After that, we went outside for some fresh air, and there was a huge windstorm brewing outside, so it was so nice to feel that breeze on my skin. And after that, we went back upstairs, pretty much just in time for the guys to get back with our food. When it came I just went to town, all the food was so incredible, and I gobbled it all up.
I also finished Emma's rice, and was still a tad hungry. So I finished all the leftover rice that was in Emma's rice cooker and ate that with sriracha and chilli sauce. During dinner we just all traded stories, and laughed over funny memories, and it was just such an uplifing and mood lifting dinner. Then Iblasted music and just finished up my packing and cleaning up of my room. And while listening to the song Samson, I guess just cuz it's such a heartfelt and BEAUTIFUL almost melancholy song, I just started crying again ahha. But this time it was happy tears, and I just felt so grateful for all the friends who love and support me through everything, and who just love me unconditionally. I truly am so blessed to have all these wonderful people in my life. Then just as I was thinking that, the spectacular Nicole (aka Nizza the nightlight <3) came by and dropped off her yellow sriracha so I could use it tomorrow and bring home to Canada since I didn't have time to go to Tops and buy any today. And then Biggi, the wonderful man that he is came back with a delivery of taro coconut ice cream for all of us. So we all sat in the hallway together (many of us in our underwear haha) devouring our ice cream, and while I sat there chatting and laughing with these lovely people, I realized and mentioned to Emma that the more I look at her, the more beautiful she becomes. Anyways, random tid bit aside, after that ice cream I was still hungry, so Emma and Biggi both donated some cereal since I had cleared my fridge out and finished all my food, Hannah donated some coconut sugar to me, and I had an unopened soy milk still so I finished that bowl, then also ate my cliff bar. I swear I'm just a bottomless pit tonight. Riding and packing is exhausting man ahah. Then finally around 11:30 I went to bed. Today has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. But at the end of the day the only overwhelming feeling I'm left with as I write this blog is gratitude and love.