As cycling tours of Thailand become more and more popular, many keen cyclists are returning to discover new routes and new challenges.
The Cyclemania Racing Team first discovered the beauty of Thailand when they competed in ‘The Great Mekong Bike Race’ in Nakhon Phanom and were so delighted with the country they returned recently to race in Chiang Rai. Here’s their account of the experience.
After discovering Thailand on The Great Mekong Bike Race in May this year, we could not wait to come back, so when Jack Thompson from “JackCyclesFar” told us there was another opportunity for the team to race up in Chiang Rai, we grasped the opportunity with two hands. We could not wait to get back to the wonderful country that is; Thailand.
We flew from Perth direct to Bangkok with Thai Airlines, an excellent flight with great service from the crew. From Bangkok we flew Bangkok Airlines to Chiang Rai. We recommend both of these airlines. The service was second to none.
We were met at the Chiang Rai airport by Haidar and Patiphat “Golf” who would be our hosts and guides during our stay. Both were great guys and were always on hand to assist us and make our stay enjoyable.
Our team was made up of four riders from Perth and two from Malaysia. Daniel Griffiths, Jayden Waters, Xavier Cooper, Bryce Lanigan and the two Malaysian riders Jian Li Lee and Tsen Ren Bao. The hotel we stayed at was called the Pimann Inn. The accommodation was comfortable and the staff very friendly.
On the first day of our trip the team went out for a ride with Haidar to check out Singha Park and some other sites in Chiang Rai, and in the afternoon, we were taken to the main shopping centre, where we enjoyed a great lunch in the market and marvelled at the local culture.
That night we were driven to the Street Markets for dinner where we enjoyed a brilliant meal and wandered the markets taking in the sights and chatting with the local vendors.
The following day was the first stage, a 6km time trial around Singha Park. This park is fantastic with various attractions and activities on offer. Our team had some great results with Daniel finishing in 6th place and Jayden in 8th place.
The following day, Stage 2 started in Chiang Rai with a distance of 135km. The race was fast and hard with an early breakaway keeping away until the finish. Another great result for our team with Dan in the breakaway placing 11th. Jayden was in a late breakaway from the main bunch and finished 14th place. Other team members placed; Ren 32nd, Xavier 40th, Lee 45th, Bryce 54th.
The third stage started in Chiang Rai with a distance of 125km. The last 5km were all uphill with gradiants of nine per cent and two climbs with gradiants of 19 per cent. The team all raced hard and reached the bottom of the climb in the main group. The stage placings were Xavier 11th, Jayden 13th, Daniel 21st, Ren 25th, Lee 30th, Bryce 60th. This left Dan in 10th place overall and Jayden 13th place overall.
That night the team was taken to Chiang Rai Walking Street, a real eye opener – so big and so many great items for sale. The market food stalls were fantastic with an amazing variety of food on offer. We would recommend this to anyone that comes to Chiang Rai as a must see.
The last stage of the tour was a circuit race in the middle of Chiang Rai. This was fast and furious with an average speed of 47km per hour. Jayden managed to claim one points sprint, Dan a second place one and Bryce a third place in the final sprint. This left the team with some great overall general classification results. Dan 10th, Jayden 13th, Xavier 17th, Bryce 31st, Ren 36th, Lee 38th.
Following the last day of racing, we were lucky enough to visit some great temples in Chiang Rai, fantastic to see and taught us a little history of Thailand.
On our final morning we were driven to the foot of a large local climb. This was a great experience with 1200m of climbing in the 15km to the top. The views were incredible and we ended up riding into the low clouds for coffee. The ride down the other side was just as good.
In summary we found Chiang Rai a delightful city to visit and experience the Thai culture. The people are very friendly and always helpful. Our hosts and our lovely driver were so friendly and went out of their way to make our trip extremely enjoyable.