Tuesday 27 December 2011


For a summary of my cycling journeys in Vietnam please click the label "Cycling" in the right column.

Mui Ne To Saigon (Via Vung Tau), March 2012

See previous map of this ride...

Monday 19 December 2011


If you have a fear of singing you will need to get over it to enjoy a normal night out in Saigon. Karaoeke is simply standard protocol at any social gathering, work function, birthday party, wedding and everything else! I walked into one of my first team building functions with the unwaivering mindset I would not be getting up with the mic. I was a newly arrived manager at an engineering company and felt I may be exempted. I was also a a very average singer at best and did not want to lose respect of my workforce. I was also convinced if I said no enough times I would be left alone. 

Anyway, this is me 2 hours later.  

looks better than it sounds!

Saturday 17 December 2011

Helmet Laws in Australia - For Adults

I thought this was worth a post as it explains how helmet laws in oz act only to restrict cycling amongst adults.....I guess its about choice

Monday 12 December 2011

Quoc Lo 13 - Binh Duong stopping at bach dang river front cafes in Phu Cuoung

This is really one of the best Sunday morning cafe rides in the city! Around 100kms (or can shorten by turing around at the second toll) out and back on Quoc Lo 13 (taking unnecessary risks),doing some good speeds with one of the many groups guaranteed out....some with their own motorbike support clearing each intersection as we run reds. The banh mi at phu cu'ong was the best I have ever had. This old chinese area of Saigon specializes in roast duck and pork. Great way to end a ride!

The cafe girls brining our breaky and small chairs over from across the street

Great cafe and Banh Mi by the river...

Sunday morning badmington and cycling...

The vegetable lady leading us out....

that Pig is still kickin'....

Sunday 4 December 2011

AIS third overall in first ever HCMC primary school sports carnival

I had a great day out tagging along with Fleur and the AIS team to the inter-school sports carnival at the main stadium in D10 on Saturday. The minute I walked in I had flash backs to 'little athletics' from when I competed as a kid. I got right into it and found myself standing on the seats cheering along all day!  Quinn did some field sports like medicine ball throwing and jumps. She also ran the 800. This was my favorite race in high school. Its a very strategic race and I explained to Quinn and Rebeka the importance of saving some energy the final lap and coming home strong. ( A negative split).  The girls followed instructions and competed well considering they had minimal training.!  The school overall did excellent and really punched above our weight!
The kids outperformed many bigger schools!
Quinn ran the 800m. A very tough race for any kid!!

Streets of Thao Dien

6.00am in my street - The girls next door often play badminton before school...

Saturday 26 November 2011

Terry Fox Run - Saigon 2011

Sunday 27th November.
Nice morning out - 45 minutes each way on the bike from Thao Dien to Phu My Hung return with the run in between. Stopped for eggs then a smoothie after the race. Too bad the course was not gauged well. Run was only about 4 kms...however, that wasn't important as we were there to raise money for charity which was the real reason for the day out. 11,000 runners reportedly.

Rich and I sprinting for the line (I gave him this one)

The Crossfit Saigon Representation

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Running the Gauntlet - Cycling through the new Thu Thiem Tunnel

With the renovations going on with the Saigon bridge and traffic at a stand still in the mornings, getting out of D2 is a freakin’ nightmare. So this week I have been taking the new tunnel to work. Yesterday I went thru on the Nouvo. No problem there. Today I cycled - This presented a slight problem as cyclist’s are not allowed in the tunnel. The route involves doubling back onto the new highway, around past AIS Thu Thiem Campus and along the new highway. As I approached the tunnel I thought (hoped) security would see I was sitting on more than 40km/hr and let me continue thru. Obviously some cyclist would slow things down in the tunnel, but I don't consider myself just some cyclist...however, it was going to be difficult to explain this to the 2 security guards who jumped out on the road as I approached the toll gate waving traffic batons at me [which looked like a short orange light sabres!] I considered stopping, for a mili-second, but as I had a nice momentum up, and 'let me drown' had just kicked in on my ipod (Soundgarden - Super Unknown, one of the bench mark albums of the 90's] ...I stood on the pedals, swerved around the 2 jedi masters and blasted down the steep tunnel entry - I clocked over 60km/hr here. Actually I had to slow up a bit for a few motor bikes. The tunnel is about a mile long, but luckily coming from D2 it’s the longer downhill section – and I think the steeper decline. The tunnel security systems went into overdrive with orange lights flashing, some big sign flashing big STOP letters and a voice frantically calling out over the PA! All the excitement gave me a bit of an adrenalin boost and entered the semi darkness at maximum speed.  I pushed pretty hard right past the lowest point of the tunnel and then a good way up the other side. Once the road turned a little I saw the exit and my bid to be [possibly] the first cyclist thru Saigon’s newest piece of infrastructure was in sight. I kept up the speed on the incline by drafting very close behind a motorbike in case security had mobilized some sort of capture plan on the D1 exit (you never know in Vietnam right!).  But my fears were allayed as I rode out into the sunshine and turned off into the back streets of district 1 to disappear into the crowded streets.  All this before breakfast today!

...and HERE is the peoples party article about the security technology, rules and regulations in the tunnel...I am thinking of emailing them to ask if they have the footage.
Distance = 14km
Time = 29min

I took this picture of the tunnel from the Bitexco tower last month. 

Monday 21 November 2011

A fitting end to a great tournament

3rd place isn't meant to feel this good - but playing for bronze - and winning can have its advantages.
The 3 - 1 victory gave the AIS Roar a W,L,D,L,W record for the Arsenal 7s competition.
It also allowed the kids to go out on a winning note and eager to return next year and have another crack at the trohpy!  The icing on the cake was Oscars trophy as 'best goal keeper' of the entire age group! The kids were so happy for him and very proud of their achievments.

The boys celebrating one of the 3 goals all scroed by Jax!

Saturday 19 November 2011

Gym to recommend in the city

If you need a gym in the city, I can recommend the PURE gym in Vo Thi Sau, 168.
Its near the end on Pham Ngoc Thach. I get a 1 month morning pass for 400k. ($20USD). I think it limits me to before 9.am , but that the only time I go anyway...Has showers and lockers and its never crowded (in the mornings anyway).

Levi learning to cycle

I love this video - Especially when he drops his shoe...

Sunday morning ride

This group were racing out on the grand canal route today with full motorcade support...

Friday 18 November 2011

Netball for Girls (age 7 to 11), Saturdays at 11am

Netball has started at the AIS sports center, 1 hour sessions on Saturdays at 11am with a long term aim to develop a team and take on the other schools in the area. Post a comment if you would like to join....

The girls learning the rules...

Tuesday 15 November 2011

The Mask!

An essential part of riding apparel in Saigon!
This simple piece of cloth can add years to your life and reduce Carbon Monoxide (CO) intake by , well I am going say.., I reckon ...about 30%!
Really, I cough much less after wearing one and my head aches are gone by mid morning.
When I don't wear one I am drowsy all day and sometimes can be found curled up in a ball under my desk with stomach cramps.
They are also handy if you are planning to mug someone on the way to work, if your suffering acne, or just bad dental hygene!
I say YES to the Mask!

Monday 14 November 2011

Roar go down swinging...

Shays team will play in the bronze medal match after losing 1 - 0 in dissapointing circumstances on Sunday.
  (Match report)                         U8s’ AIS Roar 0-1 Tia Sang    Sunday 13th Nov
Trying to explain to the kids what happened this Sunday was very difficult. Losing is a part of the game and a part of life. But this was not that simple....
The game started with the AIS Roar not quite playing their best football of the tournament. Tia Sang had a number of corners and got close to goal on a few occasions. Tia Sang had a strong physical presence and weren’t afraid to pressure the AIS kids with their strength – definitely something we can learn from [and expect] in the future. However slowly and surely the AIS kids got themselves into the game and once Jude got his boot replacement (thanks to Lorne) the kids were starting to get much more of the ball. Zyle and Mike played great games in defense once again, and Shay and Jude were running hard in the mid field. Jake played his best game in the tournament and tried hard all day. But the forwards had limited opportunities and the Roar only threatened the goals once or twice in the first half.
Then – just before half time a substitution was made for a very tall Tia Sang striker.  The kid was on the ground only a few seconds before he took control of a lose corner kick in, side stepped an AIS player and blasted at goal from very close range. Oscar actually came close to saving it, and had he not suffered a boot in the head he may have held onto the ball.  The scorer immediately left the ground and as Oscar was being treated for his heavy knock, the Tia Sang substitute changed out of his kit and disappeared. This raised the suspicions of the AIS families and questions were asked of the player’s age and real name. After some intervention and discussion the game was allowed to resume. 1-0 to Tia Sang at half time.
Many teams would have given up here – Especially under such circumstances, but this team has never given up easily, and this was no exception. AIS came out with more determination than ever and played one of their best half’s of football of the tournament.  Poncho moved forward and terrorized the defense. Caitlyn suddenly had the ball on a string and weaved her magic toward goal. And Jude blasted what must be the best long range free kick attempt of the entire tournament. He was no less than 30m from goal - his shot beat the wall and only a finger tip parry by a desperate Tia Sang goalie saved the scores from going level. (“Maybe it was the magic boot” his mum later said.) Shay, Matt and Poncho all had more shots but no one could quite deliver the knock out blow.  Tia Sang rebounded and late in the game a powerful shot got through the defense. Oscar threw himself toward the curling shot – the ball rattled the goal post but once again it appeared Oscar had it covered, post or no post.
With a final few desperate minutes the Roar gave it everything but could not penetrate the Tia Sang defense. 1-0 to the final score.

Saturday 12 November 2011


A collection of Cyclo shots I have taken this year....

Cyclo's are a unique part of Vietnamese life. I think there were many more a few years ago - now they are kept on the roads for nostalgia, and the tourists. Actually - They are a great way to do a site seeing tour of Saigon. The get a bit of respect on the roads and they are slow enough you get a good look around. We take most visiting family and friends on at least 1 cyclo ride.

I have suggested the kids become cyclo drivers to earn some pocket money!!

...we got a great big convoy...

This is how I take the kids to school each day...

Ros and Fluer and the net ball girls at the Cylco Challenge 2010

Cruising around Hue

Saigon Cyclo's

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Roar through to Semi Final.

Shays U8's team the AIS Roar managed a thrilling 2 - 2 draw against the SSA hotshots this week which was enough to get them through to the Arsenal 7's semi final. They will play the undefeated Tia Sang team this Sunday.  The Roar let a 2 goal lead slip, then missed a last second penalty which would have won them the game. Any disappointment was soon forgotten as we learnt we were through to the knock out stage.!

Oscar has been amazing in goal for the whole competion
'Soccer mums' Dont mess with em'!

Thursday 3 November 2011

Back to Perth for Christmas

The great thing about heading back to Perth each Christmas and new year is the fact that it is summer! These are some of the activities we did last year.

How west aussie!,,even got the black swans in the background

Quinn tubing behind the Spyvees boat - great fun!

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Vertical Run - Bitexco Tower, Vietnam

See the Tuoi'tre news paper article on my race HERE 
Winner M 40-49 Age group category. 
See article about my run in the Tuoi Tre news HERE

 In was my first ever attempt at a vertical race.  My strategy was a negative split (second half faster than first half), the race is 49 floors. A staggered start format with 5 minute intervals meant competitiors set off in groups of 12 to 14 runners. Several guys went ahead as they leapt up the first few flights of stairs. From the very first step I maintained my ‘2 step stride’ strategy. I quickly got into my rhythm and didnt have to break it for the entire race. I passed the leaders of my group by the 9th floor. The air was warm, dusty and dry in the stair well. At the 28th floor we had to exit the stair well, run a ¾ lap around the outer office area and re-enter a second stair well. This was a difficult feature of the race as my legs felt like jelly when I tried to adapt to the flat ground.  I grabed a small drink as I ran by the support station before re-entering the stair well. As this was about the half way mark I pushed harder from here. I felt o.k at the 30th floor but quickly achieved what would have been maximum heart rate by the 40th floor. The last 9 floors were a blur as I pushed even harder to the finish and even managed to run the last 40m or so from the exit of the stair well to the finish gate in the viewing gallery of the tower. Great fun, will definitely do another!
 Time: 6:59
Category Place:  1st  (M 40-49)
Overall place: 20th (of 494 runners)

For the record, world #1Thomas Dold of Germany won the Elite race in 4:51 sec.
Next race Singapore  20th Nov

AIS Roar lose 3-1 but still alive in tournament...

Arsenal [Alex Song]   3 - 1   AIS Roar

Shay scored his first goal in a major tournament today in just his second match. It brought his team back to 1 - 1 after being behind early. His team lost in the end but I noticed he got over it pretty quick..the goal definitely softened the blow..! Read the full match report here
(Photos courteous Nick Ross Word HCMC)

Shay trying to get a shot in
Giving my half time encouragement

Saturday 29 October 2011

Back to CrossFit after 3 month rest...I knew it wouldn't be easy.

Actually, Richard and Lieth went easy on us, or the high running + hand stand combination suited me as I didn't suffer too much. Actually this post is just an excuse to give Cross Fit a plug. It is a great work out and incredibly interesting! Richard and Lieth really know their stuff and constantly give support, advice and instructions in way that keeps you coming back and believing you can do more and more. I could go on but really its better to try it and decide for yourself. Warning - Its addictive.!

*Warm up* Run 800m *Russian gymnastic warm up - day 1* Upper-body pressing - 5 rounds of: Handstands x 3 Ring push-ups x5 Tripod/frog stand x 10 seconds x 3 Legs - 3 rounds of: Overhead squats x 10 reps ..

Session was ** 10 Pull Ups, 10 Push Ups. Run 400....AMRAP in 14 minutes..(I did 4 1/2 )