Five o'clock early morning call, looked out of the window. In the feeble light of the lamp outside, there was only fog. It was still foggy an hour later at daybreak when we left Wang Chin and the River Yom behind us. We biked up the Rd #1023, for about 20 Kilometers, following the ridge of the Phi Pan Nam Range on our left until the crossing with the main Highway #11 leading to Chiang Mai. We passed a few school buses, and stopped once to check the maps - it appeared there was a couple of different tracks we could have taken but ended up going the right way.  Most of this section was through undulating hills, small up and down slopes.  Once we stopped we were quite wet from the heavy mist, although it wasn't raining.  At the junction we took an extended break of about 15 minutes.

Steve at the junction 

We pushed some "carbs" through our throat in order to load up for the coming event. Consulting the maps we tried to work out where the summit was, and what our game plan was. From here we had a steep 6.6 kilometers long climb until the 592 meter high pass over the Phi Pan Nam Range and through the Wiang Ko Sai National Park. The mountain range is in fact the ridge separating the watershed of the Yom and the Wang Rivers. The sun started to spread the mist. 

The junction 

We decided to go at our own pace up the hill and mounted our bikes. From where were we stopped we literally only had 100 meters to go and start a very sharp climb. I changed onto the smallest chain ring and was soon climbing in my third last gear. When you go slowly up, you have a lot of time to think. I caught myself having hallucinations of 27 gear-bike. To make things worse, my second cog gave me problems since the start of the trip and could not be used. 

Steve, keen to get to the top at a steady but quick pace, took immediately some distance as I could not shift into second gear. It was an hectic climb and I had to push with all my might to get the pedals turning around. The short frame of my mountain bike did not permit me to get upright on the pedals, so it was hard work for my old back and knees. Sweat broke out everywhere. I grasped the water bottle and what I poured in, evaporated immediately  Sweat running in my eyes, I tried as good and as bad to keep pace until the hill was steep enough to drive into the last clog. Finally the time was right for a gear shift. I attempted to come in closer, but my iron horse could impossible close the gap in the short span that separated me from the top. Our car passed by on its way to Lampang and made a stop. Not really knowing where exactly the pass was, I took the sudden occasion for a cool refreshment and had a five minute break. I continued and after 400 meters and a bend, totally not aware it was so close, I arrived at the pass a few minutes after Steve. Biking the 410 meter height difference in 58 minutes is not too bad for a nearly 60-year old fox on a crippled horse.  

Lampang 38 Km 

After recovering, we sailed downhill at a speed of up to 50 Km/ Hr and took a break at "Kafae Sot Chom Doi", apparently a bike rider's stop, looking at the plenty of bikes decorating the place. Lampang was calling. No major challenges anymore and a smooth drive lay in front of us. After a cup of coffee, we climbed our mountain bikes again and continued downhill again. 

Steve at Kafae Sot Chom Doi 

The rest of the ride to Lampang included a few smaller hills, nothing too bad.  Shortly after 1000 Hr we reached Lampang and its increasing traffic, crossed over the Asian Highway near the Big C shopping mall, turned into the road of the bus station and finally arrived at 1030 Hr at our planned accommodation, the C2 Residence relatively easy. We took standard rooms. The rooms were a bit small, but comfortable and modern; equipped with satellite television (32 Inch flat screens!) and DVD player, air-conditioning, modern bathroom with hot shower and a large refrigerator. At noon Steve and I had RV in the lobby. The latter had some good armchairs and it was a pleasure to feel the comfort after 700 Km in the saddle. We walked to the shopping mall and ate some chicken burgers at KFC. Steve returned to the hotel for a rest and I could not resist hunting for a giant ice cream at Swensen. The trip was close to end and I felt I earned some sweets. After walking around in the mall and having procured a funny pair of sun glasses I returned for a lazy stretch on the bed. In the evening we went for dinner at the local MK Restaurant for some duck and noodles and thereafter went to bed. 

The C2 Residence 

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