GALLERY; 300 miles across Vietnam on a bike, cockroaches in bedroom, sunburn and saddle sores - all organised by charity called Operation Comfort!
PUBLISHED: 22:24 18 April 2014
Cockroaches in bedrooms, sheer drops on either side of narrow tracks and being named glamour girl of the mountains were among the highlights for fund-raiser Debbie Smith while cycling across Vietnam.
The 300 mile trek across mountains, past paddy fields and through remote villages was all taken in her stride by Ms Smith who was one of just five women in a group of 50 cyclists taking part in the mammoth charity event.
Organised by the US charity, Operation Comfort, Ms Smith took part in her role as Cambridgeshire coordinator for British forces charity, Help 4 Heroes.
She said: “One day we pedalled 10k up a mountain and on the way down I cried all the way, I was that scared. I’m terrified of heights, but I refused to give up.
“The scenery was stunning, the people amazing, the whole experience was out of this world.”
At one stop in Dong Ha the cyclists presented pens to the local schoolchildren with other stops including the stunning world heritage temple site at Hoi An and visiting Red Beach where American marines first landed in 1965.
Cyclists followed the same route taken by the Top Gear team when they toured Vietnam.
Most days saw riders in their saddles for 12 hours at a time, stopping at hostels along the way for much needed rest.
Ms Smith’s efforts raised £2,500 for Help 4 Heroes along with the satisfaction of knowing she has taken part in a ride that was in honour of the Vietnamese veterans.
“I got sunburnt, was exhausted and saddle sore and covered in sweat,” she said but in spite of that was presented with a glamour of the mountains award by her comrades for keeping her style despite soaring temperatures and exhaustion.
In true style Ms Smith is not resting on her weary laurels. Already she is in training for her next fund raising event - Tough Mudder in Leeds in June, followed by Hell on the Humber Bridge in July.