So my general riding pattern has been Tues through Thursday; early morning, cross country MTB trail ride of around 33-38km prior to breakfast. Saturday and Sunday; late afternoon ride around 45-55km plus. Monday and Friday are normally rest days. The current westerly monsoon wind pattern tends to bring building afternoon clouds, which usually result in typically tropical down-pours. More often than not I cop a real drenching and even when it does not rain the weather tends to be sultry and oppressive. This weekend I decided to change things around and switch my weekend rides from afternoon to early morning, when the weather is generally cooler and the rain storms few and far between. So Saturday past saw me rise at my normal weekly time of 5.40am and after preparing the hydration pack and wolfing down Weetabix and milk I was ready for the off.
Well, as Rabbie said; the best laid plans of mice and men.... around 1/3rd into the ride the heavens opened!! But the downpour was not too long in duration, leaving behind however a muggy sky in no way suitable for the photographic opportunities I had in mind. Still, the ride was invigorating and I managed to cover the 53km, mostly off-road, at an average of 22.5 km/hr. Setting me up nicely for the day, the post ride breakfast of homemade strawberry and banana pancakes was washed down with lashings of fresh brewed Doi Chaang coffee.
Sunday morning dawned more promising as indeed it was to prove! I covered more or less the same route, but in reverse. The early morning low clouds made for some great vistas on the early stretch along the coast at Nang Kam as the sun fought its way through.
The mid section, predominantly through the rubber plantations was refreshingly shaded and the 'hellos' of the rubber tappers and local children were genuinely welcoming. By now the early morning clouds had scattered and the background sky was a nice shade of mid blue, great light conditions for photography and soon I had reached the object of my photographic quest, Wat Donsak (Singhkon).
I had skirted this temple on previous rides but had recently discovered a trail that led into and through the temple grounds.
The monks were friendly and asked me to join them for breakfast, but an alcove / small cave in the towering limestone karst, the central feature of the temple site, begged to be explored. Up the steep stone steps I climbed, to find a serene, reclining Buddha, dappled in light.
Truly a great way to start a Sunday; stimulating exercise, friendly faces and some photogenic opportunities.