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2012 Tour of Friendship anyone? Seriously it’s worth thinking about

It’s that time of the year to start thinking about how much less riding you’ve done than you had hoped and that next year you’ll do more to generally be more awesome on the bike (or is that just me?)

With that in mind, I’ve been reflecting (regularly) on a missed opportunity. This year I declined a generous invitation from NeilPryde Bikes to join one of their teams in the Tour of Friendship, a 5 day amateur stage race in Thailand because a) I’ve never even been in a race, so a 5 day amateur stage race would be well and truly leaping off the deep end b) I wasn’t convinced I would be fit enough or strong enough to not end up in the broom wagon by day 3 c) as a result of a & b, I was worried about letting my team down.

In 2011, the race started with a time trial, then featured both flat and mountain stages in some amazing Thai scenery with some fiercely competitive local teams from across South East Asia. 

I’ve regularly thought about the event since and talked to some other cyclists who agreed that it would be a fantastic trip for any amateur club cycling team that fancied a fun and different racing challenge. So this post is to suggest that it’s worth putting into discussion with your cycling club buddies now – to allow sufficient training and saving up for the 2012 event. 

From following the progress of the race this year – I know I missed out on a lot of fun and a great experience. Races like this are for many of us, possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity – so if you’re looking for something a bit different the the Etape or one of Europe’s other “mega sportives”, races like the Tour of Friendship are definitely worth investigating. 

The video link above was put together by Dave Christenson who is a really talented videographer, who’s featured on this blog before and I’m sure will again.

Wade Wallace of the popular and highly respected Cycling Tips Blog also rode on a NeilPryde team and submitted these excellent stage reports and I highly recommend them all to you:

For those of us not in South East Asia, the idea of going to Thailand for a weeks bike racing is a very tempting prospect. Good weather, great hospitality, a great cycling adventure and some wonderful places to take a few recovery days afterwards combined with an entry fee that’s not to dear are all good.

This is just a thought to tempt you through the European winter with as it might be a really good reason to keep putting in those training miles…

If you want to know more, I’d suggest you like the Tour of Friendship Facebook page to start with: http://www.facebook.com/touroffriendship – If you’d be interested in finding out about more races like this in Asia – let me know and I’ll see what I can find out. The Tour of Bintan has just taken place – so there are a number of interesting events out there.

Thanks for reading