Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 8, 2014

Off The Beaten Path

Siem Reap, Cambodia

After a week of hard work in Cambodia’s intense heat, our team of guys packed up and left the border town of Poipet for Siem Reap, the gateway to the temples of Angkor. With our flight only hours away, our guys were not interested in shopping for souvenirs. Instead, we divided up in to two teams to do some quick touring.

Bike Team
One team headed to the floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake and the other team set off on a mountain biking excursion at Angkor — the largest religious complex in the world and a UNESCO world heritage site. I have visited Angkor several times over the years and appreciated this new opportunity to visit locations far off the beaten path. The sites generated good worldview conversations.

Angkor is an amazing place and evidence that what the writer of Ecclesiastes said is true — “God has set eternity in the heart of man” (Ecc. 3:11). The temples deep in the jungle at the Angkor site are mute testimony to a people searching for answers to life’s deeper questions. Each temple, though now suffering the ravages of time, still bear the features of intricate planning and craftsmanship. It was not too hard to imagine what they must have looked like in their heyday.

Bike James
Bill and James
Bike Bill
Apart from the sugar-stick sites easily accessible to tourists, the only way to see the temples still hidden in the jungle is by walking or biking down winding single-track trails. We did a 26-mile loop that took us off the beaten path and offered some fun and technical challenges. I had my first really good spill since I started biking when the edge of my handle-bar met a tree on a winding and narrow section of trail. I knew it would happen sooner or later and glad that it happened on a dirt trail instead of pavement.

Bike Elephant
Bike Coconut Girl
Bike Coconut Break
I have enjoyed my time with the men of the CityGates group. These guys work hard and they also play hard. It was a totally enjoyable experience to bike with Bill Thomas and James Meredith, two of the experienced cyclists in the group. And we all appreciated having Poline, our Cambodian friend, and an experienced guide to lead us through the maze of jungle trails. Serving together at The Hope Center and sharing an epic ride through the Cambodian jungle have strengthened the bonds shared by this band of brothers.

Bike Temple

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