Today started off pretty well. I knew I would hit Kanyakumari at mile 34 (the tip of India and the end of the west coast) so I set that as a target for my first stop. I made it without trouble and would have been fine to carry on had I not needed to refill water and get some food. The town itself was actually very busy. There was a sizeable market and it clearly attracts a lot of people – as did I. I went down to the beach briefly, so was stopped for about 10 minutes (this was before getting something to eat). In that time I had 7 people take photos with me and one asked for my autograph. I don’t know why he wanted my signature, but it turned out he didn’t have a pen so he had to settle for a photo as well.
The day changed almost instantly as I started heading up the East coast. The road became a bit worse for a start – it seems that they are doing a lot of work on it – so for the remainder of the day I frequently found myself riding over stretches of rubble or sand…neither of which are much fun. Then a headwind started – which did not go down very well and my mood went from brilliant to “European” in the space of an hour. The next stretch passed very slowly…literally and figuratively. Due to the number of wind turbines I saw (hundreds) I am assuming that it is a very windy area and I hope I will be away from it in no time….Unfortunately I am often wrong when it comes to predicting the wind so only time will tell. It’s made more irritating by the fact that I didn’t have a tailwind whilst heading south.
I stopped with 30 miles remaining (today was slightly shorter) at a fairly small town. So far there have been fewer places to stop at between villages so I did not have much choice. Here I was cheered up by some local kids. I had absolutely no clue what they were saying and they found it most amusing whenever I shrugged…They also liked the novelty of a camera.
After this, my mood improved. I still had the wind but I was in a better place mentally. The last few days have been easy with the lack of wind and relatively high speeds. It’s easier to let the mind wander. When the speed disappeared, I got frustrated and it took a couple of hours for me to adjust and get over it.
The rest of the ride was fairly enjoyable albeit not fast. I am not sure how my skin fared today. Having only stopped twice I didn’t put on as much sun cream as normal so I think I am looking a tad redder.
With regards to where I am staying, it’s pretty unique compared to the towns I have been in until now. It is home to another famous temple and apparently it attracts thousands of people. There are hundreds sleeping on the streets around town. At first I was shocked as I assumed it was just extreme poverty, but I have since realised that it is just people who are visiting and are not able or willing to pay for a hotel. Really quite fascinating to see but I guess they don’t have to worry about rain as much as you would in London.
It’s been an interesting evening and the changes from the two coasts have been more dramatic than expected. I also ate my dinner off a banana leaf rather than a plate, which was a first.
Mixed day but overall, since I have ridden the whole of the West coast of India from Mumbai, I guess that’s pretty good!
Distance: 90.72 miles / 146 km
Riding Time: 6:31:51
Av Speed: 13.9mph / 22.37 km/h