Day 39 – Ramanathapuram to Velankanni

Firstly, apologies for the rather uninspiring write-up of yesterday. Today was set to be a long one and I was very eager to get into bed.

In the end I didn’t actually sleep that well. Once again my air-con was playing up but this time it was being lazy rather than working overtime so I spent the night sweating… Because of this, it made sense to wear the same t-shirt again.. I was already in need of a shower. With regards to the infamous piece of clothing; I think today may be the last time I wear it. I honestly won’t know for certain until I get dressed in the morning though. I’ll be sad to part ways with it – it’s been worn for about 2150 kilometres and whilst I could get away with it for a fair bit longer, I still have nearly two weeks in India and I don’t think it would make it that far…

The morning started off fairly well and I was in a good mood. Misfortunes struck early on though. I had trouble with my cleat yesterday (the part of my shoe that clips into my pedals) and I’d had to adjust it. Turns out I’d adjusted it wrong, so I had to stop after 5 minutes to fix that. Despite this and a slight breeze into my face, I remained in a good mood. I managed to get over the distance ahead of me pretty easily and I spent the first 30 miles with very little thought passing through my head. I was sort of just focussed on the road in front and not much else.

As I was planning my first stop, a truck came passed at a fairly low speed, and like yesterday, I seized the opportunity. I happily sat in his slipstream for the next 10 kilometres… this was until he pulled over to shout at me. I have no clue why but maybe he thought I was holding on to the truck. Either way, my lift was cut short. (This is not cheating and I will stand by that – it requires quite a lot of attention, especially when said vehicle is being driven by an Indian)

After the first stop (around 75km) the wind changed and started pushing me along slightly. I continued to make good progress and even hit the 6000km milestone which was nice. When I finally stopped again, the heat hit me. I’d felt fine up to this point but the extra distance between stops meant I’d been in the sun longer than my body was used to. Needless to say, I recovered and planned my 3rd and final stop for the 100-mile mark.

The day had been great up to this point. My speed was good and I actually hit the 100-mile point earlier than any other day on this trip (I think). The last stint was tough though – the wind picked up and changed once more so that it was in my face again. I also bonked (for those unfamiliar with the term – it basically means you completely run out of energy). My legs felt fine but I hadn’t eaten enough and the last couple of hours were pretty unpleasant.

I’m better now. I filled up on western food for dinner tonight which is something I have really missed. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve loved trying all the new food but a fish and chip starter followed by chicken and chips followed by a banana split, really hit the spot.

In other news, I’ve seen some interesting wildlife today. I saw a bright blue bird which I think (judging by the wikipedia picture) is an Indian Roller.. just in case there are any bird-lovers among you. I also nearly hit a turkey when it walked out in front of me which was a bit of a surprise. The last bit of today’s wildlife watching featured a very big lizard; which I reckon was an alligator

Longest ride I’ve done:
Distance: 126.67miles / 203.8km
Riding Time: 8:21:13
Av. Speed: 15.2mph / 24.4kph

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8 comments

  1. Tom, it’s sounding more and more like a safari trip, beats the hell out of being sat in the office on a rather chilly day up in NE England. Mind how you go. Cheers Fraser

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  2. According to 5 minutes research I reckon that if your lizard / crocodile was in fact a crocodile it was a Mugger Crocodile. There are only three types of crocs in India (which is of course three more than on the rest of your journey so far): the saltwater (which is very big and very , very nasty), the gharial which looks like it has had its snout stretched and the mugger. To be sure you need to go back and count the number of teeth; it should have 19 upper teeth on each side.
    It’s not worth going back but if you see another one do try and have a quick count.

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  3. I’m seriously impressed at the distance and your wildlife viewings. Thank you Neil for the croc research – fascinating. Hopefully your uncle Andy will venture onto the site now that you have started talking about birds……!

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    1. And if you start talking about the other type of “bird” maybe some of the more disreputable people we know will follow suit …

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  4. Have no fear Andy is here….I have been reading and taking notes. At last, I am glad to hear that an interest in wildlife has developed. A species list of 2 (I include the Turkey) is a start…and I look forward to hearing about the third! With regard to clothing might I suggest turning the t-shirt inside out…I find that it helps to keep the strongest pongs on the inside where you can nurture and cherish them for when you need them. Don’t let the b…tards grind you down (be it an ill wind or a grumpy truck driver) you are doing an amazing thing and I am insanely jealous, I am even considering taking Sian on a similar ride!!!!

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  5. Remember always approach a croc from behind!! …Its going to be difficult to count his teeth, but he won’t see you coming!! A Herculean effort for your day 39 – 125miles is brilliant work – keep it up Tom….. Slip streaming seems the best technique.

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