Today has been one of, if not the, most physically demanding days of the whole trip.
I slept fairly well despite being woken in the night by my leg cramping. The day actually started quite positively and I spent the first 20km riding in the fast lane of a nearly deserted 4-lane road. After turning off the new road, I took what looked like a major road on the map to get back to my route. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a major road and progress was instantly slowed. Riding through a few small villages was easy on the eyes but the broken tarmac was not so easy on my body.
Upon reaching my planned route, I turned south and was instantly hit with a massive headwind… How many times have I said that now?* Must sound like a broken record.
After the 40 kilometre mark I saw a decent looking stall and pulled in. It wasn’t really a conscious decision – I had it in my mind to hit 50 or 60 before I stopped but I was tired already and I think it was the right move. The friendly locals cheered me up and one woman even gave me a pancake (for free) with something in it that was similar to honey. I have no clue what it was but it tasted good and was probably just what I needed. Once moving again, the day got harder. The wind got stronger and the heat hit me – hard. The only bonus that came with a headwind throughout India was the fact that the increased breeze cooled me down. Today that wasn’t the case. The wind was as hot as the surrounding air and I really started to struggle. I had to stop about every hour to recover and by the time I made it to 100 kilometres I was spent. My whole body felt like it was shutting down and I was getting cramp pretty much everywhere… Including in my tongue, which was a weird experience and not one I want to relive. I also had a particularly hard time opening a bottle of water as my whole forearm went into spasm each time I tried. I think the onlookers thought I was a bit of a special. The stop did hold a few luxuries though; I managed to find my first in-date packet of crisps in over a month which was a bit of a treat.
Needless to say to say, my suffering continued and to add to my woes I came across an Indian bloke. This encounter made me really appreciate the relative peace and quiet I’ve had over the last couple of days. I lost my patience quite quickly and simply resorted to saying ‘I don’t understand’ over and over until he went on his way. Sorry mate, but I was in a bad mood. The next hour was bad and when I finally pulled into a petrol station I was a in a bit of state. The girl working there came over and handed me a bottle of cold water which was extremely welcome, and when I tried to pay for it she refused. I think she’d been charmed by my gorgeous face… or more likely taken pity on the look of sheer desperation painted across it.
The last 30 kilometres held yet more problems but I can’t be bothered to moan about them now. I need bed. But basically I’m in a fairly dismal hotel (even by Indian standards) and a decent breakfast is looking unlikely.
Distance: 97.5miles / 157km
Riding time: 7:43:48
Av. Speed: 12.7mph / 20.43kph
*too f-ing many