Day 55 – Pyinpongyi (Moyingyi Lake) to Kyaikto

It was weird waking up and knowing I either had a very long day or a very short day ahead of me, but no idea which. (55 or 125 miles with nowhere in between in case you missed yesterday’s update)

I spent the entire first two hours trying to make up my mind. Had it just been a matter of ‘if I could do it’ I would have pushed for the long day. Saturday’s ride had left me a bit shocked. Yesterday my body hadn’t fully recovered and my confidence had taken a hit as well, so it would have been nice to put any doubts to rest with a big day. As per usual though, the decision wasn’t that simple..

My family are flying out to meet me at Bangkok (or just south of it) for a few days next week and this means that I could be a bit up against it with my 15-day Thai visa. Now, if I went for the long day, I would arrive before them and that would be another day spent in Thailand. After much deliberation, I decided on the short day. I wasn’t exactly sure how close I was going to be on the 15-day deadline so it was more of a ‘play it safe’ decision.

Ten minutes later I looked at the time and changed my mind. My legs felt good and could have gone the whole 55 miles without a break which would have put me at an 11-o’clock finish. I decided it was more than a bit of a cop-out to stop that early and therefore focussed on the longer target.

Another ten minutes went by and I changed my mind again. I couldn’t get the visa problem out of my head and I pulled up for something to eat. I stopped long enough to put a windy 200km day out of the question. So from there my finish was set.

I wasn’t totally happy with my decision but it was definitely the right one. It turns out I can’t really afford to have an extra day in Thailand. Regardless, I was a bit frustrated with myself and decided that once at the hotel, I would ditch my panniers and go for a quick ride somewhere. Thankfully I relaxed a bit, realised this was a stupid idea and instead settled for pushing hard into the headwind that had somehow decided to stick around despite my 90 degree change in direction

Excluding the wind, heading east brought a few changes. Throughout the second half of the day, the scenery has become a lot greener and the road also became progressively more hilly. Today, the latter was actually a good thing as each hill became a short, sharp sprint in the hope that I’d feel slightly more satisfied with my efforts of the day. Thankfully it worked and I wasn’t too disappointed when I pulled in after only a few hours.

I’m staying just outside of the town and after deciding to venture in for a look, I discovered why I see so few people doing anything in the sun. By the time I’d finished a half hour walk and got back to my room I was drenched. It’s not like I didn’t already stick out either. I’m probably the only white guy in the area, I was the only person out walking in the sun and to add to that I was absolutely dripping in sweat… I drew quite a few looks. Thankfully I’ve grown used to that.

Apart from my introduction to ‘what not to do in Burma’ I spent most of my long afternoon at the restaurant ordering from the pork menu or chicken menu. Each had exactly the same dishes on offer, the only difference being the meat. I sampled a fair bit of it and can conclude that tonight chicken ended on top. I think I had about 8 or 9 courses between 3 o’clock and 7 o’clock.

That concludes today’s summary. Tomorrow is another short day, then after that I’ll start working hard again I promise…

Distance: 54.25miles / 87.3km
Riding Time: 3:46:38
Av. Speed: 14.4mph / 23.1kph

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One comment

  1. Tom you think you have it tough, it’s a balmy 12 degrees up in the NE today, tell you what it feels bloody warm. So your dad popping out for yet another vacation, I really do think you pulled the short straw on this adventure. Not really though, you can say you did it, dad can only say he tagged along, ha ha. Cheers Fraser

    Like

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