I thought the day would be hard and I was proven correct. It went pretty well though, so despite extreme exhaustion, I don’t really have anything to complain about. I broke the day up into rides of 30km, 30km, 30km, 20km and 20km. After my first leg, I pulled off the main road for a quick snack and lie down. The second leg took me to Kaithal, where I found peace in a large hotel tucked off the main road. I had lunch at the hotel’s restaurant and then found a shaded corner under some stairs where I lay out my sleeping mat and dozed through the extreme heat of midday. I got going again around 1.45pm, by which time it was just starting to cool. I accepted a helping hand (literally) on the next leg, when two guys on a scooter slowed down to ride alongside me. Our conversation was exhausted once we’d swapped names and I’d told them I was Australian and heading for Patiala. The guy on the back of scooter then said, ‘hand pull’ and I said, ‘ok’. I grabbed his hand and enjoyed getting pulled along at about 23kph. Every now and then I would have to let go and drop behind in single file as trucks raged past, but otherwise I enjoyed a very cruisy few kilometres getting towed until we got to their village. With a quick thank you and wave goodbye I was back to slow grind of pedalling.
Not far ahead I came across the immediate aftermath of a car crash. A little hatchback had struck a tree head-on. Two guys had just scrambled out of the wreck and seemed okay, but I could hear at least one woman wailing from inside. The two guys waved down passing vehicles which stopped to help. I decided to ride on without stopping. I don’t have any extraordinary first aid knowledge or skills and even if I did, it would be difficult to administer them without being able to speak Hindi. After the third leg, I stopped in a little town and bought a bunch of grapes, mango and a coke, I ate the grapes but became too full to eat the mango, which I packed away for later. I have found that in the extreme heat I can’t eat very much at a time, even when I feel super hungry. Instead I have to get used to eating small amounts often. Between the fourth and last legs, I stopped on the side of the road for ice cream being served out of a cart. I sat with some handsomely dressed old Sikh men as I downed the cold, sugary treat.
All that was left was to push through the last 20km. I spent about 30 minutes trying to find a hotel near the bus stand, but kept getting knocked back because they either didn’t accept foreigners or they wouldn’t let me store my bicycle. In the end I did what I should have done first and that was go to the hotel recommended in Lonely Planet. Chinar Regency Hotel proved to be both the cheapest and most welcoming of the lot. I got a large room with AC for 500r and they were totally happy for me to keep the bike in my room. I settled in and showered, then went for a walk to find some cash. I stopped in at a cyber café to send a quick message home to let them know all is well. Back at the hotel, I ordered a very reasonably-priced meal that was delivered to my room. I ate. I slept.
|Distance ridden today||129.76km|
|Average cycling speed||17.2kph|
|Total distance ridden||18,186km|