Day's run: 31 km
Total: 570 km
Saddle Time: 04:37
Height Gain: 1,632 m
Height AMSL: 2,000 m
Average: 6.7 kph
|Probably the most unrelenting climb I've ever done......and I've never seen such a consistent gradient.|
The plan was to reach Ooty, a run of 59km, but I knew that with a 2,000m climb that would be a tall order. Suck it and see!
|Don't worry, I won't be obstructing any elephants. It rained over night, so a little bit cooler.|
|It took a million years to end up looking like.......this.|
|I've been going for a couple of hours in the biosphere and haven't seen any shops.... or anything, I'm starting to fret about food and water as I'm only carrying 2 litres..........and I'm sweating bucketloads.|
|A camera can't really do justice to the scenery. I'm grateful when it starts to pour with rain and think about doing a nappy change at some point.|
|That's the town I left this morning in the distance. I'm around 1,000 metres and it's starting to cool off, a very pleasant 26 deg|
Breakfast of veggie pakoras - delicious. Even the wrapping paper (Hindu Times - classy) was in English, so you can catch up on the news while you munch.
|In the tea plantations. 'Tea is nature's gift, it keeps us fit'. On the strength of that I should be pretty fit! As a booster I picked some leaves and had a munch on them............disappointingly they taste nothing like PG tips.|
|This is jackfruit I think, basis of idlis, a traditional breakfast dish I've yet to try.|
|Not easy to photograph, and I don't trust them. In Malaysia I left the bike for a few minutes and they removed the water bottle from the holder and chewed a hole through the plastic to get the water out. Cheeky monkeys!|
|12 km to Kotagiri, 38 to Ooty. I'm starting to feel it so Kotagiri it is. I don't want to damage anything due to over-exuberance|
|Soaked with sweat but exuberant....and sitting on the only whitewash-free rock I can find|
|It is just so lush.........what a difference 2,000m makes|
|Two guys stop on a motor bike and want to be photographed with me. Put your arm around me (like you are my bestest friend). But look I'm a yucky wet rag. No problem. I feel like some sort of celebrity.........is this what it's like to be famous?|
Even though it's definitely cooler up here, I'm still having to work at it. I turn on the beats.......Hendrick's 'Purple Haze' riff works for the manic gradients, Disco Bob for the medium, and Jake Bug for the tedium. When I finally arrive in Kotagiri, itself built on several levels, I try several hostelries before I discovered this little gem. Bel-air Cottages, perched above the town on a hillside, it's Raj-era English cottage built 100 years ago and not had a penny spent on it since. I lie on the bed after showering with a bucket (hot water mind you) and look up at the corrugated tin roof. Sort of shabby-chic. Two big pluses, the internet chugs along fairly respectably, and it has a small kitchen where businessmen come for lunch. 750 rupees the night. Oh, and it's quiet, I am the only guest.
Only in India 1: Why do you put a padlock on the outside of the (shared) toilet? "In case somebody tries to use it." It's upstairs on the first floor. Apparently it gets busy 'in the season'.
|.........but first a spot of lunch in the leafy bower. Best chilli chicken I've ever tasted.......and all those home-made pickles!|
|My charming residence. I can have dinner on the lawn, or wherever I please.|
It was a great day. I like it so much here, I'm going to have to stay another day....and do a bit of strategic trip planning. at the moment I've no idea where to go next.