I am now dead. Undeniably certifiably dead. We did an exhausting one hundred and forty-two kilometers today, involving lots and lots and lots of ups and downs through rolling hills on a particularly hot day. By the time the ride ended, I was dragging myself along, struggling to follow one pedal stroke with another, looking the very picture of tiredness!
The day itself started off like it might rain: here is a picture looking out to sea from our hotel in Chumphon past the swimming pool, at a little before seven in the morning. Notice the clouds.
However, those clouds vanished even before we started cycling at eight. It was already hot then, and got to probably around 35 celsius (mid 90s Fahrenheit) in the afternoon. Going up and down hills in this heat for nearly 150 kilometers saps you even if you are cycling slow, but most of our group consists, it appears, of racers, and they set a very rapid pace. I was with them for about an hour in the morning, but fell back to a slower pace (my usual average of 25 KMPH). But the point is that even then, one feels the pressure of the faster group: for instance, the organizers have a policy that all riders should ride off from breaks at the same time, so you are aware that if you are very slow, the fast group that has already reached the next rest stop cannot leave for the next stage for a very long time, until you get there and have had your rest. That makes you pedal a bit harder in the heat and over the ups and downs than you would have liked!
By the time afternoon came around though, even the 25 KMPH average proved hard to maintain, and I hung back and cycled at the very end, with just the tail van behind me. And I stayed at the tail end for the rest of the ride, struggling. The important thing though, is that I did it!
Here are some pictures:
We were crossing the Isthmus of Kra today, a narrow strip of land running from the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea. We are essentially on the Andaman coast now in Ranong, although our hotel is not near the ocean Just as with a ride I did in Malaysia two years ago where we crossed across the peninsula to the west coast, here too, the rolling hills were full of vegetation, not to mention palm plantations and rubber plantations. The scene above is a typical road scene we encountered: heavy vegetation on both sides, not much traffic.
Some nice greenery by the road side, on one of the hills today.
Lunch was at 85 KM today, at a lovely restaurant attached to an organic coffee plantation and roasting shop. The restaurant was set over a little creek, this is a picture of the creek at the entrance to the restaurant.
I found this the most exciting: that’s Myanmar on the other side of the water body! That water is actually the Andaman Sea: there is a narrow part of the sea that exists between the lower tip of Myanmar and the east coast of Thailand. This is that part.
A waterfall we stopped at around 125 KM from the start. There was a steep climb after this waterfall for about a kilometer, but then we coasted down, and the ride to our hotel was easy. However, tomorrow promises to be a similar day, with more rolling hills with their ups and downs.