Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sri Lanka Pilgrimage with Baba Velo - Day 3 and 4

On Day 3, we rested.   Slept in till about 8am, and then, after breakfast, headed back to Colombo, stopping over in the historic town of Galle for some sightseeing en-route.   Checked out the old fort overlooking the cricket stadium, had some walnut brownies and ice-cream at a local cafe and then headed back to Colombo in time for a late lunch at Raj's club and then, a short three hours later, a Vietnamese dinner at the same place.

In Galle - from L to R:  Mohan, moi and El Professore

Safe to say that all carbs were fully replenished by the end of this day!

The next morning was another early rise - 5:30am - so that we could load up the car and head out of the city, to the point where we would start our ride to Hatton.   Rakesh had just arrived from Mumbai a couple of days ago, and he and Ros were joining us on the rides.   So Chaminda's minivan had 5 bikes, 5 riders and Rishi in it - and all fit very comfortably, much to my amazement.

After an hour-long drive out of town and breakfast of cakes and bread, we started riding around 9am.   The initial 20-odd kilometers were flat and rolling, and wound alongside a river - very scenic!   I did have a few  curse-out-loud moments when my bike ran over some rough patches while on a curve, jolting my not-fully-healed hand.   But other than that, all was good.

Early part of the ride, before the climb.  How can you tell?  I havent been dropped yet.
Raj, followed by me, Mohan, Rakesh and Rosanna

Then the road went up and I bid the other riders adieu and continued up at my own steady Z2 pace, taking in the ambience and scenery, and eventually catching up to the rest at the top of the 30km climb, where they were feasting on strawberries and tea while I had been slogging my way up the hill.  

Tea and strawberries.  Very civilized - except for the sweaty people in Lycra

After this, we only had a short ways to go - a rolling segment, a short downhill and then a 1.86km climb which Raj dubbed as the competitive section.

The climbing section was a solo ride for me
Off we went, with Raj leading, Mohan following and me, Ros and Rakesh next.    I was hoping to attack a little on the downhill segment and build up a little buffer before the climb, but just as I started, I got forced off my line by an incoming bus which was taking a turn wide - this threw off my line and rhythm, and I hit the climb behind Raj and Mohan, who were shooting up faster than petrol prices.    Knowing that it was a short climb - and the gradients were only 4-6%, which suits me - I punched it up and tried to follow the best I could.

Apparently, I went so fast that I dropped the GPS satellites - I covered the 1.86km in 1.6km!

However, it still wasnt good enough to catch up to Raj and Mohan, of course.    But it was a nice way to end the ride.  

We loaded up with munchies from a nearby supermarket, and I got another case of women walking by staring at my crotch and giggling to each other.   Good lord.  I was wearing black bibs, no world clocks were on display, so wtf was up with this?  

After packing all the bikes, we drove off to Raj's hideaway - an absolutely amazing cottage, overlooking the Hatton lake, where we stuffed ourself with more Sri Lankan curry.   By now, my stomach was getting the hang of it and I was able to dig in with such gusto that I think I saw panic in the eyes of the caretaker at the cottage.

The view from Raj and Ros's hideout - amazing
(Photo by Rajesh Nair)
Post-lunch was R&R time.   I lay back and read a book, while the others, showing a distressing level of energy and enthusiasm, decided to go for a walk to check out the dam.   Some more R&R later - which involved me teaching Rishi some Filipino stick combat techniques from Arnis and a Rammstein session, it was time to eat again - a most excellent pork curry (this really DOES sound like something from That Other Forum, doesnt it?).  

Tomorrow was our last day, a climb which Raj described as harder than Lavasa.  Gulp.


  1. I don't think they eat pork on That Other Forum. Coconut water, idlis, Parle-G and other biscuits. Oh and chocolate bars.