|Lanni and Chris|
After two rest days in Goa, the three days of riding east inland proved to each be unique with different sets of challenges as we climbed up from the coast to the mountains, rode a very long day across rural and remote plateau farmland and then slung elbows, yelled at and flipped off more than a few trucks and cars fighting our way into Hospet.
It was a beautiful ride back out of Goa by water riverfront. We biked through Old Goa and then through rolling red earth land dotted with sparse trees- and easy and fast feeling ride to 70k.
Then a big climb – 15k up through a wildlife sanctuary. It was a splendid climb- a good percent grade that let you spin easy with stunning views to the valley and birds sounding off in the trees. The only wildlife we saw was monkeys and hot cyclists taking a shade and breeze break on the side of the road.
I rode with a gal who ‘s a good cyclist, but has trouble in heat. I have a huge appreciation for riders who are intelligent about their bodies and can take care of themselves- and she did a great job of spotting the signs of overheating and getting off in the shade cool down and make sure she was hydrated. I don’t mind waiting for that- even though it takes some of the fun out of the climb. What I hate is riding with people who don’t take care of themselves to prevent heat/hydration problems or can’t recognize they are in trouble until they are off the bike puking and dizzy. I think everyone on a trip like this where you are exposed to extreme conditions without ready medical aid needs to be that self-aware and capable just as a basic safety requirement.
That night we stayed in a rustic camp with cabins that reminded me of Girl Scout camp but called itself a resort. It was complete with hammocks, archery, and an open air huge gazebo with a tiny kitchen that somehow produced snacks and 2 meals for 40 people.
Half our group was moved off site to another hotel. Turns out their rooms were already occupied by railway workers who were living there. A nasty scene when they got kicked out of their rooms, and then came back with the police foreign tourists must be registered – they must have hoped to use that to kick our group out. It’s unclear what exactly was happening – I suspect somebody got greedy and was double charging for the rooms and would guess the workers were displaced for better paying tourists. They were clearly surprised and rightly angry. But tales of the nastiness are still being told: filthy toilets, moldy sheets, the former tenants knocking on doors to get toothbrushes … just a horrible situation. One of those things that happens on the first tour and is at the top of the list to prevent from happening again.
Some sad news: Fellow rider Alan had a crash and broke 3 ribs. He will be leaving us in a couple of days. He’s 74 years old and doing this trip. I hope I’m doing this sort of thing when I’m 74 (sans crashing). I’m sorry to lose him- a very nice man who also brought a road bike and we enjoyed occasional gripe sessions about how much the roads were beating us up.