Sorry for the lack of updates on the challenge, this has been due to too many 05:15 starts, late finishes and awful wifi, but here’s a quick look at day 4.
After cycling 113km on day 3 we arrived at which was to be our base for the next two nights. Despite the fact we only had 45km to cycle on day 4 were still up at 05:15 in order to be able to visit the Ranthambore national park and Tiger reserve before we started cycling. It was a fantastic visit to a park teeming with wildlife – even if the Tigers didn’t put in an appearance.
Afterwards we returned to the hotel, picked up our bikes and set off as the mercury in the thermometer climbed steadily past 30 degrees. We retraced our steps back past the national park on the worst roads we’ve cycled on so far. Lots of our time was spent warning each other of potholes, speed-humps and sand-traps as well as the usual hazards of goats, camels and all manner of motorised mayhem.
Our destination was the village of Kutalpura where we stopped for snacks and water before exploring the village. We were invited into several local homes to see how village life was lived before setting off to a local school where we chatted to both pupils and staff. As today’s International Women’s day it was fitting that we also visited Dastkar Ranthambore, a village handicrafts centre which has revived local crafts and given employment to many local women. We had lunch there before we browsed the gift shop – which saw many of us make purchases from the large selection of handicrafts in their on site shop. Fortunately, we didn’t have to carry these back on the bikes as the team bus had followed us!
By now the heat really was something. Although the official temperature was 32 degrees it was far hotter out in the sun, with some folks personal cyclometers registering anything from 40-45 degrees.
This helped to make the next part of the challenge particularly tough. We cycled back into Ranthambore park along a road that was mostly cobbled and had the fiercest gradients we’d encountered on the whole trip. I shed blood doing it as, whilst swerving round a particularly rough stretch of road I encountered a thorn bush which ripped my arm. Don’t believe anyone who tells you these challenges are easy! We’ve already had several minor tumbles which have resulted in skinned limbs or bruised ribs…
As we were running late through spending too much time at the women’s centre our visit to the spectacular ruins of Ranthambore Fort (the 2nd largest in India) had to be cut short in order to allow us to reach home in daylight. Even so, it was worth it as it’s a stunning location with fantastic views across the national park.
Cycling back was a lot easier as it was mostly downhill, even so, after cycling at speed down that bloody cobbled road I’m amazed that I have any fillings left in my teeth! My bottle of cold beer on our return was well earned today!
Tomorrow we have a lie-in. We don’t have an alarm call until 6am. We on the move again and cycle 80km tomorrow, I’ll update you on our adventure just as soon as I can. In the meantime, here’s some pictures from today.