Day 5 cycling: ANURADHAPURA to DAMBULLA:
Ride details (from Garmin):
Ride details (from Garmin):
Distance: 83.09km; ODOMETER: 290km; Moving Time: 5:12; Elapsed Time: 6:53; Avg Speed: 12.1km/hr; Avg Moving Speed: 15.9km/hr; Max Speed: 30.1km.hr; Total Ascent: 305m; Total Descent: 204m; Max Elevation: 191m; Calories: 2.447 C; Avg Temperature: 33.5 °C; Max Temperature: 42.0 °C
I found today's ride extremely arduous & so think I'll stay here in Dambulla for 2 nights - to rest for the rest of today, see the caves here tomorrow & then head off to Sigiriya the following day (my original plan was caves tomorrow a.m then head off in the afternoon). Why was today so tough? I've had a low level chest cold for a few days, nothing serious, until last night when it moved up into my throat, sinuses, etc. I woke up after a poor night's sleep feeing incrementally better & so decided to 'hit the road'. What I hadn't realised was that the Garmin bike computer was set on 'Avoid Highways''. So I dutifully set off, following the little arrow that was presumably pointing the way to Dambulla. The Garmin - onto which I've installed a free OSM (OpenStreetMap) for Sri Lanka - is a godsend for finding your way out of a town and on to the main road, and it means - usually - that you don't need to apply much mental power to the task... 'just relax, and follow the arrow'. I began to notice after some while that I seemed to have cycled in a massive arc and was heading down some unusual roads, before finally realising what the problem was. Resetting the Garmin sent me down some very narrow roads before I eventually hooked up with B213 and then the A9. In other circumstances it would have been a very pleasant ride - I cycled past lakes, scenic wetlands, bird life - but I was very low on 'gas' and the ride seemed interminable. Part of the art of touring cycling is to readjust the mind to be equanimous with whatever circumstances arise; my mind was anything but & all the usual thoughts such as "how long to go? I can't go any further... I' need to stop... I'd die for a cup of tea... perhaps I might just stop & lie down..." were intruding. On top of that, it was bloody hot. The sky blackened on several occasions & some quite heavy rain fell at one point, but the good thing about that was it cooled everything down for a while. I stopped numerous times at small shops to buy water or soft drinks, but only ate a small bunch of bananas over the whole 7 hours I was on the road (I often don't eat much or stop for lunch). Curiously I was convinced I had at least another 10km to go when I suddenly found myself at Dambulla. Hallelujah!
I first stopped at a place recommended in the guide book but it was full up... I pedalled some more and noticed the Sundaras Resort, 189 Kandy Rd, also mentioned in the guide book, with the qualification that it was "perhaps not the best value, as prices are a tad steep across the board". The young Swedish woman who greeted me on arrival turned out to be the manager, and after initially quoting me 6000 Rp for a room, was kindly prepared to let me have it for 4000 Rp. It's quite large & very clean, and only costs a fraction more than what I paid for the room in Anuradhapura. There's a pool and an attached restaurant - and the prices seem quite reasonable. It's also quiet, despite being on the main road. After a shower, washing my cycling gear and a bit of a lie down, I went over to the restaurant for a snack, but, because of a power outage, they weren't able to cook anything (I had my mind set on a toasted sandwich that I'd seen on the menu), and so ordered the fruit salad. It came in a bowl with a huge dollop of icecream on top, with golden syrup on top of that. The Swedish woman, when I said I did have some antibiotics should my cold become worse, suggested she preferred natural methods, but I didn't enquire further. In fact, I actually prefer natural methods also - usually if you do nothing it eventually goes away!
So, I'm just going to lie on my bed, write this, eat a meal at around 7, rest & do some reading. I managed to obtain the entire set of Bosch crime novels by Michael Connelly in eBook form. I've quite enjoyed them but after reading about 5 in a row it's time to read something else I think.
somewhere on the way to Dambulla, before joing the B213.
...also on the way to join the B213