Day 13 Cycling: RATNAPURA to NAYAKAKANDA, WATTALA:
Ride details (from Garmin):
Distance: 103.19km; ODOMETER: 840km; Moving Time: 6:51; Elapsed Time: 8:43; Avg Speed: 11.8km/hr; Avg Moving Speed: 15.0km/hr; Max Speed: 40.7km.hr; Total Ascent: 560m; Total Descent: 602m; Max Elevation: 60m; Calories: 3,206 C; Avg Temperature: 32.9 °C; Max Temperature: 41.0 °C
My plan for today was to avoid Colombo, but I ended up skirting around its edges and found myself, to my surprise, ending up on the coast, about 30km south of Negombo.
Today's was a varied, again quite taxing ride as I was on the road for nearly 9 hours. I mostly used the Garmin to lead the way and as a result travelled along some interesting highways and byways. The bike and I travelled through villages, tea plantations, and jungle, and past quite a few Buddhist centres. The route started along the A8, then the B285 and I lost track after that. There were some very poor sections of road - some already prepared for resurfacing, and some clearly in need of resurfacing. Much of the surrounding countryside was very lush. In addition to drinking copious amounts of water, I refuelled with a large bottle of Pepsi and bought a bag of very juicy mandarins at a roadside stall for 400Rs (the labels on them indicated they were from Australia!). Toward the end of the ride, near and along the outskirts of Colombo, I began to feel a little nervous as the roads narrowed and the traffic became heavier - the buses and trucks are fairly forceful on these roads and not overly concerned about people on bicycles. Fortunately I made it without experiencing any mishaps or close calls and I was happy to discover a number of accommodation options along the coast. I managed to locate the Araliya Hotel where I'm now staying, with the volunteered assistance of a three-wheeler driver who saw me looking wistfully at the obviously very expensive Pegasus Reef Resort. After quite a bit of haggling and walking off I managed to get the absurdly overpriced 4500Rs room at the Araliya reduced to 3500Rs. It has a fan and aircon which is quite nice as it's reasonably warm around here. I wouldn't especially recommend this hotel.
30km tomorrow morning -along the coast - and I'll be back where I started from in Negombo, having cycled around 870km. I thought I might do around 1000km in the 3 weeks I'd be cycling but I hadn't really taken the elevations in the hilly regions into account. I'll clean and pack the bike and then spend some time relaxing before the flight back to Australia.