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Another word from Adele: Ayurvedic massage. Hilarious. Possibly the weirdest experience of my massaging career.

Anyone who knows Bruce or me well knows that Adele Muzik is TOTALLY addicted to massage and pride myself on sampling this delicacy in almost every country I have encountered in the world. But none such experience has graced this palette as the Ayurvedic massage. I felt like I was being basted, stuffed and carefully seasoned to be consumed by a tribe of maneaters. By way of illustration, let me try to educate you on this culinary experience:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 human to be ‘massaged/prepared/consumed’
  2. Another human doing the ‘massage/cooking preparation’
  3. 1 loin cloth 
  4. 1 litre of thick dark oil (Caltex would be impressed)
  5. 1 coconut
  6. Various herbs and spices (essential masala curry, sandalwood and various other seeds/ cardamon etc. will do)
  7. 1 baking tray (wooden table will do fine) 
  8. 1 Steam cupboard to ‘cook’ the human
  9. Tablar drumming tribe outside beating drums waiting for the meal
  10. 1 hose to clean the human before consumption

Process:

  1. Strip human and place loin cloth over pink bits
  2. Put human on chair facing away from you
  3. Chop coconut and add to 200ml of dark oil
  4. Drizzle concoction all over human head
  5. Rub furiously into human head until sure every part of head has infused coconut and dark oil (avoid eyes if possible) to ensure flavours are deeply ingrained upon cooking
  6. Lay human head up on baking tray/ wooden table
  7. Season the rest of the dark oil with masala curry and other spices and prepare the basting sauce 
  8. Tell the tablar drummers outside to proceed with drumming and chanting letting the human know of hungry people outside waiting for their meal
  9. Drizzle the basting sauce all over human
  10. Work the oil furiously all over the human in an attempt to work up a lather (although this is not physically possible, this is the focus. NOTE: the human may attempt to slide off the baking tray claiming that the oil is the cause, don’t buy that, if need be tie the human to the baking tray to ensure it doesn’t slip off again)
  11. Flip the human over and repeat the process from behind NOTE: the whole human must be basted in this seasoned curry powder oil, it’s important to leave no part uncovered in oil
  12. Take slippery lathered up human and place in steam cupboard
  13. Bake for 10 minutes until human is succulent and pink and can barely breath
  14. Hose down human using sandalwood paste for final garnishing
  15. Present to tablar playing maneaters

So you see, Ayurvedic massage is not for the faint-hearted. But if you want to experience being basted and cooked at least once in your life, try this culinary experience. I was quite hungry afterwards after smelling all that curry and being cooked myself. But heck, I will try anything. Once ;)

A word on Indiaaaahhhh…

From Adele: India, it is often said, is a continent and not a country. It is one of the world’s greatest civilisations, its social structure as it exists today, can be traced back thousands of years and empires of great size and complexity existed here before anything comparable in Europe. You can never fully KNOW India, that is its beauty. In that unfathomable mystery lies the attraction, the lure. India is vast and in many places crowded, its luxurious and squalid. The plains are as flat and featureless as the himalayas are high and spectacular, the food can be terrible and magnificent. There is nowhere else on earth with the variety of India, this place gets into your blood.

EnduroIndia has taken us on a roller coaster of emotion through some of the most staggering scenery on earth, the poverty at times got us down but we were always uplifted by the warmth, happiness and generosity of the people. How can people with so little seem to have so much? Basically India is what you make of it. Immerse yourself in the wonder of the place, surrender to its magic and madness and you will come out a different person than you went in. India is an assault on every single sense you have got, you can go from feeling physically assaulted by the hustle and bustle of the city street to experiencing a sense of inner peace never encountered on a deserted mountain, tiger reserve or beach. I have done my best to describe this place but it’s beyond words…

Well, it is finally coming to an end… Today is an emotional day as it involves the last of our riding together. We travel past one of India’s largest Arch dams and tackle the tricky roads of the Idukki wildlife reserve towards our night’s stop at the amazing city of Kottayam. Today was also pretty trecherous as we ride on the most dangerous highway in India…

Kevin get an injection to ‘pep’ him upFortunately, my ‘delli belly’ has disappeared and I woke this morning feeling the best I have the entire trip. Unfortunately for some, last night’s partying got the better of them…

We left the Tiger reserve and embarked on a day of fun and silliness. Everyone’s spirits were high and the group has really bonded together. Ali, the photographer, jumped on the back of my bike again today and we set off to find some great picturesque photos.

Children by the side of the roadWe stopped on the side of the road to give some kids pens and balloons. Pretty much without exception the Indians we met on the side of the road throughout the entire trip only has two questions for us… 1) “What is your good name?” and 2) “From where you come?” Any conversation outside those two questions is unchartered territory for them.

My Bullet from the top of the mountainOur next stop was a gorgeous mountaintop. On the way up to the top, we had to navigate an incredibly steep road and my bike broke began smoking and spewing oil out of the engine casing. At this point, Ali intelligently noted said “Is the bike supposed to smoke like that?” I collapsed in stitches of laughter and told her to hitch a ride to the top while I rolled down the hill to find a mechanic.

The mechanics tightened something and sent me back up the hill. Whatever it was that they did, worked. I arrived at the top to find the most fantastic view. The pictures speak for themselves.

Riding up the hillLater along today’s 190km route, I found Adele on the side of the road with the Medics. It was her turn for ‘delli belly’ and she had been vomiting all morning. She had been pretty tough vomiting then getting back on and riding then vomiting and getting back on (where did all this grit come from?) But by the time I found her, she had lost the will to live and I put her on the back of my bike as she was in no state to ride and she refused to get in the ambulance, insisting that she was going to ride to the finish. You gotta love Adele. She has more courage than most men I know.

Determined to make it to the finish, she wobbled on the back of my bike for an hour before flagging down the mechanic who was riding her bike for her. She clambered back on her bike and rode to the meet-up point.

The meetup…About 10km up the road, were 150 bikes waiting for us. We were pretty much the last riders to arrive for our procession into the Kerala Backwaters. The excitement in the air was electric. 150 bikes revving and hooting their horns. The locals were mesmerized and delighted, probably wondering where these aliens came from.

Once everyone had gathered together, 150 of us, whooping and yelling, departed for our beach hotel. I cannot do justice in words to the feeling one gets riding in a pack of bikes. The noise is deafening and the energy is tangible. We blocked up the roads and all other traffic was forced to give way to the sheer volume of our presence.

Adele and I arrived at our hotel, holding hands while riding and completely blown away by the entire experience. As we arrived, we were honored with floral wreaths and fresh fruit juice.

Our resort is stunning. We are staying in a chalet on stilts overlooking the sea with hammocks strung underneath it. Oh, what a good life I live… I am blessed.

We were all silenced though as we heard that Mike, the South African seasoned award winning photographer on the trip had been rushed to hospital with damaged lumbar vertebrae in his spine after hitting a local on the dangerous highway coming in. We all called him and he was ok but was to be flown back to the UK in a leer jet. The local man who ran into the road and was hit had a fractured pelvis. He was taken care of too but we were all reminded of being careful in India. It is trecherous and beautiful and humbling. Thank god for insurance companies.

After our pensive time over Mike’s accident, we remembered that Mike wanted us to party in his absence and drink a few for him. So we all dressed up in our Indian attire this evening and partied the night away. Adele looked like a princess in her sari and I looked like Imran Khan in my outfit. Toby dressed up as a Royal Enfield (he had been secretly getting parts off the mechanics over the last few weeks) and Fraser was some kind of road peasant. It was hilarious. 150 dressed up drunken bikers was a sight to see. We all ended the evening with 20 of us skinny dipping in the infinity pool to beat the heat and mozzies and it was an epic end to an epic trip. Rachel and Adele, the novices on the trip had loads of bikers beating their breasts over the girls and their courage and how much they inspired us all. They were very popular on the trip and it did them good to realise the impact they had on everyone there.

Tomorrow is the last day of this adventure called EnduroIndia. It is not a riding day, but a resting day where we will all reflect and come to terms with what we have learned and experienced over the last 2 weeks. It frustrates me that I cannot convey in words the magic we have experienced over the last 2 weeks, so I hope the pictures do it some justice.

More updates to come…

Tonight we head off to the Periyar tiger reserve.

The people that we have met in Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been unbelievable. Wherever our rally goes, we are greeted like aliens or celebrities. Kids run out of their houses waving frantically shouting ‘pen pen’ (the most prized commodity in India) and when you stop your bike everyone wants to know your name, where you are from and if you want a cup of Masala Chai. They accept no payment and just want to ensure you feel at home and welcome in their country. It was often that we were left with a lump in our throats. People who have so little who are so hospitable and loving. It put our lives into a pensive perspective and reminded us of what enchanted lives we do live. We are so happy that we raised these funds to help these people. Enduro donated 220 thousand pounds this year and many of these villages will now have medical care and kids with HIV will be helped – especially around Kodaikanal. 

India is just the most dynamic place. It’s all or nothing. This morning I woke up ready for the day and within 2 hours of being on the bike, all I wanted to do was sleep.

My friend Alex, the self proclaimed “most positive person in the world” tried to motivate me by getting me to do a few ra ra cheers and screams, but within a few minutes, I was feeling sick and within an hour, I was lying on the side of the road about to puke.

The 107km which was today’s trip was the longest 107km of my life. It took Adele and I 5 hours to complete today’s ride. (She had to slow down to ride with me, which was a first) The scenery was beautiful as it always is here, but I was hardly present to see it.

We arrived at the Tiger reserve in Thekkady at 2pm and I puked my guts out… We were told at the beginning of Day 1 that there are 2 ways to navigate India. One way is to go upstream and another is to flow downstream. I chose the latter and fell asleep for the rest of the day!

Adele had a full body Ayurvedic massage today which she lapped up like a kitten. She chilled with mates whilst I slept and slept and slept….

Tomorrow is our last day,,, I wish this trip would carry on forever.

Today is claimed to be the best riding on the entire trip and everyone said would knock the breath out of our lungs with its intense beauty. We spend 2 hours descending the beautiful and high mountain from Kodai, then hit stunning wildlife sanctuary of Indira Ghandi and Chinnur, with their awesome switchbacks and great tarmac. We are apparently never far away from big cats, bears and hyenas. After this stunning stage, we hit the tea country and highest tea plantation in the world onto Munnar national park… quite literally heaven on earth… 

After sleeping like the dead, we were happily awakened to breakfast – more curry! Our hotel was superb and I hit the road feeling energized and looking forward to the day’s riding. It was hyped to be the best riding ever!

We descended the mountain the same way we came up yesterday. I rode without Adele and Frazer and I screamed down that mountain like bats out of hell, scraping our footpegs around almost every corner, making our trusty Royal Enfield Bullets look like superbikes. It’s hard to believe that I could have so much fun on a 18 horsepower 350cc motorcycle designed in the 1930’s, but we did.

By the time we reached the bottom, adrenaline was pumping like blood in our veins and Frazer and I squeeled with pure joy.

Further down the road, we passed through a wildlife sanctuary before entering into the most scenic tea plantations. This vista must be one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Photos are coming. I promise.

On the side of the road, I saw the funniest shop i have ever seen. It is an egg shop. The lady who runs it has a cage filled with hens and she collects their eggs daily and sells them to the locals. Talk about a niche market!

I entered the tea plantations and my jaw hit the floor. It is so beautiful. Green everywhere splattered with violets and reds in a beautiful valley with a river bursting through it. The pictures will speak for themselves.

I was so moved by this scene, I drove for 90 minutes in 2nd gear, just soaking it up never wanting it to end. We climbed high up the mountain at the end of the valley and took in the view. We were all silent with awe. The closest I can come to comparing it with something is the Swiss Alps.

After another breathtaking descent down the other side of the mountain, we arrived at our destination, Munnar, 188km later. We are staying in the Tea County resort, a luxurious place with marble floors and a view to die for. I can’t explain how nice it feels arriving at a great resort after a hard day’s riding.

I jumped into the shower and Frazer and I headed into town to get some suits made for our Indian Fancy Dress party in a few nights time. I got an orange/gold Indian 3/4 length suit tailored for 400 rupees. That’s just 5 quid or $10! And the tailor is going to deliver it to the hotel. What a steal…

I’m cramped in a tiny cubicle in a local market as I type this. Adele’s side of the story will come when she arrives in Munaar. She is probably somewhere in the tea plantations as we speak.

Adele interjects in Bruce’s blog: Ahoy! today was MINDBLOWING. I can honestly say that I was shocked into silence today. Rachel, Joe, Vicky and I rode together (Charlie and the Angels) and there was nothing to say. Vicks fell off earlier today and Rachel had another near-death experience but I was just cruising ensuring I stayed hidrated and cool. I absolutely loved today and arrived in Munnar tired, sore but just tingling from being so alive. I have never spent so many consecutive days FULLY present to what I am doing whilst I am doing it. I have no concept of life back home and haven’t thought about work or anything else for what feels like weeks… The tea plantations near Munnar feel like what an artist would paint if he was tasked to paint heaven. Jacaranda trees contrasted with red flowers, lakes, waterfalls and rivers all woven together in green lace. AHH JUST MAGIC.

Till tomorrow… I wish this never ends…

IMG_2128 We leave the beauty of Mudumallai behind and head off up the mountain of Ooty, once there we tackle one of the most amazing rides in India, another secret road that Enduro India have special permission to ride. This ‘road’ doesn’t appear on any maps and certain stages have been closed to foreigners since the 1960’s. Riding this rode and its 100 hairpin bends is one of the most amazing and challenging stages in the rally. We end at Kodaikanal – which was the only American hill station under British rule and still remains a strong international presence. There are many Tibetan immigrants here and the road from Palani to Kodai is one of the most memorable on earth.

IMG_2130 In my 17 years of riding bikes, today was the best day riding I have ever had. Period!

We pulled out of the Jungle Hut at 7am and before long, we found ourselves cruising through the most spectacular coffee and tea plantations. As we rode, we saw tea pickers working in the fields picking green tea leaves off the plants and throwing them in bags they carry on their backs.

IMG_2141 The tea fields are a magical place, not only because the greenery is so striking, but because they seem to exude a tranquility I have not often experienced.

As we climbed a mountain pass with over 100 hairpin bends, in true form, I raced to the top like a bull released from captivity. Hairpin bends are biker’s favorite thing. The thrill that comes from cornering at high speed is intoxicating to me. As I ride, I know that my life is always on the line, so I focus with such intensity, that the rest of the world just disappears. It’s being present in it’s purest form and it is completely addictive. This is why there are so many adrenaline junkies in the world. I believe that being completely present is being enlightened. Anyway, don’t let me get started on philosophy, although India is the perfect place to explore these things.

IMG_2159Adele rode incredibly well today. Her riding has improved leaps and bounds each day. She had a lesson from Gordon the crazy Scotsman last night on hairpin bends and the position of the bike on the road, which made her look like a pro on the road.

IMG_2146 By the time we had descended the mountain however, Adele had started to feel weak, so we pulled off the road to get her some Coke, at which point she almost collapsed. She was shaking and her face looked pale. Perhaps it was the 42 degree heat or her blood sugar levels bottoming out, but she was in no state to ride.

Within minutes a group of curious locals had gathered around us to see what was going on. Most want to help, but they end up interfereing more than helping, so we kept them at bay by propping Adele up on somebody’s front wall in the shade.

IMG_2162 I called the ambulance from the 2 way radio in the mechanic’s truck and within 15 minutes, the Enduro India medics had arrived. Amazing service. The medics looked after Adele for 2 hours while a mechanic rode her bike for her until she was feeling strong enough to ride again.

IMG_2166 In the meantime, with Adele in the Ambulance, I hooked up with Toby and Dave, the tour’s comic characters and we raced our bikes along the long stretches of highway (the equivalent of a single track road in the UK) through the small Indian villages, stopping to play the fool with the locals.

IMG_2169 A few hours passed and I found Adele on the side of the road waiting for a mechanic to bring her bike to her. She had been there 45 minutes, so when I arrived, she was relived to see me and jumped on my bike as a pillion instead.

IMG_2171 Together, we climbed the most scenic mountain pass I have ever seen. It was like being in The Lord Of The Rings… lakes, mountains, palm tree forests… The riding itsself was just as amazing and Adele hung on to me for dear life as I threw the bike into the corners, trying to impress her with my biking skills.

She obviously learned something about cornering while sitting pillion with me, because when she got back onto her bike half way up the mountain, she was riding faster than ever before. I gave her a 3 minute head start and it took me 20 minutes to catch her!

 We arrived in Kodai at another beautiful resort, ate dinner and fell asleep by 9pm.

Today, I will never forget. The best riding of my life. I am told that tomorrow’s riding is even better, so watch this space.

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Today, I sat around the pool reading my book, chatting with my fellow bikers and resting. Oh what a relief. 6 Days of continuous biking has really taken something.

Later that afternoon, we went on a safari hoping to see Tigers, but the animals were shy and we only saw Peacocks, Bison and Deer…

Tomorrow, we are off to Kodaikanal…

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Day 6 – Jungle Jam (Mysore to Masinagudi)

A short days riding for all… heading off at 10:30am as opposed to our usual wake up call of 6am – Fraser and Delli were relieved as they had a late night last night partying with the others. We ride through dense tiger reserves, huge wild elephant populations and friendly villagers. The Jungle hut is nestled in the Mudumallai tiger reserve and the scenery and wildlife are out of this world. 

We set off on Day 6 after a wonderful sleep in a comfortable bed in our 5 star hotel. Bliss…

IMG_2013Within 5 minutes, our first drama of the day occurred when one of the riders, Al, hit a cow on the side of the road. In India, cows are sacred animals and also the livelihood of the locals. Killing a cow is considered as severe a killing a human being.

I arrived at the scene of the crime to see a large cow lying on it’s side in the middle of the road and our very nervous Al standing next to it. The locals had already surrounded him and us riders, preparing for the worst, stopped on the side of the road to support our fellow rider.

The cow was clearly going to die and the locals were clearly going to make sure that Al did not leave the scene without paying up for the cow either in money or blood. Simon, Enduro India’s organizer, managed to get Al in the ambulance without being lynched and then proceeded to negotiate with the owner of the cow, who was now wielding a machette to make sure he got paid.

Initially, the owner demanded 20000 Rupees payment for killing his cow. Simon offered him 7000 at which point the owner took his machette and slit the cow’s throat in front of him, causing the cow to convulse and shake as it died in the road. Simon, fearing for his life, counter offered 10000 Rupees, which the cow owner accepted.

Simon paid up and got the hell out of there! The moral of the story? If you kill a cow by accident in India, just keep on going, or face being killed by the locals… The irony is that Al is a dairy farmer!!! We all laughed hard the next day when Al won the ‘Dick Of The Day’ award.

IMG_2052 The rest of our ride to the Jungle Hut was fun. Adele and I washed our clothes in a river on the side of the road with some locals. We beat our clothes on the rocks, scrubbed soap in with brush and rinsed out for that just washed mud effect. The locals thought we were nuts and chuckled at us… Mad foreigners!

We eventually left Karnataka and rode on into Tamil Nadu. Bill Gates once commented that Karnataka was the most impressive Indian state he had ever seen with probably the highest literacy rate in the world. A good demonstration of this was seeing a local walking out of a shack with no teeth, barefeet, wearing only loincloth clutching his Thermodynamics textbook!

As we hit Tamil Nadu, we rode through Bangipur nature reserve where we spotted monkeys, deer and could feel the watchful eyes of tigers, leopards and elephants on us. It was the one time I could safely say that no matter how much Delli needed to go the the loo, she somehow held on with no complaint for an extra hour for fear of wild creatures biting her ass.

We were greeted at our destination by a thunderous monsoon shower. I promptly passed out from exhaustion and slept for 5 hours while Adele played in the mud with the boys… There was an inordinate amount of mud and apparently Delli, Toby and Dave proceeded to turn into 5 year old mud wrestling champs much to the joy of 135 cheering bikers. There was mud in every orifice as they dragged 3 others into their fun and games. Joe, our Scottish American, tore off all his body armour and joined in wearing only his birthday suit. Upon this new intrusion, everyone ran out of the mud. The film crew caught the entire event on film and interviewed them afterwards. Later, it was revealed that the exact place they chose to wallow like piggies was also a cess pool! The medics gave the 3 a lecture about health and safety in India and doused them with iodine and betadine wash. The 3 grinned like naughty schoolkids as they were told off by their surrogate Indian “parents”.

IMG_2097 Jungle Hut is located in the middle of the reserve and in the middle of the annual Tamil festival. The deity being honoured by the festival is Manomundrin – the fertility goddess. The locals come from everywhere and give praise to the goddess by dancing, chanting, drumming, holding pots of fire, piercing their tongues and cheeks with spears and chewing a plant that makes their teeth red and sends them into a trance.IMG_2068

Delli found herself in the MIDDLE of this procession (I’d expect nothing less from her) dancing with the holy men… She lost the plot and emerged an hour later with 3 people holding her hands, ash all over her body, high on whatever smoke was happening around her, stroking her head and inviting her into their homes for holy supper afterwards. There was a circus with tightrope-walking goats, dogs who climb ladders and all kinds of fun.

Dinner was tasty and after getting in a jeep and heading off to another resort to continue the party, we finally flopped into bed at around 2am.

Another day… Tomorrow is rest day. Can’t wait.

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Day 5 – Mysore Ass (Kalasa to Mysore)

An early wake up call was tough for those with aches and pains of the last few days start to take hold. Today is another long and demanding day as we make our way to Mysore, ancient summer seat of the Raj. Mysore is a city much more used to tourists due to its regal status, proud history and beautiful buldings. Pulling up at the traffic lights with a bull elephant to the right is a feeling we can never get used to. 

IMG_1951 We left the Silent Valley resort in a thick mist. In fact, Gorillas In The Mist came to mind as we were riding. With all our protective gear, we don’t look much different from Gorillas or teenage mutant ninja turtles!

For the first 30 minutes, I was constantly wiping my visor to keep it clear from misting up. Seems that this was a prelude to more wiping later in the day…

IMG_1965 Although we were warned that today was not so scenic and was a transit day to Mysore, the views for the first 2 hours were spectacular as we emerged from the mist at the summit of the mountain we were crossing. We rode through coffee plantations with the fantastic roads giving us some magnificent riding.

It seems that despite my solid stomach, ‘Deli Belly’ has set in and it seemed like I spent the rest of the day riding from bathroom to bathroom wiping my ass… All part of the Indian experience! Not only that, but my ass is killing me from sitting in the saddle for so long. I feel like I need ass replacement surgery.

Adele seems intent on cramming 5 years of biking experience into 5 days… Today she had her first blowout. Her rear tyre burst at 80km/h and she managed to stop the bike without falling off, which is no small feat, especially for a novice rider. I can’t call her a beginner anymore because she isn’t one. She has found herself on her Bullet and I just stand in awe watching her handle this big bike the way she does. Again, she got straight back on her bike after a tyre replacement and realignment and promptly RACED Rachel to Mysore. Those 2 are honestly becoming crazy biker chicks.

I am writing this from our 5 star hotel in Mysore. What a relief to have a night in luxury. I feel blessed!IMG_1966

IMG_1979 We caught a TukTuk to go see the Palace in Mysore. OMG, what a crazy experience! The driver almost had 4 accidents during the 5 minute trip to the Palace. That’s not because he was a bad driver, but because that’s how one drives in India…

Adele, Fraser, Rachel, Alex. Toby, Kevin and THE OTHERS got a little liquored in the evening and had WAY too much fun – but was probably well deserved after the exhaustion of the day.

IMG_1958 Today was great fun and I am warming to India. The last 5 days have been an assault on all my senses and I have been emotionally tired, struggling to leave Designer Life in London. Today, I feel like I am settling in at last.

Tomorrow we ride to the Jungle Hut – a Tiger reserve. More then…

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IMG_1884If there was an awards programme for one of the most beautiful toughest roads on earth, this would be it: we biked up roads that hadn’t seen traffic for years. Day 4 is known as the KILLER day. At some stages they send in a chainsaw gang in before we could tackle the road as nature had taken its hold so firmly. We end the day in the beautiful resort of Silent Valley near the famous Kudremukh National Park. 

There are 3 kinds of bikers on Enduro India – those at the front, those in the middle and the stragglers at the back.

The bikers at the front are experienced riders – some ex-racers and I believe they come to Enduro India for the riding more than the scenery. The stragglers at the back are often the beginner riders and as such, they have bigger hurdles to overcome. These are the real heroes of the trip – the ones who face their demons head on and conquer them. One such rider is my courageous wife, Adele.

IMG_1885Adele only passed her motorcycle test 3 weeks ago!!! Today’s ride was possibly the toughest day of the entire trip. We traveled through India’s beautiful countryside on roads not fit for 4×4’s. We then climbed an entire mountain on dirt roads, which is the nastiest terrain for a road bike like the Bullet.

By the time Adele got to the top of the mountain, she was dehydrated and hypoglycemic. Her hands were shaking from lack of sugar in her blood and from the fear of riding on these treacherous dirt roads.

I got her some sweeties from some of the other riders which seemed to stop the shaking a bit and then she hauled her tired and bruised body (from her accident yesterday) back on the Bullet for the downhill stretch. This is where her true colors shone.

IMG_1888 Half way down the mountain Adele crashed again. She was going around a dirt road hairpin bend at 5km/h – probably a bit too slow. She touched the front brake a tad too hard and bam – she was lying in the dirt with the bike on top of her. I jumped off my bike and a mechanic and I pulled her bike off her. The bike had landed on her bruised knee, which by now was aching. Adele was in tears, completely terrified of riding off the steep edge of the cliff and terrified of the dirt roads. 

I could see the terror in her eyes as tears flowed down her cheeks. Despite her terror, Adele was determined to complete the ride. Everyone told her to get in the jeep but she wouldn’t hear of it. I was not sure that this was the best move for her, but I knew she could do it, so I encouraged her to go on. She did, and although it took her another hour to reach the bottom of the mountain at 5km/h, she made it!

What a victory!!! I am so proud of her as is she. This is the stuff heroes are made of! The heroes at the back!

IMG_1879This was the hardest 220km day of the trip and I am now exhausted. Also today, a mad Scottish rider flew himself and his bike off a cliff and landed 10m below with the bike on top of him. The guy behind him almost had a heart-attack to see Collin fly off the cliff but when they looked down below at the bike lying on top of him, apparently he just halled the 180kg bike off himself and WALKED back up the cliff whilst they sent some guys to lift the bike back up. He was fine, but the bike was battered! Again, tough as nails, he got on another bike 20 minutes later and continued his ride.

We arrived at Silent Valley resort, after an inproptu swim in a local river, to a warm reception of roses and dancers. Food was good and we slept like babies.

Till tomorrow…

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