If 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.
Adele 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.
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!
This 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.