22 November 2015
While trains in Burma are relaxing and colourful, they are certainly not fast. Yesterday's moving rest still leaves us with a job of work if we are to make it to Bagan.
We get up early, breakfast at the guesthouse and roll out. A British couple who seem well-versed in Burma travel are also getting food. We chat, and wonder if we're deluding ourselves claiming that we'll make it to Bagan today. As we ready to leave, the guy says "well, someone has to see them off..." and comes outside to wish us well.
It's still cool, crisp even, and we get right to it. After several kilometres of cranking well over 20km/h, Sander suggests we set up a pull/draft system with 5km pulls. This holds for several loops before I start to flag and can't stay on. I've simply gone out too fast and have to ride at a much more self-directed pace to pull myself together.
The midsection of the day sees me gradually regaining form as we continue to hold a fairly high pace. Terrain isn't hilly, but it's far from flat.
We stop for lunch with just under 100km on the clock. A few minutes before we'd stopped to chat with an Australian bike tourist who looked rather heavily packed - he said he had six kilos of energy bars with him. Nutter.
As we pull out after lunch it's searing hot, the sun is high, and temperatures are at least in the mid 30s. We carry on maintaining a high pace, and there are some gentle downhill gradients to help us. We take a right in the town of Kyauk Padaung, and it's tempting to think we're nearly done, but the road bumps up and down for another 50km or so.
Sander sets up a blistering pace over the last half of this section, seeing us blasting along at around 30km/h. Once we get into the last couple of kilometres, I manage a fast stint up front too - at times we're hitting 40km/h. We pull up by some hotels and dismount creaking from our bicycles.
169km, 6hr57, 24.2km/h
17km, 1hr15, 13.5km/h