11 November 2015
Wake up, pack up, roll out. It sounds easy, but when there's jetlag and other people involved, all bets are off.
I wake with my alarm at 7:15am. I see messages from Sander saying he's in my hotel lobby. I respond saying I'll be down in a few. When I get down there, there's no sign of Sander, so I set about building my bike. Perhaps he just wandered out for a coffee?
Once the bike is nearly built, I head back upstairs. More messages elucidate that Sander isn't in my hotel, he's in another with a similar name. Fall back to the original plan...
I get some breakfast, finish the bike build and roll out over to 31st Street, between 83rd and 84th. Sander's in the back of a plastic tube wholesaler's shop, building his bike. There's some faff with wheel truing, but eventually, he's ready for the road.
Noodles next, then we finally hit the road proper around 11:30am. It's been raining on and off, but not too heavily. We get a few showerings from above and a lot of mucky spray from the road.
We get to highway 3 on the eastern side of town and start riding it towards Pyin Oo Lwin. We had had some debate about how much climbing was involved today. Sander had remembered Mandalay as some 600m above sea level, and I had remembered Pyin Oo Lwin as around 1200m. 600m of climbing doesn't sound too bad...
The first 30km or so along the highway is flat, and we get into a fairly high cruising speed. When the road cants upward, it does it in fits and starts with sections of higher gradient separated by manageable undulating but gradually ascending sections. The ride ends with more ascending undulation. Road surface is generally a bit shoddy but rideable enough.
We had stopped to refuel in the mid afternoon in a roadside place that called itself a plant nursery and food stop. Aside from some noodles that were a step too fiery, all was yummy. Perhaps due to being too leisurely at this stop, we arrived at Pyin Oo Lwin in the dark after night fell fast at around 5:30pm.
Climbing? We started just above sea level and ended about 1050m up. Not a bad effort for the first day out.
It's hammering it down in Pyin Oo Lwin, but Sander says there's a nearby typhoon, and the forecast is for improvement tomorrow. Here's hoping...
71km, 4hr21, 16.3km/h