Woke up at 4.30AM and I was thinking – can I stay at home and pretend like nothing happened? Do I really have to take my bike out and pedal for more than 200km? Before I left home I went and told my mother that I was about to go, I felt nervous because I realised I am going far away on a risky expedition and I need to come back home in one piece. Maybe it’s because I am a scout – that my parents have little objection towards my thirst for adventure. Saroj on the other hand didn’t even tell his parents that he was out, knowing that they will say no. I did that to my boss, knowing he would say no. Which makes us even.
During the first 15 minutes you feel a little tense – it’s never too late to cycle back home (my
mind keeps telling me), but once you past that nervous zone, your body and mind
are craving for adventure. I keep telling myself – this is the trip of a
lifetime. It is part of destiny that I am doing this right now.
Something I loved about the route was that – the roads were smooth and didn’t have any hills. It was a good decision to have done those exhausting test runs. There is a sense of excitement when you keep passing the towns, one after the other. Saroj took a selfie and posted it on his account – it brought so much attention. I realised that this is the trip people have been keeping in their bucket list all their lives. Everyone who commented on that photo wanted to go out on an expedition like this. For me that was huge motivation – to know that what we were doing was on everyone’s bucket list.
At 11.00am the sun was hard to bear and we found a shady place to have lunch. What we decided was – take a rest when it’s extremely hot without burning out unnecessarily. After two hours we commenced on our journey. We crossed two bridges and some beautiful riverbanks where it was an ideal place to take a bath, however that was not a luxury for us to enjoy.
We came to a small town in Puttalam and I realised my eyes were tired and I was dozing off while cycling. This can be very dangerous for anyone, and I felt my heart beat rising up due to exhaustion. I pulled over, and I didn’t care where I was – I just went to a deep sleep. I am power nap person, so I woke up in 15 minutes, better than before.
Once we came to the Puttalam town, Saroj called his friend Deepan from Puttalam – so we could have a wash and relax ourselves before we proceeded towards Anuradhapura. What a great idea that turned out to be when Deepan told us that we can’t wait here much longer because the elephants cross the road after 6.00pm!!! We stopped at the nearby supermarket – bought water and chocolate to fuel us for the next 75 km. I was so scared because I wouldn’t know what to do if an elephant came in my way. I mean they’re huge! For those who are wondering why elephants cross the road – it’s because we were very close to the Wilpattu National Park border.
This was a lonely path – no big buildings, here there you would find houses along the road. It was either trees or large paddy fields. The villages are named after the tanks that provide them with water to cultivate their lands, eg: Thabbowa, Karuwalagaswewa, Saliyawewa etc. You would be surprised how many tanks you can find in this area if you checked on Google Maps. To our luck we didn’t encounter any elephants. It was a real nuisance dealing with dogs because they would chase you until they get fed up. Saroj advised if a dog comes barking at you, stop your bike – step out of it and show him whose boss.
The worst thing that can happen while you’re cycling in a lonely road late at night – is for you to get a flat tyre. It’s freaking hard to fix it in the dark. Luckily didn’t get that in my first journey. When we reached our hostel it was passed 10.00pm. We exhausted and I couldn’t go to sleep because I knew I had to repeat it again when we are going to Jaffna the next day.