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Lost in Rajasthan
“I just love this part of the tours ” George says to me as we cycle our way back on route after missing a turn in a village. “You know…getting lost and having to figure it out.”
George is a veteran of several of our tours in different parts of the world and his outlook can’t be beat. I can’t say that everyone in our 6 person pack was as pleased to be lost on a rather long and bumpy ride to Kherjarla but George wasn’t shy about sharing his pleasure in all things unplanned and adventurous. As the one who has been the most closely involved in the Indian Adventure from its inception, I did feel more than a little embarrassed about helping to lead us off track that morning.
By the time we had come to our second unflagged intersection, we were all quietly second guessing our previous decisions. Joe saw me ride up alongside him, and gave a sigh saying “oh, well Shanny is here, we must be on the right track.” That was the moment when I knew we were most definitely off-track. But a helpful local man excitedly waved us on. The confidence and enthusiasm of his signalling to turn left was enough to let me believe that we were good for a few moments longer. But as I rounded the corner and I saw some of our group heading out in front, while a few others hesitated at the corner, I knew our group was splintering. So I put my uncertainty aside and sprinted ahead to catch the front end of our group before they could get too far away. As we gathered back at the intersection, more helpful villagers were now waving us in the opposite direction. Soon we made our way back a few kilometres and rode past the flagging tape we had missed the first time round.
We ended the day at Fort Kherjarla, a place that helps gives this section the ‘royal’ part of the Royal Rajasthan Ride. The fort has been owned by the same family of royal Rajputs for centuries. They live on the premises and the current head of the family made sure to say hello to some of our riders before we departed the next morning. Some of the current staff are descended from noblemen who have served the royal family for generations (You can read a little bit about it here). The modern rooms come in all shapes and sizes – some with bathrooms alone that that are the size of many of our other hotel rooms on this trip.
Later, sitting in garden, enjoying the warmth of the sun, listening to the water fountain and the birds in the trees, everyone quickly forgot about the few extra kilometers they had ridden earlier that morning.
We are now on our rest day in Jodhpur and tomorrow pedal south towards Udaipur. The three days it will take us to get there will be first real test of climbing on the tour. Let’s see how fit we have gotten so far.
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