Rumble in the Jungle 2017.
A very steep climb welcomes the racers back to reality before the road undulates for a while, I rode it mostly with Dan again. The broomwagon eventually caught up with us somewhere along the way and I was then free to race the last (mostly uphill) thirty kilometres or so. Enthusiasm (and mild relief) got the better of me and I stomped on the pedals. The final part of the climb, about 8 or 9km, comes just after the last water station, is very rough, brutally steep, and known as Cramp Hill; I got cramp. I had to constantly change my position on the bike and even stopped a couple of times to try and stretch it out. The group of youngsters walking home from school who kept passing me must have wondered why I bothered to keep pedalling. The reward for all this misery is a scintillating high speed descent all the way in to town, I managed to reel in a couple more riders on the way down.
For Stage Two (Haputale) – 52km/2292m – Lipton’s Loop – we get to stay two nights in the same hotel which is always nice; on most stage races you move hotels every day.
|Pamela and Alfredo at the bottom of the epic singletrack|
In the mountains, as I’m sure you all know, there is a price to be paid for such a fantastic descent and we all began the steady climb upwards to another 2000m summit. Thankfully this one is much more amenable and rises on a forgiving gradient through the Diyagama West tea plantation,for about 12 or thirteen kilometres, passing a stunning waterfall on the way, and then peters out to a ribbon of singletrack for another three kilometres.
The singletrack is great, quite steep and tricky to begin with, then a fun challenge to the top, and finally the reward of a fairly short but very fast descent to the New Zealand Dairy Farm, and the oddest landscape in Sri Lanka. It wasn’t for the occasional exotic tree you might easily believe that you were riding your bike through the English countryside; it’s all rolling green fields dotted with the distinctive black and white of Friesian dairy cows. I was half expecting to see a buxom wench with a milking stool and a bucket at any minute.
|I’ve called him Charlie.|
The 2018 edition is now confirmed as a five-stage event with a new stage in The Knuckles Range. I always felt that four stages was a little to short so it should be really great now. Check it out here
Consume less, live more. Plant more trees.
Images from the recce:
|The youngest rider – Akshit Guar from India|
|Styling it for the camera|
StageThree – Haputale to Nuwara Eliya:
Stage Four – Newara Eliya to Kandy:
|Nick Craig and Meg Carrigan|
|I love riding my bike 🙂|
|Me (left) and San Kapil at the finish line|
|With Alfredo and Pamela|
|The whole gang|
|Until next time…|