Ride: Thaton, Burma to Kyaikto, Burma
Terrain: Slightly more undulating than the last couple of days, but even with a slow puncture, we were able to make good time and get there in just a few hours.
Eat: You'll be able to finish the ride in a morning, easy. We wanted to go to Kinpun in the afternoon to see Kyaiktiyo (the Golden Rock), so we rocketed along and were in Kyaikto by lunchtime. If you do get hungry, the town of Bilin, which is slightly more than half way into your journey, is a good rest stop for a breather.
Sleep: The Golden Bliss off the main road coming into town - left hand side. It's a kilometre or so outside Kyaikto itself.
To read more about the towns of Kyaikto and Kinpun, click here.
We're flying now. Up with the lark this morning so we would have time to get up the Eastern Yoma Mountains and see Kyaiktiyo, also known as the Golden Rock. This is Day 5 of our ride (excluding rest days), and we're getting stronger and fitter by the minute. During our Easter tour last year, it was around this time that we really hit our stride and the same seems to be the case here.
A big reason why things are going so swimmingly is because we finally fixed a saddle issue that Jess was having which caused her constant searing pain and left her unable to sit on it for more than 30 seconds at a time. The fix? Dipping it ever so slightly so that the pressure was taken off of her backside. It's incredible that a minute detail such as this could solve what seemed at the time like the world's biggest problem.
We should have done it sooner, of course, but often we find ourselves wanting to press on regardless, through inconveniences, through hindrances, through pain. Usually when we do give in, we find that the problem is cured within minutes and curse ourselves for putting up with it for so long, but you never know when a wrong turn of a bolt will turn a small issue into a big one. So usually we leave tinkering for the end of the day.
Because we know what it's like to need help whilst on the road, we're always sensitive to others who might be in that same situation. So when we saw a motorbike on the side of the road waving us down, we slowed our pace and asked if he was alright. He kept on waving his phone at us, which made us think that it was out of battery and he needed to use one of ours. Turns out that his only issue was being so taken aback by the sight of us that he desperately wanted to take a selfie together. Laughing hysterically, we happily obliged.
Onwards we go. Once again we're soaring past an abundance of trees, schools, and waving happy children. The sun's splitting the trees and conditions are beautiful. Five kilometers left on today's ride. One final hill to tackle. It's not as steep as we thought. We're on top of the world. Feeling like a million dollars.
Our old friend the timing chain comes loose just as we're descending. Rats.
We managed to coast gently to the bottom and pull over to take a look. Not five seconds passed before a man on a motorbike stopped next to us and offered his help. Then five seconds after that, a second guy came over as support. It was as if we'd snapped our fingers together and asked for our fairy godmother to show up - that's how quick it was. With their help, we were able to fix the chain in double time.
The second guy walked off afterwards with a wave, but the first guy stayed a bit longer to chat with us. He spoke very good English and was incredibly gracious, asking us what we thought of "my Motherland" and whether we were enjoying ourselves here. Inevitably, we ended up talking about English Premier League Football, which is sacred ground in Burma, and found out to Neil's great amusement that his favourite football team was Manchester United and he loved Wayne Rooney. That's worth at least 100 karma points.
If you do ever find yourself riding through here, don't worry about a thing. No matter how bad your predicament seems to be, somebody will appear and sort you out. Burmese people are some of the nicest on the planet.