Day 6, July 20, 2017- Perumburai to Dharampuri
Distance cycled- 176 kilometres.
Duration – 13 hours
Well aware that she had a long distance to cover, a rested and recouped Sunita managed an early start at sharp 5:00 am. The early morning ride was comfortable but as the sun moved up the horizon it became harsher and the winds got stronger. “ I drank atleast 10-12 bottles of water, 8-9 kernels of coconut water (‘nariyal panis’) and lots of juice but still felt dehydrated.
By 6:00pm Sunita was exhausted and she still had more than 30 kilometres of a steep uphill road to cover. She even thought of taking shelter for the night in any home that she would come across but there was nothing in sight – just miles and miles of forested area. Seeing that it was getting dark and cycling up the slope was a tedious task an auto rickshaw driver offered to help her by carting her cycle uphill. A biker too tried to offer help by offering to tie the cycle to his bike. Sunita politely refused both of them and smilingly told them that “this would be cheating”. It was a test of her mental and physical strength as she laboriously cycled up the never ending mountain in the dark. By the time she reached near the town of Dharampuri her cycle headlights had dimmed and she could barely see but her spirits were still bright.
Despite the tiring ride she still had energy and enthusiasm to spend time and inspire the young girls who could not hear and speak . She is spending the night at the hostel of an Institute for the hearing disabled at Dharampuri.
I felt there was no need to ask Sunita for her todays message. Her incredible resilience and spirit in braving todays grueling marathon 176 kilometre, 13 hour ride said it all. I guess that’s the stuff winners are made of.
Special thanks to the “Omni Sangha” NGO for supporting this noble mission.