Jonty hits the roads
He was only meant to join Sam for the first 3kms, but ever the team man he kept by her side for 15kms (his longest run in many years) and even then he felt bad leaving her...although it wasn't for long.
We were greeted by a group of men, all in black with some wicked beards, and armed with a mean Harley ready to roll. These were the men from Eagle Riders India.
Strapping on his helmet, firing up the engine, all whilst a camel drawn carriage cruised past, it was a highly unusual scene, and the team couldn't help but think...this is pretty badass!
The pair travelled side by side as Sam continued the 60km journey for day, with Jonty occasionally opening up the engine to zoom ahead, but always quickly returning to her side with a big grin, some words of encouragement and a timely high five.
It was the simple interactions that kept her going, and the sincerity in his words is a side that many wouldn't see as they pose for a selfie or grab a quick signature. There was a moment to come which proved this was never more true.
As the team waited for Sam to reach their destination, a lone bicycle road closer with what appeared to be a pizza maker on the back of the bike. Intrigued the team began chatting to the young man, only to discover it was actually a small dog cage and inside a 1 year old puppy.
As Jonty and the team chatted to him, they heard he too was on a journey, having decided to ride solo across the country having completed quite a number of days so far. His reasons were simple, he wanted to explore, and as the comfortable conversation continued something happened....the penny dropped and so did the young man's jaw.
"Jonty! Oh my gosh. Jonty. Are you Jonty Rhodes," the young man said with his hand to his mouth in shock. For the next ten minutes his disbelief continued as he kept repeating 'I just can't believe it.'
This chance encounter on a road in the middle of nowhere, with a group of ten strangers on a highway, would clearly be one he would never forget. And as Sam caught up and met this fellow adventured Jonty summed up the situation beautifully as he shared a photo of the pair on his Instagram.
Same direction. Different Paths. #RunIndia
As the groups said their goodbyes, the young man decided he would name his new pet dog Jonty and his final words captured the enormity of the moment for him as we took a quick photo of the young man with his hero
"My dad is going to be so proud now," he said.
"I'm sure he already is mate," one of our team replied.