November 2nd, 2013
So after a boring week in the work place, I was thinking of a 100 km ride. All though doing 150 Km was in the corner of my mind, I still wasn’t sure if I could last that much. Texted all my cycling friends asking if they could join me for the ride (I was fine with any 100km route), but no positive replies, thanks to the hot weather. But Roshni replied telling one of her friend was planning for a ride to Makedatu, around 200 km ride two way. Told her I wasn’t sure if I could do so much, but she motivated me telling I can (Apparently she had done couple of 200 rides herself). Reluctantly I took the contact of her friend Pallavi and got in touch with her. I asked her if they were riding on road bikes, for I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them. But when she replied that they all are on MTB’s, I sought of convinced myself that I can keep up. I was asked to be in silk board at 5:00AM
We met as planned. Pallavi introduced me to the group.
- Divam Narula
- Pallavi Shetty
- Prakash Shanbhag
- Sangram Jena
- Deeptesh Selvaraj
Pallavi-Sangram knew each other, for they were working for the same firm, and so did Prakash-Divam. Thanks to Pallavi who posted the plan in some cycling forum, we all met. Though, I personally must thank Roshni for letting me know about the plan.
The ride started at 5:30 AM. Very pleasant weather it was, early morning, and this worm that was stuck in my head reminding me that it was my first 200km ride was fading slowly. I started enjoying the ride after we reached the outskirts and moved close to pyramid valley. Apparently it was only me and Prakash who was riding on our Hybrid while the rest three where on their Mountain bikes. So the consequence was that we always stayed ahead of them. After having crossed the city it was a thorough cruise. I was all pumped up and with the sun rise view in the left side it only made things better.
Pallavi clicked some really good snaps during our ride.
We then stopped in Kanakpura for breakfast at around 8AM. In the hotel we met another group of guys who had started earlier than us from Bangalore to Kanakpura. There initial plan was to ride to Kanakpura and then back to Bangalore, I mean until they got to know ours. Some questioned us as to whether we could make it back home before 10pm. We told them its possible, but will be challenging because of the heat. Initially they were reluctant until 2 of them wanted to join us. The whole group then decided to extend their plans and peddle to Makedatu with us.
So we all left together from the hotel towards Kanakpura-Sangam road. The road was very bad for around 3km which I hated the most, given that my bike had no shock absorbers unlike others. So I peddled slowly until we hit proper road. We then entered some remote village with cultivable fields on either side. I and prakash took off, peddling at approx speed of 25km/hr. Meanwhile we lost sight of the other group who joined us from the hotel in kanakpura.
This trail was the best that I had cycled, paddy fields, cattle, fresh air and the kids who were on their way to saturday morning school in white dress shouting bye as we passed them, it was just too good. Also when I stopped for water, spoke to the village people who were weaving basket and involved in silk worm culture.
So excited I was, that I picked up speed and started peddling at 30 km/hr for the next 10 Km. And the tail wind helped a lot. It was here that I touched my highest speed of 51.1 km/hr. I just had this amazing rush which I wouldn’t forget forever. First one’s always the best. I was even wondering as to how much speed I could have reached if I had been on a road bike. CRAZY !
The last 5 km was too good with continuous hair pin bends going downhill through the forest. Almost lost control in one of the bend which cautioned me. Enjoying the forest view I went down and reached Makedatu at 10:40 AM approx. Prakash came next after 30 mins followed by other guys in 20 mins. Then we realised that we had lost the other group very soon after we had started from Kanakpura. We then had fried fresh fish which tasted really great.
And then we crossed the stream in a coracle and from there took an OLD mini bus, which I ‘am sure was fuelled with kerosene, to reach this view point, around half a km far. The view point was beautiful with heavy water current rushing through naturally eroded rocks. The idea of camping there for the night was very tempting, though officially it’s not allowed. The rocks where so hot that we couldn’t last for more than 10 seconds standing at the same place. Guys took some snaps and then we headed back to the stream in our luxury bus.
Short bath in the stream was inevitable to beat the hit. We again crossed the stream in the coracle and when we were about to enter the hotel for our lunch, we met the other group who just had reached. They looked completely tired and exhausted. We spoke to them and learnt that they had struck a deal with this truck driver who’ll drop them back to Banshankari. It was 2:00 PM by then. And we had decided to leave at 3PM, hoping the heat would have come down a bit. Accordingly we had lunch and geared up for the long ride back home. During our lunch I got to know that Sangram was preparing for an upcoming Triathlon event. Awesome !
When we started I heard guys telling that we will have to push our way through the first 4 km which will be crazy steep. But I had other plans.
“Come on !! You had accomplished the Nandhi hill climb of 7kms in 43 mins. This is very possible and you would have peddled your way through this next 4 Km in no time. Go ! GOOO!!” That’s exactly what I was telling myself when I was peddling really hard, taking deep breadth and counting down the steep hair pin bends one by one. I think of these explorers and achievers of whom I grew up reading and watching, people who endured through the worst times to accomplish what they really wanted. Yeah I do that, even if it’s a really small challenge that I want to accomplish. I take inspiration form others
Meanwhile the sun was burning me to the core. I knew it was going to be a crazy task to cycle all the way back home. But that’s the best part. Tests you both mentally and physically.
Sweating profusely I peddled and finished the first 5 km and stopped. It felt good to see flat road ahead after the crazy climb. Had some water and continued. I must say that it was difficult to continue with your legs feeling weak and the sun hitting down at 36 degree. Took more breaks to drink water and peddled till kanakpura where I had a cornetto cone, two full glass of cold and fresh fruit juice and waited by the hotel where we had our breakfast, morning, for other guys. They came after 40 mins. Badly exhausted, we had some snacks along with lot of cold drinks and left from there at 5:30pm approx. I thought I’ll not be able to see them again, thanks to my Schiwinn hybrid bike which proved to be the faster than the MTB’s (Obviously makes sense. I was always ahead in the ride, only because of my bike. It wasn’t like I was the fittest of the lot. And talking of fitness, really admired Pallavi. Not that I underestimate girls, its just that you don’t get to see many woman who are so fitness conscious and into endurance sports). So I shook hands with them and left first. Sun went down and it was far more easier to peddle. Still the last 20 Km was bad. I had to take many breaks to fuel myself with lot of water and fruit juice. It started drizzling when I reached Banshankari. Din’t really complain, for it was nice to feel a bit cold after all the heat my body had to bear the whole day. Reached home at 9:20 pm.
I’ll remember this ride and the group forever.