Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Climbfest - Prelude

Dear Participant,

“Bicycling unites physical harmony coupled with emotional bliss to create a sense of spiritual perfection that combines one’s body, mind and spirit into a single moving entity.  Bicycling allows a person to mesh with the sun, sky and road as if nothing else mattered in the world.  In fact, all your worries, cares and troubles vanish in the rear view mirror while you bicycle along the byways of the world: you pedal as one with the universe. ~ Frosty Wooldridge”

“The best routes are the ones you haven't ridden. You could pedal the same loops year after year. Many people do, literally or figuratively. But to grow, you need new rides. Risks. Turn down lanes you've long seen but never travelled. Get lost once or twice, then double back to where you started and try again. Live like this and you come to see unknown territory not as threatening, but as intriguing.
-Mark Remy”

We congratulate you on the decision to ride in the "Three States : Wayanad Vythiri BRM in ‘Gods own Country’ and be part of endurance cycling.

This is how the confirmation mail for the Three States BRM started. Well, the ride, and journey to do the ride and back is more than worth of above quotes.
Want to Just know about the ride? Follow the links

Want to know further more details? Go on... Be warned that this whole post is how I rode to / reached the starting point and the happenings. Actual ride report is on next part.

Captain, you are missed, RIP
To start with,, I dedicate the successful completion of this climbfest to Mr. Venkatesh Duraiswamy, dearly called as Captain by Tirupur riders. A friendly leader, with whom I had ridden twice at home town, is currently with almighty. An unexpected loss - he is the reason I have rider friends in Tirupur now, and just weeks before I had discussed with him about participating in this BRM and he was one of the riders registered early - even confirmed for the BRM.

 Silvester was on the plan to go to Madras for 300 BRM. I convinced him (practice for Bliss in the Hills - just these words were enough :-) ) to cancel his tickets to Madras and accompany me to Wayanad for this brevet. With no proper plan for travel, we were out of tickets for Bangalore - Wayanad and Wayanad - Bangalore. No other option, we were forced to ride all the way and back.

We were all set to ride from Bangalore - Wynad starting thursday (14 - 08 - 2014) night. But I was forced to an unavoidable 660 km bus travel to native place and back the whole thursday. Wednesday night sleep sacrificed to travel and thursday night too gone, since I had to prepare for the ride. 

Arvind was kind enough to pick a set of Schwalbe Road Cruisers 26x1.75 from Crankmeister and give it to me by 11 PM on the thusday night after I reached Bangalore - Thanks a lot Arvind. The need for new tyres? Read this

Already tired much, I replaced only the faulty tyre and preparations took till 0200 hrs of 15th August. We started our journey towards  Wynad, myself without an idea what exactly the route is, and how weather will be. An hour into the ride and even before reaching Kengeri, I realized I was asking from my body too much.

View of moon on ride (I am a good photographer, isn't it?)
We somehow managed to Kengeri by 0330 hrs friday morning and we decided to get into any vehicle which stops for us.. Fortunate enough, we got into an empty LCV, the second vehicle we tried to stop. The driver was fast enough to reach Mysore palace by 0610 hrs, with a tea break. He just took INR 200 for two of us.

Shivering Silvester
Nap in the LCV?  It was damn exposure to the open air at 80+ kmph speed on the roads which had rains hours before and the net result - We were shivering. That helped us to plan for further ride. My past experiences on rides preceeded by sleepless nights ensured that I always performed normal on day time how much ever I was sleep deprived. I confirmed Silvester that we would ride from Mysore till Wynad if we reach Mysore after 0600 hrs and get into any of the vehicles passing by whenever I break down.

We started by 0615 hrs towards Gundlupet. One of the worst sight throughout - we saw number of roadside trees cut - a sight which always make me to feel heavy. I feel sorry for the mankind, especially myself. Already most of the NHs are in worst shape (best (or worst?) example is NH-4 to Pune, especially Ranebennur - Bankapur). Now, one more NH added to them.

 The climate was kind of dull and that helped us to push. After an initial tea break, we were on almost constant pace. On the way, we witnessed sight of tricolour flag hoisting in schools and government offices and heard songs in Kannada by school Children. Reminded of my school days and independence days celebration as an NCC candidate. we reached Gundlupet by 0955 hrs.

Selfie after Breakfast - I am  quite fresh
Nice breakfast of a plate of Puri and a ghee roast restored me. We took turn from Gundlupet towards Sulthan Bathery. There are acres of sunflower farms and Chrysanthemum farms where people passing by stop to take snaps. Silvester said, the farm people even collected INR 10 from people to take snaps, on his previous visit. How can we miss that. Our pictures? Nah, we took only farm pictures. 

Chrysanthemums and photos (INR 10 you have to give me since I got this for you to see)

Crossing them, we reached Bandipur forest sections. I already have fear towards silly things. With sleeplessness, my mind was going mad. The thoughts went like, the last thing I wish to happen in my life is to be attacked by a tiger or stamped by an elephant or crushed by a python / constrictor. My fear went to an extent that I asked about the wild life movement to Sandeep who called me to ask about the brevet participation (He wanted to take part but no one to car pool with him and by the time he decided, we already crossed 3/4th of distance). 

The experience while going through the forest can't be explained. Though I enjoyed scenaries, I was careful to maintain silence as much as possible (the maximum I uttered was, some 'awesome's, which was uncontrolled on seeing dense greenaries). I was having the thought that, already I was disturbing the wildlife by passing through. The anger towards the mankind again arose when I saw people stopping in middle of the forest for snaps (not only disturbance, but why to risk life?) and for the first time, I hated people cheering us on the way. It went further up when I saw heavy trucks with the roaring engines and the smoke they let out.

Selfie at Checkpost which I regret for
Somehow, we crossed Karnataka and we stopped for a minute break at the checkpost where I clicked a selfie which I felt later I shouldn't have. 

My fear factor increased a bit more when we entered Muthanga, primarily because of warnings from my Malayali friends that Muthanga is the area where there are more tigers. Fortunately nothing happened. I was happy that maximum animals I saw were only some monkeys at two places.

We reached Bathery (Sultan's Battery became Sulthan Bathery - Wiki). Two egg puffs and an orange juice to power us only to reach a hotel 3 kms away. We had nice Bullet rice meals (that's how we call Kerala rice). 

The following section from Bathery to Vythiri is part of BRM route, (actually, Vythiri - Bathery - Vythiri) so we observed carefully the route. 10 kms out of Bathery, I wanted a short nap. 20 mins and I was fresh to go. 

We soon crossed Kalpetta and reached Vythiri. The hotel Thushara where the briefing was about to happen / start and end point was further 5 kms away. With no plans on travel itself, you can't think of us as people who had arranged for stay.

On reaching, we came to know all the rooms were booked. When we were about to search for stay, we came to know two of Tirupur guys who had rooms booked were not coming. So, we got that room for stay.

A nice refreshing / recovery walk of some kms after bath and some snacks and we assembled for briefing. We were given proper warning on all aspects and all preride formalities are done and I finally hit bed after 50+ hrs.

Some Interesting things..

DIY bike carrier for motor cycle - I just got to see this

In front of the hotel

On the way of walk (Do I need to tuck the tummy in ? ;-)   )

Nice stickers on the car

Nice arrangement - Thanks organizers (CBC) - Organizers gave this and ties too


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