Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bangalore - Krishnagiri - Vellore and back - 404 Km on bicycle in 21 hrs 44 mins

Even since I restarted my cycling in 2010, I would have done roughly four rides of 100 Km plus, two 200 Km plus, two 300 Km plus and I just added 400 Km plus to my list. All the rides are within 24 hours. Thanks to BBC (http://groups.google.co.in/group/Bangalore-bikers) which is the only reason why I get such opportunities.

Bangalore Brevets
I restarted my cycling with my office colleage Chirag in late 2009. I started with a mere office commute and quarterly weekend rides of hardly 50Km. I accidentally bought a Trek 4300 MTB again through Chirag. I had to use the bike now for some serious cycling. BBC gave me the right platform to kickstart that. Though I started my longer distance cycling with BBC, it is the Bangalore Brevets (http://www.bangalorebrevets.in/TheRoute.htm), which is the real challenging one, because here we are given a fixed time and the clock never stops.

The 400 Km ride
I did my 300 Km plus Brevet ride on Feb 12, 2011. It was time to test 400 for me as the 400K brevet was planned for Mar 12. Route looked attractive except for the scorching heat. Cut short to the actual event. A bunch of about 40+ rides started from M.G. Road, Bangalore at 05.38 am. Ride til Krishnagiri was a joy ride with downhill all the way. Myself being a heavy eater all the time, I stopped for breakfast in Hosur (at 39 Km), ate idli-wada and pongal. After 67 Km, I had to stop at one highway restaurant named A2B. Since my stomach was still full, I just swiped my debit card in an adjacent ATM to get a time stamped bill. Bought a couple of Britania plain cakes and ate my biscuits.

Passed Krishnagiri. Headed towards Vellore on the Chennai highway. Road was good with hardly any vehicular traffic. But the heat started by then. I got a few riding partners by this time. We kept pedaling till the next time station, which was 139.5 Km mark at Mufassa's Restaurant. We reached there a bit too early and lunch was not ready yet. Four of us wanted to have the chicken biriyani. The owner of the restaurant promised biriyani in 10 mins. So, we ordered. We chatted and waited. We got our biriyani after near 45 mins. By then the restaurant was full of cyclists with shoes and socks strewn all over. If I remember correctly, we left the restaurant at around 1 pm. By this time, headwinds became stronger. I couldn't keep pace with the guys whom I came with. So, I rode solo to reach the 202 Km SBI ATM, which was our 4th time station. Took the ATM slip with the time stamp in it. It must have been around 3:30 pm, I suppose. It was scorching hot. But I wanted to enjoy the tail wind before it turned around. At the ATM, another guy who was also looking for a mate came up to me and we agreed that we would ride together. Later on the way, I came to know that he was a very serious sports guy, who also happened to start the TFN. His name was Rajesh Nair. He was much stronger and faster than my pace, but he was kind enough to slow down for me. We headed back towards Krishnagiri. We reached Muffasa's again at around 7pm, just when it became dark. I was very sleepy as I hardly slept the previous night. I washed my face, ordered two sandwiches and a coffee (as Rajesh suggested). I lied down on a floor and I don't know when I slept. I was woken up by the waiter in the restaurant. Ate them and left the place around 7:50 pm.

Next time station (T5) was supposed to be 311 Km in an Indian oil pump (gas station). But it came at 307 Km mark. We didn't have anything to eat or drink in this station. So, we left the place after 15 mins break or so. Five people had already taken their time stamps before us. As we left Krishnagiri, heading towards Bangalore, we desperately wanted a cup of coffee to keep ourselves awake. We stopped in a shop and two two cups of coffee each. Meanwhile, Rajesh had a doubt if our next time station is the final destination. I actually thought that there was no more time station. But I remember that there were a total of 7 time stations. We counted and one was missing. Fortunately, we checked and found out that there was one more at 350 Km mark just when we were about 325 Km mark I suppose. The uphills became worse and truck traffic was becoming a pain. But the cool breeze of the night kept us good. We reached the CCD (Cafe Coffee Day), which was at around 346 Km mark in my odo. I decided to eat another bread item. Ordered the chicken burger combo meal at McDonald's. Enjoyed it. Then we left the place at around 12:20 am. We still had another 20 Kms of uphills after that. We were hardly at 17 Kmph pace. But we kept moving. Finally at around 1:30 am, we crossed Hosur. We were sleepy and tired. But we decided to keep moving at slow pace. But Rajesh was sprinting every now and then to keep himself awake and I had to chase all the while. So, we ended up churning more miles. Road was flatter and better, though slight slope. Finally we reached the final destination, i.e. 406 Km mark in my odo at 3:20 am.

As I didn't want to ride back home alone at that time, I dosed off in CCD again, which was the start/final point. I was woken up by the laughter of the fellow cyclists and volunteers at about 5:50 am. I decided to head for home. Reached home and my daughter was already up. First question she asked me was "papa, are you going to play for a while before you go to sleep?". I obliged as she was not happy for my cycling in the weekend in the first place.

During this ride, I was almost certain that I wouldn't ride any further brevet as the heat was horrible. Then as I woke up at noon, I was kind of eager to ride the next 600 Km on 15th April. So far till 400 Km, I had not done any training and managed somehow. But I definitely need some practice for the 600 Km. Will update after the next ride.

Some snaps are here.





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