Yes another long “Once Upon A Time” period story from some tiny memory banks in my brain which I reluctantly have to activate against their will.
Why??…Well, believe I finally got some blogging time.
You say.. “Hmm A-hummm come again.. Why ??”
Ok, ok I get it… truth is….
Is…. Is… To make you jealous !! :P… kidding.
Well, I met one of my most respected university professors, Dr. R.L.Sawhney(now retired) today (28 March 2015) after some 3 years and was really in awe.. When I learnt he has been following and really enjoyed my blog posts about my cycling.
I explained that I am finding no time to continue my regular rides or shoot such posts. To which he replied…
“Son, you have a hobby, you love to do something, you should not say that you do not have time for it. Avoiding these in the name of focused work and better career is not a right attitude towards life.”
Your thoughts… “Big deeeal… there are hundreds of them who kind of do this in the splendid Bangalore Unity Ride, happens every year. Oh ! Wait… Ha ha Boy… u did miss it rite !! ?”
Yeah Yeah! Many indeed, and there may be few who probably ZZZip Zappp ZZZips it off in less than the time I spend having my Dinner at BBQ Nation. Aaaand Yes I missed it, yet again. You see I have a same lame excuse that I practically cannot be at two different places in a given moment. I hate to be reasoned but I have my reasons… Call of Duty it is ..!
You and your nasty grin.
But point to be noted is every rider is a human being (yup you may come across few (K)Night riders.. again a human being). Some of them belted this B-M ride earlier…possibly multiple times … and will keep doing. Fact is I am happy that I just joined the club !!!
When that human has some passion towards something, wants to change, change for good, improve, prove that the limits the world set upon him, the limits he/she set upon himself are just lame limits and needs to be broken., it is enough to start discovering or rather rediscovering ones’ self.
I know its like Jor-El telling Kal-El “The only way to know how strong…is to keep on testing your limits”. Hmm lemme guess…a long pause??
Didn’t strike?? conversation between Superman and his virtual father in Man of Steel !! Oh forget it…
So Me, I believe I attempt to be one of that kind. How successful I am in that attempt… that very never ending journey?
Nothing much to brag about but yes, ask my spread sheets accounting every mile I ride and doing that colourful charts and stats, my habit of noting down every route I take, pictures (or nature calls) … these days selfies,… to mark my presence (or my territory) at a place or at least my self-blabbering blog ! or even more ask Me who happens to write bits and pieces of this B-M ride post sitting in Mumbai …continues in Hyderabad, Kakinada, Vemagiri, Varanasi, Delhi, Goa…all the way finally wrapping it up in Namma Bengaluru
I like that feeling of living life…riding and then relive it…writing.
The bored You “ Rahul, philosophy bak bak abhi bhas bhi kar… abhi topic pe dhyan dhe”
Agreed, point taken. So sit back and just keep reading..! Wait… did u get your coffee and munchies yet ?
20th September 2014 – The Big Bangalore – Mysore Ride (Saturday):
An electrifying weekend for some 150+ riders doing the B-M ride and an as usual week for me to wrap up my pending works of a project and preparing “mentally” for my first Half Marathon … Sunday’s Kaveri Trail Marathon.
21st September 2014 – Kaveri Trail Marathon 2014 (Sunday):
I accept it is kinda premium event I wanted to try and of course was not easy for me as a first timer. Crashing bed late night for some 3 hour quick sleep, waking up early to catch a Bus to Srirangapatnam at some 2:30 am, reach there by 5:30 am, run a Half Marathon with that guilty feeling of skipping sleep (my cycling rides have trained me for this), have another bumpy ride back home in that last row of the bus and Swoosh ! the weekend is gone.
All through this, that heavy thought kept haunting me… “missed a chance of attempting the B-M ride .. yet again !…”
22nd September 2014 (Monday):
Learnt that some of my friends of GMC’13 went to this B-M ride. And so had a quick online chat with Dephan about his experience. A great chum he is, assured he will gladly accompany me if I ever have a thought (and of course time) to attempt a B-M ride someday.
29th September 2014 (Monday):
At office like any other regular day. Realising that I have loooong stretch of holidays 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th October ahead due to the oncoming Dusshera and weekend combo, a spark of embarking upon smashing my existing limits lights up. Immediately ping Deephan if he was ready to be my guide for my first attempt of B-M ride on 2nd or 3rd October .
30th September 2014 (Tuesday):
Put a word to few colleagues about my Mysore riding plans. “Mysore !! You will come back in one piece??…” was their reactions. Advised me to give it a thought. Obvious it was, as we were scheduled to leave for Mumbai project on 6th October 2014 and I should not in any way hamper that project. My absence will screw ME up !. Just when I was almost 99% in dropping the B-M idea ..Again !! , I get a call from Deephan confirming his availability for the ride. October 2nd was fixed.
1st October 2014 (Wednesday)
Everything still blank ! and there comes that unique “How U Doin..! “ greetings like Joey Tribbiani. From who ?
Oh Well My Knee and its way of making its presence felt.
Will I make it ? Not just Me.. My Argo’s first long distant ride. Will Argo make it? Some hundreds of questions popping up …Where, How, When, Who… which more or less had some vague answers I actually looked at. But there was this one question that I had no words… “Why are you riding …. ??”
Yes I had no words to answer…instead I had an expression to answer. That smiley with my tongue out. Every time I have this Question called “Why ?” , I have this expression to answer myself. Can’t help, at times Man is his own enemy…at times his own saviour… his own hero. Riding such long stretches does give an experience of ME and makes ME realize that I have a heart…literally !, it does beat and defines My purpose of living … To Be Happy (Which I am sure many fail to take note of, in their day to day mundane activities)
2nd October 2014 (Thursday)
Day starts. Clever enough to take enough rest the previous day. So much that I did not bother to pack my stuff. Popped in some dry fruits.
Tyre pressure set to 50 psi (Kenda’s knobby tyres to Mysore…!! Not a joke I suppose)
Me 64 kg + Argo 15 kg + 2 litre water + Woodland shoes for my comfort + spare tube and accessories… roughly about 80+ kg is all set to roll. Oh wait how was the weather?? … Super rains at night and still drizzling.
Balcony check…That Mild drizzle under those Sodium Vapour street lamps .. WO !. It was better to start. Dark it was and 20 odd Km of solo ride from my place at Rustam Bagh, before I catch up with Deephan at Merida Junction was something that was freaking me out. Especially that long dark stretches via Koramangala.
After struggling not to make much noise in the Apartment, which includes not waking up that invisible Annabelle’s voice of the Apartment’s elevator and opting for steps to get Argo down instead, I start my ride. Dogs are not a problem anymore. First timer, so no GPS tracking on to conserve phone battery. Who knows … it’s “Anything can Happen Thursdays !!!” .
After an hour’s ride I see Deephan already waiting for me at Merida Junction. I stop, gasp for my breath, take a break, already hungry giving room for thoughts of uncertainty for riding on an empty stomach. Obvious, when was the last time I hit a long ride ?
Checked if Deephan had anything to eat… he said “I had breakfast at HOME before starting” (oh yeah ! as though that reply was very helpful to my growing hunger) . Being a bachelor and away from home I do miss those homely prepared food at those odd times.
After my brief 5 min break we start off for Mysore on the usual Kanakpura Road. Now Why Kanakpura Road and not the regular Mysore road ??
Pros: Decently better tree cover, relatively less traffic, relatively scenic.
Cons: not many outlets to stop by and chill out now and then (which indirectly encourages us to keep moving though)
So Me on My Argo…i.e. RR 5.3 with those knobby kenda tires trying to catch up with a Trek Hybrid. What surprises me more was the way my fellow rider, twice my age gets on to some high warp speeds in matter of seconds ! .. you know like that Star Trek’s Space Ship.. The Enterprise. It did make me think then “Age is just a number”.
I did try to get hold on his tractor beam. It was tough to hang on. We set a target of 7 am for the next halt at Kanakpura and I let him off !.
Here I was with a reflective vest, managing with my lights on the barely lit Kanakpura road, and there he was … oh where?? Hmm disappeared into some another universe already !
7:45 am – Kanakpura.
All that 2 + hour ride was a solo. Most of it was dark and yup cold. Darkness and Coldness like some best buddies huh !. Enduring them is what makes me stronger.
That morning sunrise with its mild warmth came to my rescue. Surroundings fields or swamps… some distant hills, Hey !! I was here once. That very road of my first 150+ km partially successful attempt of Kaveri Sangam ride it was.
Reached Kanakpura. I could not hold more…my tummy was cursing me, may be that long resident fats too, for burning them up on an empty stomach!. Guess Argo was all enthu to move ahead though. Called Dephan. It was a miracle that though he cruised away ahead of me… turns out he was some 10 – 15 min behind me. First Warp now Time Travel ?? not fair. Nah not at ALL fair!
8:00 am – Breakfast point @ Vasu’s , Kanakpura.
After a lil wait, we meet each other again after some 2 odd hours ! Took me to Vasu’s place (supposed to be famous breakfast point). Well on such great rides, I often tend to forget to carry a lock. My friend here knowing that how prepared I am usually for a ride, also did not get a lock.
I end up watching over the bikes, while Dephan gets the orders ! So humble he was, not just being a fellow rider and a guide but was taking care to the details ! A thank you would not be enough.
Those Dosa’s and Idlies and Vadas !! Ummm !! It’s obviously Yummy for and empty Tummy !. I gobbled to my stomach’s content like a PACMAN. Carbs carbs and carbs.
Meanwhile couple of Go Green guys have reached Vasu’s. Dephan being an active member of Go-Green recognized them. They had a brief chat, wished us luck and took off back to Bangalore.
We start off from Vasu’s and hit the road. Kanakpura to Sathanur.
10:30 am – Where did the air go ??
About 25 to 30 km from Malavalli, I found myself difficult to push forward. Did I get tired ? No… but the efficiency has come down !. Blame the tyre. Low air even after having a pressure check in morning.
Technically not a complete flat. I’ve tried to fill in with my imp pump…requires enough physical efforts. My arm vs. a min 35 psi !! Forget about getting a min required 40 psi. With the rate at which the air was hissing out…it was manageable to ride till the nearest petrol bunk.
Filled in back to 55 psi. Yes it was high. I din know which logic would suffice. More pressure implies higher the rate at which the air escapes (OR) More air and thus more time I buy to reach the nearest puncture shop.
Yes I did have the kit but common on a long ride like that I am impatient to rip apart my Argo. Ok ok I was lazy to fix it myself. And with Dephen giving a hint about possible puncture shop ahead, I totally didn’t want to fix it myself.
11:30 pm – Spider Man Pedals !!
Mostly deserted road w.r.t vehicles…silence all around as we keep moving , suddenly happened to hear some kids yelling a top of their voices… “Spider Man.. byee!! …Byee Spider Man…”. I looked at them to check where they found that hopeless creature roaming in costumes of Spider Man…
Surprise Surprise… they were pointing at Me !
12:00 pm – Tarmacs and Flats !
I knew I had to fix it sometime and cannot continue like this till Mysore. Having a guided ride does have some advantages. My friend here through his earlier experiences was really a saviour of the day !. Exactly knew where to stop for food, where coconut water and where we can expect a puncture shop. Yes we did find one in Mallavali.
That shop guy there with those crude tools yet works like an artist fixes the flat. A teeny weeny thorn has found its way into “The Kenda Knobby” . Darn ! it escaped my palm and disappeared into thin air before I click a pic of it. May be it did not want to get famous.
I did want to yell out loud “Why God Why Me… what more can I expect than a buttery tarmac road teasing these knobbies with a very tiny thorn ?” Tarmacs and Flats … accompany my ride … for always together !
It was a good break there during the flat fixing activity. Dephan starts off and I as usual follow my protocol of setting my bag, clipping and securing it even at my waist, the water sipper at right length, phone, helmet, sun glasses, take a sip of water and about to start… I see Dephan ahead calling at me. I had to get his bag which he forgot there at the shop. We both then have a slow start.
1.30 pm – Lunch point @ Bannur.
Yes yes again courtesy of my guide. The only place to have lunch decently for a cyclist appetite. After some challenging roads and dust as we enter Bannur, we stop for lunch at this hotel, Kinda do not remember its name. According to my fellow rider… it is supposed to be known for its Non Veg. At first I was like “Oh.. Great !” and then I happened to kick the bucket (not referring to any idioms please). All I could see was life sucked out of dead bones in the bucket. My impressions from “Oh Great” changed to “Eeewww”. Had a quick vegetarian thali and we continued our way.
2:30 pm – Somewhere 20 km away from Mysore
That news of Spider Man travels faster than us through some telepathy or what !! More kids more Hellos yelling Spider Man. My jersey and that sunglasses attire must be blamed.
Road from Bannur was not great !. Some widening works. Dust, bumpy rides tend to welcome you for long long stretches. Not many tall wide trees to shade the roads. To compliment that is the Up Hills ! Yes you read it right !. Bangalore at about 900m MSL and Mysore at about 600 m MSL I did think of a decent downhill all the way. Never ever get deceived by the end point altitudes. Little did I realize I enjoyed my down hills a little more before reaching this place. And so we continue the climb to Mysore.
I have to accept that it was hot. Hot as in Super-hot. Every little shade by the any single tree was bliss. Little did that cosy morning sun knew that too much is too harsh ! :/ kept shooting down its beam radiations with its best shot at an angle perpendicular to the horizontal !…
After a nice climb till the outskirts of Mysore we felt we were too early !. You see we planned to crash up at Ajit’s (another friend from GMC’13 ) place in Mysore. However we were asked to be there at 4.00 pm. We decided to take a break under a tree, on some huge logs lying around there. Me on my phone for a couple of minutes and I see Dephan already dozed off ! Which leaves me, another tired sleep deprived soul to stay active and keep an eye on the bikes. Of all the ride, that was the toughest part I must confess. And so decided to call Mom.
Mom: Today Dusshera, so did you go to temple? Don’t forget to put on new clothes.
Me: New Clothes,…? Temple ??? M riding to Mysore !!
(…rest I’ll leave it to your imaginations of what might have happened next )
4:00 pm – Mysore and the Royal Palace!!
After a good 45 min rest we carry forward and reach Mysore. The roads get more populated. People people everywhere. Multiple junctions. I tried following the sign boards once and got lost. Never make such mistakes when you have a fellow rider to guide you.
Accomplishment of reaching Mysore is of course capturing that moment of You, Your Bike and that Royal Palace together !! We directly headed to the Palace. Got our bikes checked for any suspicious stuff by the local police guarding the palace as we squeezed ourselves along with the bikes through those barricades. One police guy in a civil clothing also took my bike for a ride. Can’t help he does not understand about my long day and my dire desire to crash at my friend’s place asap !
5:00 pm ..ish
After some clicks, with watsapp’s location help, traced out where Ajit’s den was. We did reach the destination of the location he shared earlier, only that it was at some cross roads !!.
In the world of chats… we forget to talk. Called him up and finally did end up at his place.
Did you know Mysore had plans for us… Big plans !!!
3rd October 2014 – Chamundi Hills
I am sure, Cyclist from Bangalore would definitely not miss two things in Mysore. 1. The Royal Palace salute (Unfortunately I can’t find my photos… long time misplaced), 2. Ride to Chamundi hills !!
Yes there is traffic during this time, but still would recommend one to experience this amazing Dussehra ride. The ride takes you through some of the iconic places. You get to see the great festive mood the city is in. The group called #Cyclopedia was into this. Opportunity to catch up with some great riders here.
We returned to Bangalore by 3rd night, bikes tucked safely in the volvo. Will definitely attempt the B-M ride some time again.
In total My personal riding distance on 2nd October 2015, including Rustambagh to Merida + Merida to Mysore (Ajit’s place) + The Dussehra Night ride = 168 km. My longest in a day.
Before signing off… would like to thank Ajit for introducing us to the mouth watering delicious local food that I gorged upon.