Pune To Kolhapur: 205kms
It is rightly said for "pursual of any sport leaving the bed early.....is the battle half won" So continuing this discipline & with a strong mental determination we started our cycling Conquest-de-goa at 3:30 am from Pune
As I was joined by my fellow rider "Jayant" on The Pune - Bangalore highway, the destination looked far off, but not impossible. My odometer said 0 km & had to clock 455 km by the end of this epic road trip. So we had broken the journey into 3 phases & stepped on the saddle locked in the peddles & headed for Kolhapur.
As we caught the highway & left Pune the morning breeze, the fresh air the quietness of this beautiful morning all before we realised made us an integral part of ourselves. all we could hear was the rolling of the chain in sprockets & the shifting of our derailleurs with the varying terrain
Soon we could realise, we had clocked 30kms & I halted for catching up with my fellow rider who had taken up this mammoth challenge without giving a second thought.
"Best part of cycling is that riders always keep each other back"- this is the fundamental mantra followed by the cycling community. No matter what your identity is once on the saddle you are a cyclist & belong the same community.
After giving a short break to our legs & relaxing from the steady climb we again hopped on our bikes & headed further the next stop lay before the Khambatki climb where we had planned to have breakfast & reload ourselves before the tough ghat section.
Also by now, the dead weight of our supplies in our backpacks had started to give a toll on us. as the temperature raised & traffic started increasing we reached the base of ghat by 8:00 am clocking 65kms, had breakfast & planned ahead for the next layover which would be Satara at 100kms which would be our midway milestone of the day.
By now the day was up & the temperature too had begun to rise & the endless patch of highways now started challenging our planning, Kolhapur seemed pretty far forget about conquering goa. By 11:00 am we had touched the outskirts of Satara & it was time for another meal & to re-draft the strategy.
It was 12 noon by the time we were done with 100kms & had completed the midway mark of the day and the temperature had reached 42°C. this had made riding quite a challenge, not only we were a probe to dehydration but also to sunstrokes, so we agreed upon to ride for half-hour & rest 15 minutes & this strategy worked. We were able to clock additional 60 km by evening crossing Umbraj, Karad.
As we stopped 45 km before Kolhapur for the evening tea, we were content that we had made good progress despite the harsh weather conditions. Our midway target was almost achieved & all we needed was the last push & couple of hour more riding for the day.
The sun had set, we climbed on the saddle & headed into the darkness on AH47. As we kept on paddling the traffic rushed past us at great speeds. Now we all know that Indian roads are one of the most dangerous in the world & we were riding on these roads and that too in darkness. Constantly we were pushed off the highway by the private tourism operators & it was hard to maintain the speed so as to reach Kolhapur.
By 9:00pm we were 10km short of Kolhapur & found a decent hotel to spend the night & draft strategy for next day. We checked in had dinner & after a refreshing bath crashed straight into bed.