I never realized when I reached Matkuli, the town where the second SS was put up. I took a longish break here and refueled my water bottles and energy. The energy bars were a delight and there had been an interesting shift by all bikers towards them instead of bananas, which is but our staple energy bar! A brief photo-session and I was then off to Pachmarhi after a left.
The second CS was scheduled from the base of the hill Pachmarhi is situated atop, up to the board welcoming us into Pachmarhi town – an uphill of about 20 kms.
I started on to my CS after Yash, the star rider and also the winner of the previous day’s jersey. As I started on to the climb, I conditioned myself into thinking that I was within a sniffing distance of (74 seconds ;) and of ) winning “the OAKLEY” – an accessory which I dreamt about possessing ever since I was in the 5th grade. My study room back then had this poster of the Kiwi opener Nathan Astle sporting his Oakley and somehow this name and its classy style had stuck on to me ever since.
As a commuter who cursed the climb to my workplace every day, all of a sudden I was now thankful for the endurance the everyday grind had developed within me. I don’t know if it was the Oakley sub-consciously egging me or I was not tiring, but I was now a man possessed on the climb as I started loving it rather than loathing it. I overtook quite some bikers as I was determined not to take a single halt in this entire climb, even humming some numbers especially Abba, to pump me up when I felt a sense of slowing down.