I was so anxious I couldn't sleep. 4:30 in the morning I stood up, packed a water bottle, sweatshirt, windcheater some fruits. 5:30 AM I began. I rode continuously just wishing nothing goes wrong. it was cloudy. I rode very slowly and cautiously maybe too wary. few km after Solan I saw few villager carrying a pulgi. In Himachal people believe in deities and in many parts the believe that they reside in these Pulgi's . greeted by a deity dancing his way to his temple was a sight I won't forget. I took a couple of stops to stretch my legs. Reached Shimla around 9:30 AM rang mom up telling her that I'm still alive and going strong and started moving towards Kufri. As I reached Kufri I had planned to stop at the place where I had that fall. At that point I realized what facing fear was.
As I was riding towards that place I became wary of the water on the road. 20 degrees and I was scared that that the water is probably frozen.I reached the place where I had that fall. standing there I could visualize everything like it was just happening right there and then in front of me. I can not explain what I felt standing there. it was a cocktail of emotions where I was happy, scared, sad, angry, and content at the same time. The fear I had was abating and as a rider i was growing.
while riding I was wondering how people tend to give names to their bikes like the beast, the bull and what not and romanticize their relationship with the machine. I once read a book where the biker went Lil overboard and it just grossed me out. never turned a page again of that book. This never appealed to me much. but I do believe in having a connection with the bike. when a rider and his/her bike work as one unit is when that connection happens. when you know how much lean will turn your bike a certain amount and what Gear to drive on a particular slope ascending or descending, what speed to corner a certain curve. when stuff like this becomes second nature to you is when the connection (magic) really happens.
After crossing fagu I could see apple orchards. there were few trees with small apples on them. as I was gaining height the view was getting better and better and better. one has to be careful while riding up there as the view is so enchanting that it can make you lose focus. and losing focus up there might not turn out well for you. just stop your bike and give them the attention they deserve and then resume. I rode continuously and reached Narkanda at 11:30 AM. clicked a pic texted my friends and headed towards Hatu peak (3400 meters). The road to Hatu peak is quite gnarly. it was 6-7ft wide with regular, very steep, ascends and descends. That 6 km stretch really tested my mettle and somehow I conquered.
I was there. I just sat there and took long deep breaths. The air was cleansing me of my fears. with every exhale I was letting go all the 'what ifs' and questions that bugged me for months. it was finally over.
I once read somewhere 'you don't really cross a mountain, it just lets you through'
I was glad that they let me through this time. I spent some time there clicking pics and just gazing towards the range I aspire to ride on. oh, the view !! the mighty range !! how badly I missed my camera then only I know.
I went back to Narkanda and as I was having my lunch I saw clouds building up. 5-6 hours of riding took a lot out of me. my tired mind wasn't coordinating well so I ordered a strong coffee gulped it down and began my journey back. while riding back I saw these biker groups going towards Spiti perhaps. I gave them all a thumbs-up wishing them good luck and they all reciprocated. Leaving the valleys I just promised myself that when the time is right and I am fully prepared. I will come back again and scale further.
The road awaits.