Ok after a lot of see-saw to write or no, and that turbulence of thoughts that keep flowing into my brain with a very very very high Reynolds Number, I thought to shoot them on to the blog.
IISc – A place where bookworms like me admire at;
Kanakpura Road – where my worst freaking experiences (Kaveri Sangam ride) even today haunt me;
Jigani Climb – Say Jigani and then there my knee hurts…! The 1st ride before GMC ‘13 was suicidal and later any ways conquered it for the second time and managed to stay in my senses. And obvious an awesome view of the valley for treat after some serious climbing.
Electronic city & Hosur road – The return leg of my first century ride with Anil, where the mild but long slopes along with that long flyover running parallel the way seems to be never ending.
Madiwala, MG Road, Rajbhavan road, Sankey Road – Decently manageable and fun to ride in traffic.
Cocktail of the above parameters was what the Jigani Populaire was offering. Why one why two… I’ll conquer that entire climb which hurts me, that road which frightens me, and that flyover that makes fun me. Challenge to conquer Fear. Challenge Accepted !
So that is how I end up attempting my first 100 km Populaire organized by IISc… – the race against time !
2nd August 2014 – The Morning Melody !
So as a regular ritual the digital Cock-a-Doodle-Dooo does its job at 3:30 am. Woke up and Conveyed my greetings to “The Conjuring” thoughts that keep haunting me whenever I wake up at these ungodly hours for my rides. It was all silent. Those thoughts got lively when my roommate freaks me out walking out of his room in a white T-shirt during those early hours. Well he had his plants to head out somewhere.
Interesting it might be, the moment I decide I have to wake up at around 3:30 am, I’ll actually end waking up some 50 times before that ! huh. Got ready, I find Karthik and Vikas replies for my last morning’s mail regarding riders from Indiranagar and Domulur. 5:00 am I am out of the apartment and on the roads. The dogs in the colony by now got used to Me – The Pathetic Chap who wakes up so early on weekends.
I Meet Karthik at Domulur bridge. He too on RR 5.3.. Yay ! an MTB for company.. Sigh! Of relief. Further joined Vikas at Trinity who was on a road bike. Very thankful to him for he had to alter his route for us. All 3 head to the IISc Gymkhana. It was first time to this place and so took some time. Reached at 6:00 am. Probably a lil late.
Based on my last check, 108 Riders registered for that 108 km ride !! ha ha… Did they already leave? Or very few turned up ? I had no idea, even till the end.
Filled up the Brevet card diligently seeing that I do not make any mistakes (it was new to me as a first timer…), signed the waiver and all set to go until one of the organizers asked me to get my Bike Checked. I was like .. “Wow…! free service ? I wud say No … m already late to start..” . Well things are always not what one wants to be like. The organizer observes my innocent Argo (RR 5.3) lying on ground and asks me about the extra tube, puncture kit etc. Some 30 -40 second job and done.
By then almost all have already left. I ask Karthik to wait for me (which I feel sorry for him) as I quickly had to say hello to the Nature. Every one has to obey its call. He was kind enough to wait. With some 3-4 200 km brevets and huge number of 100 kms in his pocket, he actually wanted to finish this one within 5 hours. Again he got delayed for accompanying me.
The cue sheet kept mentioning different roads…take right take left after 0.5 km or after 0.7 and so on… I was neither familiar with the roads or routes in Bangalore nor good with cue sheet. Obv. my first time. Also, almost all have already left, there is no one else to follow. I knew it would drain my battery but we two had to move fast and so had to use Gpx app. It was really good and helpful (first time using the app). Some number of turns into lanes and streets and then found few riders ahead after an hour, overtook them and managed to get on to Kanakpura road. Amazed to see someone on a single speed.
Struggled to catch up with Karthik. Having same bikes is not enough..it is the legs that matter. And the ease at which this guy flies even on up hills with those thick Kenda knobby tyres. Every uphill, distance between us keeps increasing. Tried to hold on to the tractor beam and reach the first check point at Harohalli bust stand at around 8.39 am. Checkpoint closing time was 9:04 am.
Were supposed to take the ATM slips or a selfie with that branch name visible in the pic. SBI ATM was houseful. Met Govinda, last year’s GMC’13 friend, and finally got to see his new Specialized Road Bike… what a beauty ! . He was already leaving by then. I don’t remember, I requested someone to take a pic and he said it’s done. Just before leaving, I rechecked my gallery…. The photo did not exist ha ha. Karthik was again patiently waiting for me with all this drama going on. So took the slip and then left to have breakfast.
I’ve been on this route twice, so was quite confident of what is about to come. We both joined few others at the small tiffin centre. Had Breakfast and about 3-4 riders quickly set off. Probably here we lost some time. But then with Big Climb ahead, it was a wise decision not to skip food. Pumping in calories … very essential.
After some trailers couple of riders were anxious about how many climbs and how big climbs. I kept explaining when the actual Movie starts !
By the end of the trailers, I already lost Karthik, Vivek and others. As I approached The Big climb, I could see some tiny moving dots at the far end of the climb. Luckily never had to get down to the 1×1 combo unlike the struggle I used to have earlier with the RR 5.1.
The Jigani Climb ! – Photo credit: Vikas
The climb was done ! It looks tough but now that I have conquered it thrice, obviously would tend to say, it is easy. So what? It sucked out all my energy. As I was racing against time, I did not stop to enjoy that Awesome view of the valley .. its greenery. Probably had a glimpse. So I took no photos ..”Yet Again”.
“Every steep climb pulls you away from every mundane thought and gets u focussed on That moment when you realize that you have a heart and it beats ! and beats faster ! and I personally enjoy listening to it . Probably this is why I am addicted to climbs and this is why I ride ! “
Dear Tusker, where are you ? .. @ Elephant Crossing Corridor; Photo credit – Vikas
Although whose heart would be stable especially if you are struggling to climb in a lonely deserted road with warning sign boards reading “Elephant Crossing Corridor”.
I catch up with Vikas who was going a lil slow after the climb. Probably because the roads then were not in great shape and road bike compatible. Further ahead Karthik riding slow and waiting for us. Realising that we had only some 15 minutes left we had to cruise. Actually they did, taking that extra effort in finding the second check point near Bannerghatta road. I was at my own pace.
The second check point closes at 10:48 am. We were close enough, reached by 10:43 am. No slips being printed at the ATM, we quickly take the selfies and head out towards Hosur Road. They moved on and I followed at my own pace, alone. After finishing two check points, Personally did not want them to loose the end point because of me.
What kept me moving?
Apparently juice in my phone battery almost over (thanks to the Gpx app I used for tracking) and with no wrist watch, It was indeed weird looking on to the wrist of every person overtaking me. I need to keep track of time rite !
Passed Biocon at around 11 am. A long stretch of ups and downs to be covered.
2 hours left. Doubtful I was, I would really make it or no. I din mind shifting lower gears if required, but tried to maintain that cadence. Reached silk board by 12:00 pm.
1 hour to go. It took almost an hour for me to reach the start point from my place in morning. Point where I was, it’s still far.
Option A: Quit, Take right at Madiwala, hit Koramangala and from there go home.
Option B: Stick to the same road and finish the ride.
“B” it is… kept pedaling. Heavy traffic kept me entertained as I tiredly pedaled towards MG Road.
25 minutes to go ! No time to play with the cue sheet. Asked few auto wallahs and traffic police, way to Sankey tank.
Option A: Quit take right on MG road, hit Old Airport Road and go home
Option B: Finish the ride.
B it is… That Idly Vada was long gone… kept munching Chikki, Snickers ,… still hungry.
No idea what the time was, losing all hopes, reached Sankey tank and was waiting for a signal to turn green. Another rider on a road bike, arrives then from behind and informs me, 10 more minutes for the end point closes. I asked him to go ahead and finish as he still had chances. And then I kept following him, pedalled furiously. Reached the end point, jumped off the saddle, and submitted my brevet card.
I din know what got into me… somehow managed to finish with some 6 minutes to spare !
Post ride pic @ IISc Gymkhana
Apart from some 14 km run, no practice last week and jumping off to do a 100 + km ride ! Crazy. Tired I may be, tried calling every friend I knew from IISc to show off my achievement and brag my dare devil ride of barely managing to reach on time.. Result: none available or not reachable !
Took some rest and we 3 head back home. On the way back home, it was common to have those surprising / curious / awful looks by fellow commuters on road with few even enquire about the bike, its cost, my ride etc. wherever we had to halt at signals.
With this, I finish my 12th century and shot 6000 + km.