Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tour 2 Chikmaggalur (5 days, ~650 km)

It was a long weekend as Christmas was around the corner. Cyclists from Bangalore were hitting the road with long tour plans. Shree had made us dream big by deciding to pedal all the way from India’s east to west. Yes, you read it right. Shree had started from Arunachal Pradesh and was heading towards Gujarat and was somewhere in West Bengal when we started the tour. Harsha, Manohar, Prashant were doing a 4 day Tour-de-Coorg which would measure up a 400km loop. Sandeep was doing a solo ride from Bangalore to Kanyakumari. With such an infectious environment, we decided to throw our hat in the ring. Me, Arun and Gaurav had planned for a Tour to Chikkamaggalur, which would span out for 5 days and we would end up wearing out the tires for 650 kms.

So this is how the tour went.
Day1: Bangalore–Nelamangala–Kunigal–Channarayapatna. Halt here.(166km)
Day2: C.R.patna–Hassan–Halebeedu–Belur–Chikkamaggalur. Halt here.(110km)
Day3: Chik'ur–Muliangiri–Kemmangundi & back to C'ggalur. Halt here.(108km)
Day4: Chikkamaggalur–Hassan–Channarayapatna–Bellur Cross. Halt Here(140km)
Day5: Bellur Cross–Kunigal–Nelamangala–Bangalore.(120km)

I and Gaurav had prepared well ahead of this tour. Both of us, had did a few 100 kms a day Cycling trip and a bit of cross-training too. Both of us had run 26 kms at the Bangalore’s first ultra marathon. Arun was doing his first mega-cycling tour with us. I and Gaurav rode Treks while Arun had a bike made by a company called “McKenzie”. We had never heard about this brand in our cycling forum. The Trek 4300s were designed for a killer up hill ride whereas the McKenzie would kill the rider if attempted to climb those lofty mountains. Arun made the wise decision of staying back at the low-land ghats and do some sight seeing, while me and Arun left to take on the highest peak of Karnataka – Mulliangiri – 1918 m (~6000 ft).

On the first day, we pulled of a ton. We were ecstatic when we crossed the 100 mile mark. We had done many 100 km single day distances, but to pull of the first 100 mile (160 km) was a truly a precious moment to treasure. We were happy that Arun had made it and it was a commendable feat for a guy doing his first tour. A 100 mile, on debut. (Arun, you are literally set to go miles!!). We cooled off our legs at Hotel Kiruba, Channarayapatna. For Rs.550, we got a neat accommodation for 3 people. Earlier, we had started at 7:15 a.m. at the Dairy Circle in Bangalore.

On the second day, Arun asked us to proceed further as he was tired and needed some more time to sleep and thereby gain strength. His plan was to start by 9:00 a.m. or so and visit Halebeedu and Belur temples. I and Gaurav, started at 7:15 a.m. towards Hassan. After some 10 kms, we stopped at Hotel Athithi for breakfast. Powered by Idli –Vada and Kesari bath we turned our pedals towards Hassan. After gulping a few tender coconuts at Hassan, we mounted ourselves on the saddle :-) and headed towards Halebeedu. The road to Halebeedu had sparse traffic and the road was all ours. We came across fields planted with cauliflower and to add to the scenery we had sunflowers at the road side. Who can resist a photo-shoot with the sunflowers :-) ? Beside the sunflower fields, we pulled out some awesome snaps. Given a chance and no duties to fulfill in life, I would camp for eternity beside the sunflower fields.

Halebeedu was calling and we had another 10 kms to cover. After having few bananas in a village shop we started turning our pedals to Halebeedu. Soon by noon, we were in Halebeedu. This temple was built somewhere in the 12th Century (Historians, correct me if I am wrong). It was a master piece of Hoysala Architecture. There was too much of a crowd and it was difficult to get a guide quickly who would tell us the “Halebeedu” story. Mindlessly we roamed around the park in Halebeedu and after 15 mins or so entered the temple and saw the sculptures. The sculptures were beautiful and each one was a master piece, strenuously carved on stone. I plan to come here some other day and leisurely explore the sculptures. Someone said, for the cyclists, it’s the journey which counts rather than the destination. It was right, we left temple premises quickly (not to mention the wonderful nap we had beneath a tree in Halebeedu).

Belur was 17kms away from Halebeedu and under the scorching sun we were pedaling hard to Belur. Just before Belur, there were 3 speed breakers just waiting to pull Gaurav down. I had carefully reduced my speed to go over the speed breakers, and there was one stupid jay walker who crossed behind me and just in front of Gaurav. Gaurav braked hard and forgot to apply the rear brakes. Applying only the front brakes, brought down Gaurav. Thankfully, the fall was not major and he had few scratches on his arm and a cut on this Knee. As, he was wearing helmet there were no injuries to his head. We rushed to the nearby medical stores and bought stuff for a quick first-aid. This is my 3rd cycling tour, and all the three had some incident this like. A jinx that has to be broken next time. We lost time, because of the incident and we decided to give Belur temple a skip. We pedaled all the way to Chikmaggulur crossing all the wonderful water bodies’ enroute. The legend says that a king decided to donate lands to his daughters. Chikmaggulur means “little daughter’s land”. Hey! Anyone heard of “Doddamaggulur”? We got a nice accommodation for Rs.325 at Hotel Rajmahal. The hotel owner, Yosuf was kind enough to allow us to keep our bikes in the room :-).

On the 3rd day, we started at 6:45 a.m. towards Chikmaggalur. It was the 3rd day of Dattatreya Jeyanthi, a Hindu festival to honour Lord Brahma. The Dattatreya peak was on the Bababudangiri range which also housed many mosques. Needless to mention, fearing the communal clashes the Karnataka police outnumbered the pilgrims and were stationed every 2 kms enroute Muliangiri. Our plan was to climb Muliangiri, the highest peak of Karnataka in the morning and then descend down to the foot hills of Muliangiri by noon. Chikmaggalur was at an altitude of 1050m and Muliangiri had an altitude of 1918m. The last ~175 m was too tough to climb by bike. That meant a climb of around 750 to 800m. Most of the road to the summit was a dirt track and just a 2 kms of it was good tarmac. The higher and closer we went to the summit, the tougher it got and the inclines were so steep that I feared we would be booked for “attempt to suicide”.

Cycling sitting on the saddle was very difficult, because the front wheels where lifting while pedaling taking it close to a wheelie. We did not get down and push the bikes except for one last climb, were the velocity of wind was too heavy and the steep incline had only loose gravel. We lived up to the spirit of cyclists, ‘not to give up and get down to push the bike over the inclines’. As soon as we reached the summit, a stranger who had come to the summit on a car, shook hands with us and congratulated our effort. We parked our bikes and locked them safely. I wondered, whether locking the bikes was essential. Who would dare to take our bikes and maneuver those hair pin bends of Muliangiri? We had a photoshoot at the summit with the temple as the backdrop. We wanted to make sure that this moment remains frozen for eternity and wanted to boast to our friends, see that… we had been there and done it. After climbing some hundreds of steps to temple atop the hill, I literally got a feeling of being at the top of the world (or should I say Karnataka). I could see easily some 10 or 15 lakes from the top and many Blue Mountains dotting the horizon and not to mention the cool gusty wind. I sent out sms to my friends, parents and fellow cyclists. I was more than delighted to receive all those congratulatory messages. This is what they had to say about our feat.

My sms: This sms is sent to you from the highest peak of Karnataka, Muliangiri – 1918m. Believe it we cycled all the way up.


· Great job! One more feather added 2 ur cap of achievement
· Great man. Congrats to you and your team :-)
· Great yaar. All the best. Continue
· Great! I’ll be climbing Darjeeling tomorrow. Currently somewhere near the base :-)
· Congrats! I’m missing it
· Congratulations! Wish u a safe descent
· Ooo congratulations Gautaman.B J once you come back you share your experience. All the best man
· Super, that’s great enjoy ur ride.
· All the best – dad n mum
· Hi. Gr8. All the best.
· Whats the degree of slope? :-)
· Wow! Brother you rock!

We also went into the cave in the summit. The cave houses a Shiva lingam. I was ready to crawl into the cave, but all I could do was crawl into it for 20 metres. Gaurav was not willing to go further and asked me to retreat. Oneday, I would return here again and I am sure I will crawl upto the end to see the Shiva lingam. J. We met two guys from Bangalore at the entrance of the cave. They introduced themselves as Yogesh and Sudarshan. They appreciated the adventurous cycling tour we were pursuing and were also eager to know, How then can get into cycling. We shared our phone numbers and I also gave an intro of bikeszone & Bangalore bikers cycling forums. They were delighted and so were we. The thought of cycling downhill was scary. Instinct said, you better push the bicycle downhill for atleast 100 metres. That’s what we did. We pushed the bikes, till the time we felt it was safe for pedaling. In no time we were at the foothills of Muliangiri. After reaching the foothills of Muliangiri, we decided to head uphill towards Kemmangundi. The roads were pathetic, but interesting and challenging to bike around. The pounding our palms, hands and bums took enroute Kemmangundi is going to help us get stronger for the Himachal MTB race, slated in October 2008. The route to Kemmangundi was covered with wonderful grasslands which cannot be described by words. It’s a must visit for nature lovers. There is no particular monument or temple at Kemmangundi… its just the scenery enroute Kemmangundi.

There were 2 falls – Hebbe and Kalhatti falls, but we decided to give them a skip. At Kemmangundi, we had a sumptuous lunch after a hard day’s climb. We filled tender coconut water in our bottles and decided to climb all those mountains once again to reach our base camp “Chikmaggalur’. We were racing against time…it was getting darker and we were pedaling hard to finish all the climbs before night. And we were pretty close, in finishing all the climbs except for one which we did with the help of bike light. Not to mention, the light thrown by all those police vans which were returning after the festival also helped us. At the top of the mountain, I pleaded Gaurav to give me a break. In the darkness, with the help of moonlight we devoured 7 packets of Lays chips and downed 2 bottles of coconut water. After, regaining strength, we started our descent and it was zero pedaling in moon light. All we had to do was dodge and maneuver the potholes in the road and we did them pretty skillfully. Gaurav, played the role of a torch bearer (literally) by holding the light in his hand as we had lost the screw to fix the light on the bike. He did a fantastic job of showing me the light to the hotel. Or would it be fitting to say, he was a guiding light :-) ? When we reached the Hotel it was exactly 8:00 a.m. and we had covered 108 kms will all those monsterous climbs. Effort wise, I would put the ride as a triple – Nandi climb.

Arun, called us to inform on the 3rd day evening that he has finished visiting Belur temple and was already near Channaraypatna. He wanted to ride till Bellur cross, 50 km after C’patna. His plan was to ride to Bangalore on the 4th day, so that he would get one full day to regain strength to spring back to work. It was fine with us and we asked him to carry on with his plan.

The 4th and 5th day was nothing but crazy riding with all the enthusiasm of home coming.

BubbleShare: Share photos - Delicious Christmas Recipes.

We braved the gusty head winds and the scorching sun to reach Bellur cross on the 4th day. We stayed in Hotel Mayura for Rs.450. This time we were double lucky, we got to keep the bikes inside our room and also we got hot water to take bath. We started the 5th day at 6:45 a.m. and reached Bangalore by 2:30 p.m. As, I dropped on the bed, I was thinking…. Boy! It was a nice fairytale which had come true. Yes! I am ready for MTB Himachal 2008, just a few more training loops and I will put a good show at the race this year. :-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bangalore - Ultramarathon 2007

I had a sleepless night and I was anxious for my first 26 km marathon run. First time, I have prepared for a race with a proper plan and I was anxious to no whether my training is going to pay me off. Early morning, I got up at 4:00 a.m. and caught the RFL bus to ONV, Hessarghatta at 4:45 a.m. When we were about to enter the resort, we saw the 52k,78k runners crossing our bus. They were running like of a herd of deers and it was quiet a sight. We waved our hands at them and they were more than glad to reciprocate. The start point was inside a resort - Our Native Village (ONV). The venue ONV was a kind of island with spectacular grassfields around it with nice running trails. A1,A2 gave us an intro-talk about the Ultra, and then we had Mr.Dinesh a 71 yr gentleman and 26K runner flag off the run. He also continued to run amongst us. RFL (Runners for Life) had found a celebrity amongst runners for the flag off and the idea was well received. The race started at 6:00 a.m. and the sound of the thumping feets was more than a music to the ears. 150+ were running the 26 Km run. It included people from all ages and sizes :-). Dada, Dadhi, Nana, Nani, Men, Women, Boys and Girls were all running under one-roof called Ultramarathon. Aid stations were thoughtfully placed every 2.5 kms and the running course was neatly marked with the Km covered and the directions. The aid-stations doubled as cheer band also. The press people were active in photographing us and some enthusiatic runners were carrying cameras themselves. We were running in absolutely no traffic, in a serene natural environment enjoying the wind on the back and sunshine on our face.

[photo courtesy: Bob van Zant] It was the 11 km mark and I checked my ipod for the timing and it read 1h:15mins. Not bad, I said to myself and kept running to the words of Bryan Adams. Music does improve the performance, I had an iPod with playlist of Bryan Adams, James Blunt and Backstreet Boys. The fast beats, placed at the end was to up my speed when I will have drooping shoulders and aching ankles. Believe me, this worked and the music just a cast a magic on me till 21K. It was 2h:36m, when I hit the 21K mark and I was hoping to do the remaining 5k in 35 mins. But, my first marathon had to get adventurous and was soon to become a test of nerves. Running uphill, I realised a pull on the right leg, I was limping for a few metres and soon the left leg muscle announced itself, "I too have a pull". With muscle pulls on the both the legs, limping became impossible. It was time to walk to the next aid-station and get the magic spray on the pain area. After walking and running (read limping) about 2 kms, I reached the aid-station and got a spray. It improved the condition and it was a instant pain reliever, I looked ahead and noticed Mr. Patel and Mr. Dinesh running ahead of me. Mr. Dinesh, 71 yr appeared to be limping too but he had a lion's heart and we was moving toward the finish line which was 2.5 kms away. Mr. Patel, 55+ yrs was in much better shape and was not running, but infact galloping for his next loop whizzing past me, in opposite direction. Inspired by them, I bundled myself and started to run (Yes! I started to run) towards the finish line. I realised why people say marathon is a sport which involves things more to the north of the neck, than south of the hip. Very true. I could see the finish line from 500m. I gathered a bit of pace and was delighted to be at the finish line and checked my time (3h:26m). After I finished, I turned back after hearing huge applause. Mr. Dinesh was going to cross the line. Yes, he was close on my heels and what seperated us was a mere 30 secs. Age is no barrier, his smiles conveyed. Yes, a pristine truth.

Some stats from the Race:
1. 26k race was won by Joseph King??. He clocked 1h:46m
2. 52k race was won by Paul Hemson, 48 yr old, who finished the race in 4h:25m.
3. 150+ ppl ran the 26k
4. 70+ ppl ran the 52k
5. 15 ppl ran the 78k
6. One person ran the 104k
7. Ms.Nischal completed her first 78k run. An awesome feat.
8. Dr.Rajat ran from sunrise to sunset and finished 104k. Believe it I saw it ;-)

Manjunatha my colleague finished 6th in the 26K run with a timing of 2h:28m
His Brother Vishwanath finished 26k run with a timing of 2h:43m
Manohar, my colleague finished 26k run with a timing of 2h:57m
Balu, my cycling friend finished 52k run with a timing of 5h:57m

We all received 2 things in common at the finish line, pain on the legs and smile on the face. Afterall, finishing is the spirit of marathon and we were finishers and not quitters.

A million thanks to RFL Club, the Support team, ONV resort, Manipal Hospital, All our sponspors - Gatorade: you kept us going, Addidas: the climalite worked magic, G.K.Vale:for the wonderful mementos, Kingfisher: this time you helped us with water :-), all those whose cheered us by the sidelines and all the runners. I my hooked and I am looking forward to the next Ultra.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Seeshya meets Guru(s)

I woke up with a jerk, fearing that I was late. But it was just 3:40 a.m. I laid back and the clock inside me was ticking as I cannot afford to miss the meeting with my Gurus. At 5:00 a.m. , I woke up and I hit the road at 5:20 a.m. My Gurus will be waiting at the Marathahalli bridge and we had fixed the meeting time as 6:00 a.m. I had my flashers on..and it blinked and I received some space on the outer ring road. My observation has been that, if one wears cycling outfits, a helmet and puts some flashers on one's bike, people think that he's a pro cyclists and give some respectable space to pedal the way forward. I have been doing this for quite sometime and it works.

I reached the Marathahalli bridge, and I pulled out my mobile to call my Guru. Well, who are my Guru? My Guru is not one, but two. They helped me to complete the TourDeCoorg, a 5 day cycling trip. My first loooong ride which spanned 400 kms. If not for their help,guidance and tips.... I would have quit cycling succumbing to the excruciating pain that crept in on my first 78 km ride. They are KP and Shree. I learnt the right riding posture, sitting ride, adjusted my pedalling technique... boy! since then, I have literally gone miles.... :-) I have crossed 800 miles now, in 4 months.

"Dodda Blue Bus Kannastha?" - KP
"Haan" - me
"Alli naanu eruthene, illi bha." - KP
"Ok" - me

I met KP and Shree over the bridge. We shook hands... and KP said Shree "Noodu pa, eevanu oosa baate thogundathane..". KP and Shree, liked my cycling outfit and said it should cost 60 Euros. I sad, "My colleague got it for me, its 20 Euros". Soon KP, asked which store in Germnany. I said "Aldi". Next time, KP is going to loot the Aldi.

Soon my eyes rested on the Hero Thunder...Oops... Wonder.... Yes! Shree had turned the Thunder into a Wonder and it had a deadly look with the front shocks of Viper, Cassette from Shimano, Derailluers where Shimano Deore, it had new V-brakes, the crank was changed... only the Frame was that of Thunder. So! Now its a Wonder!!!
KP went all out and he was spitting out names of some 4 or 5 different component manufacturers. The components alone had costed a cool 12K.

KP wanted to ride my new Trek 4300D and I wanted to ride his Giant, road racer. We exchanged, and we set off. The road racer was flying and soon I was thinking, which shares to sell in Dalal street to buy me a new road racer. KP was justing a Giant OCR3 which costs around 650 USD. Hmmm not bad, One life live it, my inner voice said.

We were soon at the Whitefield Railway station and we took a detour and went into a sleeping village. Underneath a big tree which was overseeing the newly laid road, we had the photo shoot session for Shree. Shree was doing a ride from Assam to Gujarat, East2West tour. His plan was to start on Dec 9th, 2007 and finish on Jan 17th,2008. Thats 36 days...solo ride... and distance? Neither of us knew the distance. By crow's fly distance Assam to Gujarat (extreme points) measure up 2950 kms. If shree does 120 km, a day which is most likely, then he would be easily crossing 4000 kms. Reading 4000 kms.. leaves a mental shock in me, but here I stand in front of person who is going to pedal this way all the way ...solo.... Well, if Shree has a cadence of 70 and rides on a average 7 hours a day, then he would be rotating his knees 10,58,400. ( Yes you read the numbers right and I typed it right) Yes! Thats a million times rotation of the knees.

Shree is carrying a GPS, a Laptop, Nokia E series, Nikon SLR and he is gonna do live blogging during his ride. He has already did one during our TourDeCoorg trip. So, all we have to do in Bangalore his blog and post comments...which is gonna fuel him up and enjoy this tour. I have never read a fairytale...this time... I am gonna read one at

We finished the photoshoot for Shree. Shree is gonna put this photos on the frontpage of this blog. So, we spend extra time and care. It was getting late and we had to leave to office. We pedaled hard and reached Cable stayed bridge. KP,Shree and I dispersed, wishing all the best to Shree. I climbed the cable stayed bridge and took a detour towards the outer ring road. I was tired manuevering through the traffic. To make matters worse, It started drizzling...and it was worse suitation for me and my bike. Without fenders (mudgaurds), I was collecting tremendous amount of mud on my face and back. It was tooo much... the friction on the road was less and I was racing at 30+ kmph speed. Thats when I hit a speedbreaker, and the rain meant skidding and I did skid and fall down. This time, I did not fly... but my bike did. Thank god. There were no heavy vehicles behind me and thankfully, I was wearing the helmet and full sleeve cycling gear. With a few cuts and a bit of bleeding here and there... I got up.. pulled my bike aside...fixed the chain.. to 2 minutes by the roadside to recover mentally... and started pedalling at a slow speed of 15 kmph. The Trek is a sturdy bike, no damages...except for some scratches on the shifters. Thats ok.... That reminds me I got insure my bike against accident and theft.

When I reached home it was 8:50 a.m, the cyclo read 47 kms , 2 hrs:22 mins. Soon, I found myself, smsing my boss that I cannot come to office because of the small accident. I had to rest for a looong time, before my fingers can dance on the keyboard. Now, you can see after 2 days they are infact dancing. :-)

Bangalore - Kolar (Kurkki Mountains)

Ride Date:01.12.2007 ~ 02.12.2007
Route: Koramangala - Marathahalli - Whitefield Rly Station - Hosakote - Narsapura - Kurkki , and back.
Distance:140 kms

Myself,Chandru and Sandeep gathered on the Marathalli bridge at 4:00 p.m. I was curious to see the tent which Sandeep was carrying and I was expecting his backpack to be bulkier. Unusally, it was very very small. It could not see the tent. But Sandeep was swearing that he had the tent in his bag. Well, I would have to wait till night unfolds to see that ultra small, light 3 men tent. Our idea was to camp in the moutains of Kurkki near Kolar. We pedaled our way through the deafening traffic...particularly the traffic near ITPL was horrifying. Bangalore's tech zone, certainly deserves some broad roads. May be a 8 lane... for our population.

When we were near the Whitefield Railway station, the sun was setting and that meant we had to pedal for some time in the night. Soon at around 5:20 p.m. we reached the crossroads of NH4. We bought 1 kg of banana (hee hee), some oranges, chikkoos, berries all that would serve as dinner and breakfast. It was twilight and the dust was shining in the air. We were racing against time, trying to cover the maximum distance in dusk. All we could do is reach Hoskote before night engulfed NH4. My guess was that the Volvo plant was just 4 kms away from Hoskote and the Kurrki mountains may be another 4 kms from Volvo plant. But a passer-by dropped a bomb...shocking us that Volvo plant was 22kms away...and the Kurkki mountains some further 8 kms from Volvo plant. Oh... no... we yelled in unison... By the time it was pitch dark... and to ride on the NH4 alongside the speeding buses and truck was a challenge.

Sandeep pulled out his 10 rupees flashers which had a LED and star, and it started flashing in red and blue upon turning the pin. Great! Made in China...Sold in Majestic met our requirement for the night. The trucks and buses were keeping safe distance from us, because the light was very flashy. We felt safer riding in the night than in daylight on NH4.

We had dinner at a road side Dhabba and enquired 'How far the Volvo factory was'. The dhabba guy said he had come from Himachal pradesh and had no idea where it is. :-(. We set off after an hours break and we reached the village of Narasapura... none of us tracked the time...because it was immaterial to track it on a weekend....we asked for the directions to the Kurkki mountains and set-off.

Soon, we could see a Bajaj Chetak following us.... We stopped and gave way for it to pass.. But the rider stopped and enquired who we were and why we were going to Kurkki mountain at this weird hour. After a self-introduction, we asked for the stranger's name and he introduced himself as Poornachandra. "I am a sculptor" he added. Surprised, We asked what? Sculptor? He continued. "Yes! I make carvings on stones, I also make scultpures of Gods and Goddessess in Gold and Silver." We said.. WoW... and shook his hands... he was a humble person and felt shy... He showed us a few paper cuttings which were about his sculptures which had appeared in a newspaper.

He was very friendly and invited us home to stay in his house for the night. We were pleased by his kind gesture and told him that we had plans to camp in the mountains by erecting a tent. He laughed at it and said.. if required we can make the tent in a nearby temple which he had built. The idea sounded good and we soon headed towards the village. The villagers suggested us to camp in the village school instead of the temple. That was a fantastic suggestion and we were happy that everything was going our way...

We parked the bikes in the school and got ready to prepare the tent. Sandeep pulled out a sheet and said here it is.... he had a Orange colored Polythene sheet in one hand and a rope in another. All the adjectives he had used that morning to describe the tent were true. It was light,cheap, economical,superfast.. 3men tent. In the night, we had all the fruits and chit chatted till we fell asleep... in the night we were fighting for the woolen bedsheet ... and it was fun. Sometimes, the pull for the bedsheet was so intense... I thought one of us is going to bring the tent down. It was very windy night and we were happy that we and the tent had survived through the night.

[3-men tube tent, campin at night] [the village school... camping spot]

In the morning, we had a curious visitor at our tent. A kid who studies at the school had come to play in the school and was puzzled to see us camping there. With no words.. we smiled at each other. We packed the things and by 6:30 a.m. we were heading towards Kurkki mountains on our bike. A video shot enroute is here for you...

[ kurkki] []

The place was splendid with small rocks strewn all around the place. It would serve as an ideal place for BMX riders to demonstrate their stunts. We parked our bike near a pond and we started our trek uphill. At the top of a huge boulder, we had our breakfast... some cream buns...oranges..bananas..etc. It was a stunning view from the top to see the NH4 and the small mountains which surrounded the place. We basked on the morning sun for 1 hour or so. Vitamin D, huh?

[too inviting for off-road biking] [NH4, crawls as a snake ... as seen from top]

[I love to take..the pictures of this beauty... a bike that carries me... and one which I can carry]

[sandeep..up close.. on the mountain] [call it a silhoutte... boulders of kurkki]

[a perfect place....trees..grass..boulders] [boulders....they are everywhere]

As the sun became hotter, we started to descend the boulders. We were happy to see our bikes intact and the village junta had spared it. We started our journey back to Bangalore. Here is a video as we started leaving the Kurkki mountains

The return journey was much quicker and we had a stop at Hotel Athithi for Breakfast. This hotel is next to Volvo factory (on the side of Bangalore). We left the reastaurant at 10:50 a.m. and we were back at Marathalli by 1:00 a.m. After a lunch at Hotel Bagini, we dispersed and I had to pedal my way all through to Koramangala. When I set my eyes upon the time-piece in my home, it read 2:25 p.m. Another exciting weekend was crawling to its end.

[we n our bikes..] [Hotel Attithi, 100m before Volvo]

Total Distance Bangalore to Kukki & back :- 140 kms.

p.s. :- Kurkki mountains is just 10 kms before Kolar and the local crowd said there are many more interesting rock-cladden mountains around. We did not have time to see them...may be next time.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

11 km - Training Run (10 days to go for Ultra)

04.12.2007, Tuesday
(Morning run @ 7:19 a.m)

MICO Sports Club

Today, It was the max. distance I have ever run. i.e. 11 kms as I gear up to my first half-ultramarathon. Reducing the pace by over 15 secs a km did help. I am not sure whether I have to taper now before the race...or continue training with some 4km & 7km runs and taper just 3 days before the race day. Ever since, I heard about Carbo loading...from Arvind, I have been loading carbos into myself.

Running - 11 kms
Cycling - 12 kms

#1 km - 06:02 min:sec
#2 km - 06:07 min:sec
#3 km - 06:08 min:sec
#4 km - 06:06 min:sec
#5 km - 06:30 min:sec
#6 km - 06:43 min:sec
#7 km - 06:51 min:sec
#8 km - 06:34 min:sec
#9 km - 06:31 min:sec
#10 km - 06:42 min:sec
#11 km - 06:39 min:sec
Total Time : 01:11:18 hr:min:sec

Sunday, December 2, 2007



I was scared initially to buy a cyclocomputer for 2 reasons, it is expensive and then the wired version may be difficult to fit after buying it. Now, having bought this gadget, I want to put the demons to rest for fellow cyclists. I bought this device from Speedo Corporation, Meerut (U.P.) and I am thoroughly satisfied with the service they rendered.
Contacts of Sumit Mattey, M.D. Speedo Corporation
Speedo Corporation
21/3, Gandhi Nagar,
Opp. Nandan Cinema,
Garh Road,
Meerut - 250001
Ph: +91.0121.4007958
Mobile: +919897880875
I placed the order on Saturday at 14:00 and I received the gadget through Bluedart Couriers on Tuesday at 12:05

Echo F2 has 12 functions current speed, max speed, average speed, max cadence, cadence, average cadence, odometer, riding time, time test, distance test, trip meter, 12 hour clock all these features packed for a price of Rs.1195 (tax, courier charges included). Echo claims that their device is water resistance, giving the confidence to use this device in rain.

[Cyclocomputer Echo F2, kit unpacked]

[Handlebar mount for cyclocomputer]

[Magnet on spokes, sensor on the fork]

[Magnet on the pedal, sensor on frame]

[Cute little computer, sitting on my bike]
The cyclocomputer worked well during the moutain2sea trip which spanned for 4 days (340 kms). It also withstood an entire day's of rain ride and lived up to the name of being waterproof. But, I did some rainbow inside the glass of the cyclo display and after few hours it vanished when dry weather returned.
I have not used any other make of Cyclo-computer before, but I would definitely rate Echo F2 cyclo-computer as a value for money gadget because it comes with a cadence display which is hard to get at a price of Rs.1145

p.s. :- I hit 51 kmph on Hero Octane DTB2, in a downhill ride in the mountain2sea ride (Ooty to Kasargod)

Morning ride to Bannerghatta

Ride date: 01.12.2007

The Loop: - Silk Board Junction – IIMB – Bannerghatta – Anekal & back
Start time: - 5:45 a.m. Finish time: - 10:00 a.m.
Distance: - 50 to 55 kms

My mobile wriggles on my bed. It was Harsha. “Hey! Awake?”, it reads. I call him back to be told that he is having a throat infection and Manohar is down with flu. Harsha asked us to go ahead with the weekend morning ride. I was off from my home at 5:30 a.m. and I new that I am going to be late. Thoughts….. “Other fellow bikers will be waiting for me at our meeting point “Mantri Elite”, in cold”. But when I reached there, I found none. Stumped, I pull my mobile which had already 3 missed calls. All were from Chandru and when I called him, he said ‘”I am 10 mins ahead from the meeting point, near St. John Academy (I had no clue where it was), pedaling alone. I decided to catch up with him, anyway. Chandru was waiting near a tea shop and a Wow was written over his face, when he saw the Trek. After exchanging greetings, we decided to call Sandeep. Sandeep, picked the call and said we was near MICO, Adugodi. Phew!! Mate, we are going ahead, catch us at Bannerghatta, was our message to him. No problems, I will catch you there…Sandeep replied…

Our next stop was to see the sunrise, an orange ball was peeping through the trees and the moment was worth freezing. Pedaling ahead, we were smelling a nice scent in the air. Puzzled, by the scent and guessing what it could be, we were turning the pedals and in unison we said to each other… ahhh, Ecalyptus smell! Yes, hundreds of trees were lined up screaming… “Welcome to Bannerghatta”. The sign board after a few yards read Bannerghatta National Part – 11 kms. But, that should be wrong… I guess it would be only 7 kms or so. We stopped there for a photo shoot and this was the outcome.

[sunrise ; Ecalyptus trees enroute Bannerghatta]

[Trek 4300D, my bike ; Ecalyptus tree]

Pedaling further we reached Bannerghatta National Park… Chandru asked, “What shall we do? Go inside or…. ? I said.. lets keep going… this left road seems good. It was Anekal Road and on this road we had some stunning views of the morning sun piercing the trees and the misty morning turning magical…. Shoot photos… as much as you can… till Sandeep arrives.

[Now thats what we call a milkman cycle ; Chadru disappearing in the mist]
[Zero traffic on Anekal Road ; Misty morning near Bannerghatta]
[Trek on Tarmac ; Sunlight piercing the tree]

Sandeep arrived around 7:30 a.m. and together we pedaled back to Bannerghatta National Park. It was time to answer the tummy and we had some yummy ‘mega-size’ idlis in a small shop. I have never seen such huge idlis, they were like Discs which are thrown in track and field events. Next, we had some Puliyogare…. 1 round…. 2 round…
[Chandru, cycling ; Sandeep arrives at 7:30 near Anekal]

We started pedaling towards Bangalore but the traffic was increasing slowly….by the time we entered the city limits at Meenakshi temple…. there was too much of traffic, dust and honking and people were restlessly revving up their engines and we looked like jokers on road. The mob was amused with my cycling outfit and before they could realize what this outfit meant, I would utilize the dropping speed of their vehicle and sneak through. Nevertheless, they will chase me down and stare on my face. Hmmm…. That’s a strange situation…you can only spare a smile at that juncture.

We stopped at a bus stop, which was abandoned and decided to give shape to the idea of night camping at Hoskote. Sandeep, gave a rough idea of “How a three-men tent looked liked” and how it would be erected. Sandeep, said it’s a low cost, basic, primary, beginners tent. With all those adjectives, what he meant was “Guys, do not have high flying hopes of a superb tent, all you will get is a shade above your head.” Blankets, torch, candles and of course snacks were some items which we intent to carry. Let see How the camping adventure unfurls today evening.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Race Day minus 15 (Prep for Bangalore Ultra-marathon)

30.11.2007, Friday
(Morning run @ 7:19 a.m)

MICO Sports Club

Cycling - 6 kms
Running - 4 kms
Cycling - 6 kms

Lap 1 - 2:46 min
Lap 2 - 2:41 min
Lap 3 - 2:38 min
Lap 4 - 2:43 min
Lap 5 - 2:49 min
Lap 6 - 2:45 min
Lap 7 - 3:01 min
Lap 8 - 3:00 min
Total time - 22:26 min

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Road to Ultramarathon Bangalore (kicks off on 16.12.2007)

29.11.2007, Thursday (Morning run @ 7:03 a.m)

Training grounds - MICO Sports Club

Cycling - 6 kms
Running - 3.5 kms
Cycling - 6 kms

Lap 1 - 2:36 min
Lap 2 - 2:42 min
Lap 3 - 2:46 min
Lap 4 - 2:51 min
Lap 5 - 3:01 min
Lap 6 - 3:12 min
Lap 7 - 3:01 min
Total time - 20:22 min

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Devanahalli - IVC Loop

The Loop:
BTM Layout - Hebbal - Yelahanka - Devanahalli - IVC Road - Devanahalli - Yelahanka - Hebbal - BTM Layout. This would measure about 95 kms.

There was a good response in the forum ( for the Ride plan posted by Harsha. The idea was to have a casual cycling trip on North Bangalore.

Manohar & Harsha had started at 5:30 a.m. from BTM. I woke up late, that meant I have to catch Manohar and Harsha along with others at Hebbal at 6:15 a.m. I started from Koramangala and while descending the Hebbal flyover to my delight found a bunch of cyclists. Viswas, Prashant,Uday had converged at Hebbal starting from different places.

We headed towards Devanahalli clearing the mist all the way. Various topics were discussed at the turn of pedals. It started with Ultramarathon in Bangalore, Ironwoman, Speciality of Trek bikes, Adventure Enduro Pune racing etc...etc.. We took a pitstop after covering 20 kms from Hebbal. I do not remember the name of the hotel. It was beside a place where some granite mining was going on and which can be seen from NH. We had a sumptuous breakfast and shared our cycling stories because most of us were meeting for the first time.

We asked for the directions to IVC road after crossing Devanahalli. We were asked to take the road which started with an unmanned railway crossing. Prashant pulled out his camera to take a few pictures. Thats when somebody asked how light is your Trek. I said "this light, lifting". Laughs allround and then Manohar, harsha and we took a pose lifting all our bicycles.

The IVC road has lot of residential layouts. Though nothing has been completed, construction is going on with the ambition that this part of Bangalore will improve after the new International Airport is reopened. The road was under construction and we had quiet some dirt tracks too. I like the dirt track with all those red soil. We relaxed for few minutes under the shade of a tree at the crossroads. We were not sure whether to head towards Doddaballapur or just back to Yelahanka. The majority voted for Yelahanka and back we were taking a road which connects to Devanahalli.

We were racing against time, as Harsha had to keep up some weekend commitments. We stopped after Hebbal flyover and after munching some PARLE - G biscuits... we dispersed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tour2Chikbamaggalur - Plan

Dec 21 - Friday - Bakrid (Holiday)
Dec 22 - Saturday - Holiday
Dec 23 - Sunday - Holiday
Dec 24 - Monday - Bridge it. Apply leave
Dec 25 - Tuesday - Christmas (Holiday)

Hurray! We get 5 days of leave and that sets up and interesting long distance touring opportunity. Well, Shree this time is doing East to West India trip, and hence I thought of coming by with some tour plan.

Tour to Chikmaggalur

1. Bangalore to Kunigal - 68 km
2. Kunigal to Ch'rayapatna - 78 km
(146 Km, 1st Halt for Night on 21/11) - 9 hrs of cycling, No great sightseeing places as far as I know

3. Ch'rayapatna to Hassan - 41 km
4. Hassan to Halebid,Belur - 40 km
5. Belur to Chikmaggalur - 20 km
(101 Km, 2nd Halt for Night on 22/11) - 6 hrs of cycling and 4 hrs of sightseeing in Halebid Temple and Belur. If possible Yagachi Dam at Belur

6. Chikmaggalur to Mulliangiri - 6 km
7. Mulliangiri to Chikmaggalur - 6 km
8. Chikmaggalur to Baba Budanagiri Peak - 26 km
9. Baba Budanagiri to Kemmanagundi - 32 km
(70 km, 3rd Halt for Night on 23/11)
9 hrs of cycling which involves a climb to Mulliangiri which is the highest peak in Karnataka, 6000ft and a must visit place. A climb to the Baba Budanagiri peak also in on cards. 3 hrs of sightseeing.

10. Kemmanagundi to Lingadahalli - 20 km
11. Lingadahalli to Birur - 10 km
12. Birur to Tiptur - 82 km
(112 kms, 4th Halt for Night on 24/11)
7 hrs of cycling and 4 hrs of sightseeing of few places near Lingadahalli like Shivgiri etc..

13. Tiptur to Tumkur - 62 km
14. Tumkur to Nelamangala - 39 km
15. Nelamangala to Bangalore - 27 km
(128 kms, 5th Halt will be on your cosy bed in Bangalore Home). No sightseeing, its more of Home coming.

Day 1 : 146 km
Day 2 : 101 km
Day 3 : 70 km
Day 4 : 112 km
Day 5 : 128 km

Total Trip : 557 kms

Tour Loop : Bangalore – C’rayapatna – Hassan – Halebid – Chikmaggalur – Kemmannagundi – Birur – Tumkur - Bangalore

Yardsticks to assess whether you can do this trip:
1. You have atleast done a 80+ ride to anyplace.
2. You are a good team player, means that you can push yourself and pull others along with you.
3. You have a geared bicycle. Well preferrably 15 or 18+. There were few cyclists who manage it with 5 gears. But when you are taking on the highest peak in Karnataka... well gears matter.
4. You are patient, co-operative and understand the fact this is not an organised tour and neither we are tour managers. Most of the time we cannot execute the plan to the T. If plan A fails... then we will be choosing plan B.
5. You should contribute Rs.1000 to tour pool money to meet out the expenses. When the pool dries up, the treasurer asks and everyone has to top-up.
6. We would be starting everyday by 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. though it might be misty/foggy. If you have breathing troubles, please thinkover.
7. Atlast, No one leaves or is left behind. Because your presence or absence matters to the team, once you have started.

Now, who is ready put your hands up.

Mountain2Sea Ride

Ride Date: 29.09.2007 till 02.10.2007

I was told that mountains can be quite addictive. Yes, I realize it now. After the scaling the heights of Nandi hills and traversing through the hills of Coorg, the only remedy for this addiction was hinging on another trip. The demons in me woke up and answered Shree’s call. Shree unfurled the plans of a ‘concept’ ride – “Mountain to Sea”. The plan was to start from Ooty, the queen of Nilgiris and take a downhill ride till the point we are embraced by the sight of splashing waters of the Arabian Sea at Kasargod. A bunch of 7, answered the call for the downhill concept ride and the online cycling community at Orkut yet again proved to be useful one. We assembled at Majestic to catch the bus to Ooty only to be told later to race against time and catch the bus at Kalasipalayam. Kicking ourselves and then the pedals, we set off and queued up in front of the bus, just to annoy the driver and ‘so called’ loadmen. The bus was fully loaded on the top casting a huge question mark on our trip plans. Will we reach Ooty, Will we not? Are going to be looted by loadmen to load the bikes? Should we split into 2 batches? Questions running through minds were countless. At last the drivers and loadmen agreed and 4 bikes were loaded to the bus-top and the other 2 found a safe haven in the boot. We never knew that, bad luck was smiling upon Anivash’s Firefox. We reached Ooty and the smiles on our face did not last long as we saw the “Grip Shift” of Firefox was completely damaged. The pain of Anivash’s heart was showing on his eyes. Nothing could pacify him and faking a smile, he left to Bangalore again catching the next bus.

[4 bikes loaded to the bus-top]

[An inside view of the bus]

[Pain in the heart shows on the eyes]

[The gear shifter torn and dangling]

We were heading downhill but the roads were pathetic so we could not cruise, we stopped at a scenic spot called 6th mile which had a lake surrounded by pine trees. After eating few carrots which had just arrived fresh from the fields, we walked down to the lake. After spending a 15 – 20 minutes at the lake, we started again heading towards the 9th mile, another scenic spot.

[Carrots, fresh from the fields]

[Feasting on the carrots]

[6th mile, green water lake]

After spending few minutes at 9th mile, we headed towards Pykara water falls. It started drizzling and soon it started pouring and we had to stop. A huge tree worked as an umbrella for us and under it we did things we do best. Take photographs!

[sandeep n chandru return drenched in rain]

[Shree comes after a shower]

[My Hero Octane DTB leaning on a tree]

[Water running downhill]

When we reached Pykara it was bright sunshine again. The weather in Ooty changes drastically. We had a sumptuous lunch in a corner shop at Pykara and took a stroll down the road which lead to the Pykara falls. Pykara is more of a cascade than a waterfall. The water just flows like a river and forms wonderful cascades, which pleases the eyes and ears. The sound the cascades produce was a music to our ears and we sat by the shades doing nothing and hearing the river flow.

[stroll down the park, sheeps grazing on the meadows, wonderful cascades of pykara]

[adarsh admidst gushing waters, sandeep playing a lensman]

Returning from Pykara falls, we were thirst and the idea of having orange juice sounded great. We planned to go to the boat house which was just 2 kms away from Pykara. After a few ups and downs we reached the boat house. The boating lake was quiet a sight and parked our bikes had a chat.

[Orange juice, boar club, bikers relax n chat at the boat club]

It was getting dark and we have we decided to head to Gudalur and rest there for the night. Few of us pedaled fast and reached a ‘unknown’ reservoir which was covered with mist. The temperature was dropping quickly and cold wind was blowing across the water. We decided for the others to join us and took a stop at the reservoir.

[Wow, what a misty evening! The scenery was something to treasure]

It was getting late, but there was no sight of Chandru, Shree and Sandeep. We knew there was some trouble brewing and soon Sandeep, the messenger arrived with the bad news. Shree’s thunder had picked up a something and had gone flat. Soon all of us had to pedal back to the place where Shree was camping with his thunder.

[messenger arrives, puncture fixing lessons from Shree]

It was night and in the pitch darkness, with our lights on, we started pedaling towards Gudalur. It was drizzling all the way long and to keep us going we were singing in the night. We kept each other warning about the pot-holes as we went along, but Adarsh did hit a pot-hole and went down. He had few bruises on his elbow which would be his trip memoirs. Riding in night is not easy particularly in that stretch which had plenty of pot-holes. On our way to Gudalur, we stopped at a place to enjoy the misty evening and in the process devoured hot vadas in a tea shop and had couple of our energy drink (nothing but Tea). The tea shop owner was happy to see the brisk business. We pedaled our way towards Gudalur. Soon the city lights greeted us and we entered a sleepy little town. We got an accommodation in “SS lodge” for Rs.500. We had our dinner in a nearby hotel and then fell asleep with plans to set-off the next morning at 6.00 a.m.

[starting with a tea next day in Gudalur, cloud-clad mountain]

As we hit the road which was heading towards Calicut, we were greeted by wonderful tea-estates. Now, we wanted to make the most of this occasion and do some serious lens work.

[enroute devala, tea estate, biking in a private tea estate]

[me, biking in tea estate ; sandeep n shree join us in the tea estate, devala - 8 to go]

[devala - breakfast point, adarsh pumps air, smoking mountains near devala]

After devala, we came across a ‘smoking mountains’. The clouds which were strewn on the mountains looked as if the mountains were smoking.

Seeing the silent killer climb, I thought it the climb deserves a video rather than a photograph. For the first time, I put the video option in my DSC-W5 Sony Camera for real use. The transcripts of the video session is below

[sandeep takes on an incline on Hercules Top Gear]

Gautham : What a climb, lad!
Shree : Your taking a video is it? Cool man
Gautham : Ya! Hightime we had a video of our club
[a grueling mini-turck passes by]
Gautham : May be after this video more guys will flock this terrain.
Shree : [laughing] sakathayeethey.
Gautham : [taking a interview] So Shree, where are we heading to?
Shree : We are heading towards meen-mutee falls now. Then we will be going to kalpetta
Shree : [showing this hands towards a hill] look at that. See that hill, look at the way it is jetting out.
Gautham : I think it’s a tree
Shree : Now, not that. There is a single hill. Can see that its big. Do not you think its fantastic.
Shree : So plan for the day is very simple, depending on how people ride, we go the meenu-mutee falls
Gautham : menu-mutee falls, Oh! Interesting. Do we get fish there?
Shree : [laughs], depends on your luck. But may be not. Then we go to edakal caves. Finally we end in Kalpetta.
Shree : [calls out sandeep, who is climbing in the front]
Gautham : Sandeep, a short commentary from you.
[Gautham goes near Sandeep, as Sandeep continues to pedal hard]
Gautham : Sandeep, you have been doing a better job. Infact a terrific job, climbing with a cycle with just 5 gears. How are you finding the ride.
Sandeep : [comes near the camera and breathes very hard and jocularly says] you can make it out.
[after seeing Chandru pedaling hard in front of Sandeep]
Gautham : let us catch up with our good friend. This has been his first mountain biking trip. He looks to be exhausted without having a tea.
Gautham : Chandru! What keeps you going?
Chandru : [jocularly] Ya the cycle. [laughs all around]
Gautham : come-on, are you short of words?
Chandru : short of breathe actually. [once again, laughs all around and then Sandeep and Shree keeping singing the cycling mantra, keep moving keep moving keep moving keep move keep moo… voice fades]

We crossed the Tamil Nadu state border and entered the Kerala state border. There was just a check post on either side of the border. We were heading towards menu-mutee falls in God’s own country. We reached menu-mutti falls spot and hire a guide for Rs.200 who took us a 1 km trek to reach the falls. The 1 hour trek was very good where passed through small streams, a tea estate, did a few climbs on the rocks holding the roots of the trees and soon arrived at the menu mutti falls whose sound was deafening. The falls was in its full flow, hardly giving any chance for us to go near.

[Treking to meenumooti, a small stream enroute meenmooti, a viper awaits us]

[meenumooti falls, tasting a keralite lunch, chembura hills]

[me in tea estate, a re-grouping at chembura viewpoint, hey! we reached kalpetta]

The 3rd day was very adventurous, I met with a crash near a village called Boys Town. We were riding for the whole day in rain and when were riding down, I saw an autorickshaw in front of me and I applied brakes. To my horror, my brakes did not work and in the downhill ride the bike was gaining moment and I made full force impact on the back of the Autorickshaw. My front wheel was out of shape with horrifying rim bends. I was bleeding and the auto driver started showering all kinds of good words he knew in Malayalam. I had no clue of what he was saying, but for sure he was in no listening mood either. I was bleeding and reached out to my mobile to call my friends you went ahead of me. There was no signal available and I only passed the message to another vehicle which was going downhill to inform my friends. After a few minutes, all my friends came and we struck a deal with auto driver to take me to the hospital and then to a bicycle repair shop. I will pay the expenses for the damaged bumper and the torn resin sheets. He took me to a government hospital and my first aid was over. I asked the auto-driver whose name was Santhosh to take to the bicycle shop. We reached the bicycle shop and the bicycle repairman showed us the nearest shop where we can buy a new wheel. He fitted the new wheel and then tweaked my brakes. Soon the bunch of cyclists joined and got all their brakes tweaked. And then end of all, of I have to thanks somebody apart from Santosh the driver, it should be my helmet. If not for the helmet, I would have had some very serious injuries to my head. Taking inspiration from Gowrish, another friend you met with an accident at Abhi falls in our last trip and continued cycling afterwards, I decided to continue the trip. It wasn’t easy at the beginning to pedal after such an incident, but I am still clueless of the thing that kept me going. After our halt at Srikandapuram, the next day we set-off to Kasargod. We had lost lot of time due to this incident and hence we decided to finish our journey at Kasargod instead of Mangalore.

[3rd day, start, finish at srikandapuram, fixing the broken chain]
The weather was very bad and to make the matter worse, the roads were pathetic. The sun was scorching and was tanning us, reminding us that we were no more in the hills of waynad but we had entered the district of kannur where the sun bakes the sand. We had to take many breaks enroute Kasargod, because we had to replenish the lost liquids. After our mid-day meals at Kanchankad, we continued pedaling fast as we had to reach Bekal fort atleast by 2.00 a.m. Bekal fort welcomed us and the very sight of the sea was pleasing. Yes, we have made it, Mountain 2 Sea!

[Bekal fort, a beauty were moutain embraces the sea - a site for which we had been riding for]

[happy souls - group photo, rocks of the bekal beach, Bombay film shoot point]

We started in the hills of Ooty and now the sight of Arabian Sea was pleasing us. We have few more miles to go to Kasargod. Nearly another 20 kms to be covered and we have to catch our bus to Mangalore. We left Bekal fort around 4:00 p.m. and reached Kasargod and on the way we saw some wonderful backwaters. We took bus to Mangalore after tying the bicycles to the bus top. After a wonderful ice cream treat in Mangalore and Thali meals we caught an omni bus to Bangalore at 11:00 p.m.

All that starts well ends well. But what happens for something which starts bad. Hmmm, all that starts bad ends worse. We got down in HSR Layout in Bangalore kicking ourselves that the bus was very late and we will be late to office. To our horror, all the 5 bikes were smashed by some branch of the tree and our bicycles were heavily damaged. Manohar’s thunder was the one to suffer slight damage and he could ride his bike back home. Sandeep’s Hercules too had minimal damage. Shree’s and my bike had lost their grip shifter and my handlebar was totally bent. Chandru’s literally collected the parts of his bicycle, his front fork, front wheel, handle bar, seat and rear wheel. He took an auto back home with all the bicycle parts. Me, Shree, Sandeep pushed our bicycles to my house and left it there. A costly lesson had been learnt, never put your bicycle on the top of a bus, find some other means of transporting the bicycle.

[never take you bike on bus top.... lessons learnt]

Trip Stats

Start: 28.09.2007, 8:45 p.m. Bangalore End: 29.09.2007, 10:30 a.m. Ooty by Bus
Start: 29.09.2007, 11:00 a.m. Ooty End: 29.09.2007, 09:30 p.m. Gudalur, ~50 kms
Start: 30.09.2007, 06:00 a.m. Gudalur End: 30.09.2007, 06:00 p.m. Kalpetta, ~70 kms
Start: 01.10.2007, 06:00 a.m. Kalpetta End: 01.10.2007, 09:30 p.m. Srikandapuram, ~100
Start: 02.10.2007, 06:00 a.m. Sri’puram End: 02.10.2007, 06:00 p.m. Kasargod, ~120 kms
Start: 02.10.2007, 06:00 p.m. Kasargod End: 03.10.2007, 06:00 p.m. Bangalore by bus
Cycling Total Distance Covered – 340 kms

What Next?