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.