Monday, December 19, 2011

Kolar Gold Fields BRM 300- Ride Report

Kolar Gold Fields BRM 300- Ride Report

Short Version: The Kolar Gold Fields 300 was a beautifully organized ride by the IISC Randonneurs team, with fantastically detailed cue-sheets printed on rain resistant glossy paper, with a rain proof zip lock !!
Awesome Brevet ride on Saturday, it was like a Gastronomic delight in reverse. Dessert at KR Puram bridge to begin with- Freezing and Foggy , then the Main Course- The Long Slow Roast in TamizNadu in the MidDay Sun, and finally the Welcome Drink- the  Refreshing cool Krishnagiri Climb in the Late evening back towards Bangalore.
The ride should have been rated as PG (heck maybe Grandparents guidance  too) for Roadbikers. There was many a broken stretch that made me wince “Aai Ga” (in Marathi—Mommy), and a few unexpected potholes on the smooth parts that literally ensured “Naani Yaad Aaa gayi”.
The long ride and thereafter I have been so hungry, seem to be eating all the time, so pardon the overdose of the food metaphors and references.

The Full Enchilada:
I had missed the 200 brevet, and was itching to do the 300. Did a couple of prep rides in the previous weeks, had a spate of punctures on one ride and hence changed my tyres to 700X26 Kenda Kontendors from the jittery 23 Hutchinson stock tyres on my Btwin Sport 1. With the usual mix of bravado and uncertainty , I was ready for the longest ride of my life.
Woke at 3:45 am , got ready, ate a boiled egg and a banana and set off to the MG Road metro station. Chiddu lives near my place, so we had planned to start together at 4:45, but he was running late, so I went ahead. Got there at 5:30, got the Brevet card stamped, admired the handiwork of the IISc team in prepping the cue sheet and the map. Saw Shashidhar with his nicely setup touring bike and jazzy solar charger, and about 10 odd other riders.
We set off at 6 sharp , riding slowly towards Ulsoor lake and then Old madras road. It was cold and foggy near the KR Puram bridge, it grew denser with visibility dropping to 50 meters, and Chiddu was steaming ahead. I was trying to chase him for a while, then I realized that visibility was down to 10 meters like the Delhi fog, and thought that this cant be true in Bangalore. Indeed it was not, my glasses had fogged up too, and contributed their bit to blinding me. Stopped and cleaned them, was relieved to be back at 50 mtr visibility and set off again. Just after the Hosakote turn off, my cyclocomp stopped working, I tried fiddling with it but was not getting any input signals, though the clock and other functions were running fine. Caught up with Chiddu, Srepathi at this point and chatted as we rode along. The sun was a vulnerable ball at that time, obscured even by puffs of smoke from factory chimneys.
Made steady progress and around 8 am reached the first Time control at Malur, which was a bit of a comedy of errors. Located the Corporation Bank ATM which was out of order. The backup SBI did not have an ATM, so after some deliberation, we settled for a snap for the timestamp and pushed on with a brief break for eating a banana and some electral.
Mid morning was the best part of the ride, it was bright but cool, with nice scenery and rolling stretches. The road had lots of shade on both sides, definitely a ride I would like to do again in a leisurely manner on an MTB. Luscious green and black grapes fresh from the orchards being sold by the roadside, sugarcane fields, and plump tamarinds fallen from the tree—all I could do was gaze longingly, while I obeyed the taskmaster brain to just keep pushing along. Hit a pothole while I was daydreaming in that stretch, and my cyclocomp sprang back into action, and then worked beautifully till the end of the ride.
As the sun got higher, I was just desperately waiting for the long downhill around the 100 km mark, and it keep me waiting for a long time, with a few rolling sections before it that never seemed to end, with one false peak after another. The ride down actually started around the 120 Km mark, and was not as thrilling as I had envisioned from the elevation map. I had to keep braking to slow myself down, and the shoulders and arms were taking a nice beating. After the descent, there was a small climb that just about flattened me and Chiddu and we somehow straggled into Pernambut. Pernambut is a small town where the stench of the numerous tanneries around pervades everything, and piles of discarded animal skin are dumped by the roadside. Found the SBI ATM for the control, got the timestamp and then wandered around in the heat looking for a place to eat. We are not finicky, all we were asking for was basic cleanliness, and shade, unfortunately all we could spot was “shady” places. In desperation, finally had a quick mini meal at a hole in the wall place and set off again.
I was dreading the road after Pernambut, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Lots of shade, and decent road surface. After a bit, Chiddu took off like a rocket, and I was desperately trying to catch him. Just before Vaniyambadi , as I was toiling away in the afternoon blaze, all sweaty and flustered, a 60 year old gent comes alongside on a motorcycle. He asked me where I was coming from and what I was up to, and I said just doing a long ride starting from Bangalore and ending back at Bangalore. He said, You must have an aim for the ride, I said nope, this is just for fun.’ He stared at me speechless for a few seconds, then muttered “Aimeless ride to get back where you started from?” and sped off. In retrospect, I don’t blame him—try to explain to any sane person that pedaling away for your life all sweaty and tired on a Saturday afternoon is your idea of fun ;-)
Getting out from Vaniyambadi was a challenge, stopped multiple times to ask for directions. Having Rajnikant there with his Tamil skills was a great help, he figured out the railway crossing area and we finally got to the highway. Stopped at Mufassas for High tea with Chiddu, Ganapathy,Kiran, who were already there and hogging away. Sreepathi came in as we were leaving. Kiran said he has a cricket match the next day, and I was thinking I would be happy to even be able to walk normally on Sunday !!
Vaniyambadi to Krishnagiri is a nice rolling climb, the road is the fabulous Golden Quadrilateral surface, and the setting sun made it very pleasant riding. Chiddu shot off at great speed once again, I pedaled steadily along with Kiran,Ganapaty and Rajnikant. Just before I reached Krishnagiri, Chiddu came up from behind, seems he had bonked and had to stop for a tea break. We got to Krishnagiri at 7:30, stopped for a quick Milk/tea break and pushed ahead. Shoolagiri climb was done in quick time, and then stopped at Kamat for Dinner at 9 PM. The sugarcane juice there was the sweetest one I have ever had.
The last stretch was a slow and steady grind, with breaks every 30 min to sip water and stretch the aching body, and pacing each other as our energy flagged. Reached the final control at 12:30 where the ever enthusiastic IISc team was waiting to stamp the card, chatted for a  few minutes with the other riders, and and got home at 1 am. Told Chiddu that I might attempt a cold shower to aid recovery (generally I like very hot water showers), and managed to pull it off. It was torture for the 5 min it lasted, but afterwards I felt very refreshed, and even did some stretching before crashing into bed at 2 am – and just a few moments later the watch showed 7 Am on Sunday morning and my son trying to wake me up ;-).


At 6:25 AM, Blogger Kiran said...

Very nice, one thing U forgot to mention was how chidu took off the moment he finished his high protein food......

At 10:29 AM, Blogger mustu said...

nice write up parag.

you slept for just 5 hours. I sleep for 10-12 hours after long rides. :)


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