Monday, June 25, 2012

Hiriyur 300 BRM - My first Night Ride

It never gets easier, you just go faster. ~ Greg LeMond
He was partly right, it never got easier, but I was not even going faster.

It was 1:30 pm in the scorching sun, 80% relative humidity, and I was meandering along in a stupor, having partaken a huge lunch at Kamat. A whoop behind my right shoulder jolted me awake, and suddenly I was effortlessly cruising to the end point, the last 25 odd km just flashed by in an hour. The whoop was from the 1K heroes Opendro and Deepak who mistook me for Vinay (I will take that as a compliment ), and just chatting with them and riding along, made it all look so easy. I was amazed , both of them looked very relaxed, fresh and energetic, attacking climbs, zooming past slow moving vehicles etc. 

But I digress, it was 2 Sundays weeks ago that I had joined the reccee ride for the Harohalli-Jigani Race, and I was feeling completely exhausted by the ride. Next day revealed the cause, it was the flu, and next 4 days were feverish ones. I decided to wimp out of the upcoming brevet, and was looking forward to a nice relaxed weekend reading the Brevet updates, when Anil pinged me this link, which blew away my momentary lapse of reason. The last Sunday, I was huffing and puffing up the Harohalli Jigani climb as a volunteer for the race, a quick chat with fellow flu sufferer Manjula and I decided to do the 300 brevet after all, even if I got a DNF. 

Saturday Night live: My younger cousins were recently teasing me about my inability to stay up and party hard on Saturday nights, so here was the night out option, with all the stimulation and adrenaline I wished for.
We started our waterhole crawling at 10 PM – Ten men and Manjula. All of us rode together , it was the usual  crazy traffic till Yeshwantpur, then Nagaraj and Shreekant broke away, Shreekant not to be seen again till I reached the end point at 3 Pm on Sunday(he got there at 12:50) , and Nagaraj making a dramatic entry every now and then, but I am getting ahead of myself. Once past Yeshwantpur , it was a nice highway with wide shoulders to ride on, prefect weather, slightly cloudy initially and then clear starry skies with a dazzling array of stars you rarely get to see in the city sky. This was my first night ride, and I am hooked , the combination of low traffic, cool breeze, good company and a strong headlight are just fantastic.

We rode together, I was riding the sweeper position and Manjula was slightly behind me, I was keeping a lookout for her every now and then. After a long climbing turn, I realized I had lost her, so I slowed down till she caught up again. She said a Police patrol had stopped her and lectured her on the dangers of riding alone at night. This disconcerted me a bit, and I pushed Manjula to ride a bit faster till she was back in the middle of the pack, riding with Ramesh. I then rode up ahead with Mudit and we stopped at our first planned waterhole - Kamat/CCD at  the 55 km mark near Dabaspet. The rest of the gang caught up, refilled bottles, stretched and the 8 of us started riding again. Mudit ,Vivek and I were slightly ahead, and Vivek said strongest light leads, so I took the role. The new lights are fantastic and they, lasted through the entire night with dazzling brightness. Mudit and I were on roadbikes, Vivek on a Hybrid, and after a bit we realized Vivek had dropped behind, so we stopped at 2:30 just short of the Karajeevanahalli toll gate and waited for the gang to catch up again. Took a 30 min halt, by then 6 people had turned up, so all of us set off without waiting any more. After this break, next planned stop was Sira, but there was no good place to stop. Mudit and I were riding well, we stopped a few times but could not spot the gang. Around 4 Am we were running out of water, and we got to a stretch that had roadside stalls with an array of cans and bottles. However to our dismay, we figured out the contents were diesel and other lubricants, so we rode on till we reached Hiriyur jut as dawn was breaking at 5.30 am and spent 20 min trying to find the ATM. Then we spent another 45 Minutes at an Idly Joint  “Not eating idli” , the owner kept saying 10 more min, till we lost our patience, ate our Parle-G/chikki  etc and left. 

As we stepped out, we had dramatic re-entry #1 from Nagaraj. He told us that he missed the Hiriyur turn, and rode up to near Chitradurga and rode back. By then the rest of the gang had reached Hiriyur and they and Nagaraj stopped to eat breakfast. Mudit and I rode on to Sira and stopped at Kamat for our real breakfast, the highlight of that stop was seeing the Bangalore Harley Davidson club, about 40 odd bikes. Had a chat with a few of the bikers, they seemed friendly enough, unlike the city bikers I deal with on my commute everyday, though they looked a bit disbelieving when I  told them about the brevet ride. After breakfast we pushed off on our “Hardly” Davidsons , we saw them again as they roared past while we were taking a break after  the long uphill and the heat and humidity, just before Tumkur , where we saw dramatic re-entry #2 from Nagaraj. He was tearing up the hill then he saw us and stopped, and told us he was planning to ride non- stop to Bangalore as he was already late with the extra ride and , so we waved him on as we were already looking forward to lunch. 
We stopped at Kamat just after Tumkur for a big lunch, doing full justice to the Thali meal and sweet lassi. The first 15 min Post lunch was sheer agony with the outside of my left leg paining, blazingly hot and humid, very full stomach, and slight drowsiness hitting us from the night out and we were just crawling along. In a flash it changed with the arrival of Opendro and Deepak, the rest is a blur, ended up at the CCD at 3, then rode back to the ATM to get the slips. Saw Chiddu’s wife Rohini and their kids there with posters waiting to welcome Chiddu. It was a long wait, Chiddu had a dramatic finish on Arvinds’ bike as he got a flat on the last stretch. Hung around till 6 pm for the festivities , met a bunch of people whom I had not seen in a while –Venkat, Sunil etc,  got some sage advice on ITB recovery as my left knee was sore and then left with Nagaraj,Rajnikant, ,Vivek, Mudit and rode slowly back home. As I crossed Cubbon park , it started raining heavily, and gave me a good test of the ability of the lights and cyclocomp to stand up to rain, though wife was not too happy  with all the dirt and mud all over, and did not believe me when I said the entire ride happened without any rain, dirt or muck on me and the bike. The cyclocomp read 375 km, and it was exactly 24 hours since I had left home on Saturday evening.

Todays MTB ride felt like riding a sofa to my bum and shoulders after the long ride on the roadbike yesterday. The leg seems to be recovering, though the ITB reasons like Saddle height and bike fit did not make sense as I have done long rides including the KGF 300 with the same fit, then while cleaning the bike today,  I saw figured it was the bag I had tied to the top tube which had shifted left pushing  my left leg slightly out of alignment which is enough to do damage on such a long ride, will watch out and be more careful for the next insane ride ;-)


At 8:40 AM, Blogger muditsethi said...

congrats, it was nice riding with you :)

At 3:15 AM, Blogger Karthick Gururaj said...

Nice write up!

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Shashidhar Gurumurthy said...

Good stuff Parag. Wonder why all the distances are rolled into one this time. Are we not having the separate rides this year?

At 5:58 AM, Blogger kadsur said...

Very well write up Parag....congratulations on completing 300k ride, first night ride awesome, finally I took time to read it.

Anil s kadsur


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