Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tour of Nilgiris 2009 | Summary

From the rainy starts of the initial days, to the sunny-as-heck ride on the last day, ~70 riders made cycling ~800 km look like piece of cake.... There were artists, photographers, techies, scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs, students, unemployed folks..... all bonded by one common passion: cycling..... And they rode their heart (and lungs) out during the 8 day party.....

For me, Day1 (Bangalore->Mysore) had nothing much on offer in terms of scenery..... I took it as a race..... a race against myself to get my fastest 150km+ ride...... The remaining days, it was more time behind the camera than on the bike for me...... And the time spent on the bike too, was at a relaxed pace, soaking the surroundings in, conversing with curious onlookers..... Pumping down a descent hoping to scale up the next rolling uphill with ease...... but only to stop midway, for a nice photo opportunity (and then cursing myself for it as i battled the uphill later).....

Pics from the ride:

All the pics of riders are in a separate album and shared only privately..... (unless they are arbit subjects aiding in telling the story in a picture)

A few moments that would best refresh my TFN09 experience:
kids jumping around looking at us.......... The speed battles with Bharani (which he always won)..... Dumb charades..... Rum Charades...... The collective roar of a bunch of clicking freewheels*........ The Neil Armstrong** roads...... The sunset ride at Hassan w Manjula et al..... The friendly sound of someone shifting gears when you thought you were alone on that nasty long uphill stretch...... The ooty tea breaks...... the once in a few minutes butt breaks, on the way up ooty...... Following Srikar's wheel when he got into his maniacal dont-wanna-get-swept mode..... The dryfruits of the carb pack...... The 36 hairpins..... The lonely peaceful roads of Wayanad and Bandipur

*Freewheels are those things that go click-ick-ick-ick-ick-ick when you are not pedaling and going downhill......
** Quoted from fellow rider Anand Mulky's statement, "On that stretch, I was like Neil Armstrong going around craters. But after Wayanad, I was like Lance Armstrong ripping the road"

Do look at previous posts to look at the day-wise breakdown

Current mood: missing the good times
Currently listening to: All we ever do is say goodbye - John Mayer

TFN09 Day8 | Ooty -> Bandipur + getting home

Distance: 72km
Saddle time: 4hr 8min

A bunch of us decided to get down-to-earth and ride in jeans instead of the spandex sporting bunch we usually are..... (Actually, i did not have space for the jeans in my bag, making way for a kilo of ooty-homemade-chocolates).... And birthday boy descended down the 36 hairpins of Kalhatti with a few breaks to cool the brakes, and also to take pics...... I was faster on the descent than last time, so am happy..... The descent was followed by a nice peaceful ride in the jungles of Mudumalai and Bandipur..... Went slowly and almost dint pedal, as i wanted to enjoy the lonely roads and the forest sounds around..... Immediately after Bandipur, we had our last lunch together...... Got our bikes loaded in a truck and left to Bangalore....... And the tour ended..... How we wished it lasted longer... a thousand more kilometres even?

Current mood: lost in thinking about the previous days
Currently listening to: Better together - Jack Johnson

TFN09 Day7 | SultanBatheri -> Ooty

Distance: 101km
Saddle time: 7hr 3min

~2200 metres of climbing...... Awesome views of tea estates...... And going brrrrrr at the top as we sipped chai amidst the estates....... Took a zillion breaks for pics, chai and well.... butt relief.... Srikar gave me good company as a photographer and pacer..... The final steep climb to the hotel was the icing on the cake (well.... for a masochist).... Followed by celebrations of the conquest, by the heat of a campfire, and of whisky and Vodka

Current mood: Powerful
Currently listening to: Six feet from the edge - Creed

TFN09 Day6 | Irpu -> SultanBatheri

Distance: 94 km
Saddle time: 5hr 38min

The roads in Coorg were bad, and again, i was glad i was on an MTB..... As we entered Wayanad, the roads were awesome.... And we got to look around and enjoy the lush tropical evergreen, instead of concentrating on which crater to avoid..... Took it nice n slow to enjoy the fresh air, with the entire road having shade cover... The day's ride being a short one, i went around scouting for some trails after reaching SultanBatheri........ But all of them were pretty steep, and decided to save my legs for the next day's Hors Categorie climb

Current mood: well prepared
Currently listening to: Chekele - Avial