Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Long Ride after a Long Time

Through these weeks, I got used to a fact that, I plan rides with somebody, they drop out a day before ride day, or the ride day morning, and if I am still serious about riding, ride to Hessarghatta, else simply continue morning sleep, one of the things I am passionate about. Last saturday also was not an exception for this. Also, having Bangalore - Ranebennur - Bangalore Brevet in mind, I was a bit worried too, as if this continues, I might end up riding the brevet without any practice, considering my last long distance trip, which happened at beginning of march. In these conditions, when I saw the mail by Gokul about his plan of exploratory ride for a route, no second thought, I just decided to go for it.

About Gokul, a super randonneur from institute, he is one of the best riders I had come across, to ride with. He made up a populaire route for 174 kms (yeah, a bit long populaire) through some towns north to Bangalore and wanted to explore the route. I joined him this sunday for the exploratory ride. Route is, IISc to Doddaballapur to Gauribidanuru to Chikballapur to Doddaballapur, and back to IISc. In all my previous rides, I would be knowing apriori the altitude profile of the route, good and bad sections of roads, etc., and accordingly, I would make up the things and ride. This time, with none of the info available at start, it turned to be a fantastic and eventful ride.

We started around 0610 hours, took Yelahanka road from Jalahalli, to reach Doddaballapur road. Doddaballapur road was nice, but as advised before riding, was filled with heavy traffic. In this section, I felt difficult to pedal and was wondering how I would finish the ride. I was suspecting my bike to have some fault but couldn't find any. I couldn't suspect route, as Bangalore is higher than any other place around, and always, when ridden out from Bangalore, initial part of any route will be descending only. I somehow managed to continue, though lagging behind and making Gokul to wait for me frequently. We stopped before Doddaballapur for breakfast. We had puris and idly vada, way better than those served in mess.

Doddaballapur - Gauribidanuru road
After Doddaballapur, the traffic was less to medium, and after 10 kms, the road became descending. Here I found that I was not feeling much difficult as before. Once again, I couldn't figure out whether the problem in bike got solved (if any), or I got used to. Some sections of this road exactly resembled Kanakpura - Sathanur road, in features like slope, road conditions, surroundings, etc., After some distance, the road had nice tree cover. We enjoyed the ride through villages, stopped frequently to take photos, and reached Gauribidanuru by 1040 hrs.

A lake to the right of Doddaballapur - Gaurubidanuru road
Gokul, with Cows
We refilled water, and started riding towards Chikballapur, after having cane juice and cake. This section of route is a National Highway. We were surprised to see that narrow, two laned highway, having very low traffic density. We saw people, crossing the highway with their cows and goats, casually. We stopped sometimes to take photos, once with cows as well. It was around 1240 hrs, when we reached the section of road we had to climb, which passes in between two hills. We enjoyed climbing that less sloped yet long ascent. On top of that climb, we found a lake and a passage looking like a dry river, and we assumed that it might be the Penneru river we were searching through out this section. We reached Chikballapur by 1315 hrs and stopped for lunch. Lunch also was fantastic and cheap.

Lake at the top of climb - Assumed starting of Penneru river
Gokul, fixing flat tyre
After a fairly long break of 50 minutes, we started riding towards Doddaballapur. This part of ride, as we were under hot sun and comparatively less cover, was very slow. When we were riding near Nandi Hills, Gokul had a flat in front tyre. We sat there for a while, to change tube. Then we reached second of two climbs, and this climb was also, in between two hills. This was comparatively more slopy, but short ascent, followed by a long descent, which helped to relax while riding. We reached Doddaballapur by 1700 hrs, had tea and started our ride towards institute.

Here I found out that the road from Doddaballapur to Yelahanka was descending, which means, we have climbed by morning. So, my morning doubt got cleared. My bike was fine, and problem was with my perception about the route, as I expected either flat or descending road by morning, like other routes. This is the first ascending route from Bangalore I had ridden. Meanwhile, air in Gokul's front tyre started reducing with time. We even stopped sometimes to refill air. We reached the institute back by 0740 hrs, ended the ride with nice juice in juice center.

To summarize, the ride was amazing, with an amazing rider. Route is excellent, with nice roadbikeable roads, nice scenaries around, less traffic, 2 nice climbs, good eateries throughout, and what not? I got refreshed throughout the ride, by chats with Gokul about his DIY stuff, bread baking experience, races, and more. Well, our ride time? 13 hrs 40 min for 174 km? Ah.. Who cares? It is worth an experience.

Some more Images through the Ride :-

A sideview in Doddaballapur - Gauribidanuru road
Section of Doddaballapur - Gauriidanuru Road, which resembled Kanakpura - Sathanur  Road
Section with nice tree cover
With Cows, ofcourse me
Nandi Hills
A microhill(?) nearby Nandi Hills Road where we fixed flat

See Gokul's blogpost on this trip, for more detailed Images en route.


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