He conquers who endures....
- Quote on a t-shirt I came across.
Pre Ride Preparatons :-
As it happened for me to miss the last two Brevets (Chellakere 400 and Tristate 600), from march I was waiting for a longer Brevet. I well knew the facts that I ride an MTB, and maximum distance I had done previously was 300 km only. But the factors I always trust is, confidence on self (my confidence that time was such that I registered for 1000 km, and planned to do that on MTB, but somehow dropped the idea later as whomsoever I came across thought it insane and lack of sleep 2 days before ride decreased my confidence), practice well before doing anything I dreamed high, and a bit of luck. So, putting altogether, I considered following things.
- On MTB, I would have to ride more time in less speed compared to fellow riders who would be, for sure riding only roadbikes. So, I might have to compromise with number of breaks (including sleep breaks - I might not get to sleep) as well as time I take for each break, and I might end up riding alone 40 hrs.
- My cadence in all previous rides was less, which all my fellow riders had pointed out. Those times, I never cared as I was comfortable in low cadence. But now I might get tired as I would have to brave headwinds at uphill sections.
- Night times, food availability might be a problem. So I would be forced to carry extra, which add weight. So, I would be prepared to carry more weight.
- Breakdowns always happen at unexpected time. So, I should try always to have some minimum backup time.
- Stock tyres are heavy. So, I should change them, if available, and possible.
With these things in mind, I started practicing from april end, with Madhurekere ride, a normal Hessarghatta ride, followed by Hessarghatta populaire where I checked my maximum speed, then Gauribidanuru ride and Devarayanadurga ride, where I checked my endurance and climbing ability. Though these rides were not preplanned as practice, I made sure that I rode out once in every two weeks. I was completely satisfied of my performance in these rides.
One day before the ride, I carefully verified everything I would be carrying. I got Gokul's Serfas Drifters as I couldn't get sleek tyres in Pedals and Wheels. 2 spare tubes, patch kit, pump, multi-tool, 8 packets of enerzals, packaged chapatis, extra t-shirt, rain wear and extra batteries for lights filled my back-pack. This time, I planned to carry 2 bottles of water (usually I carry only one). Preparing all these made me to skip sleep the previous night. Ate 2 burgers before the ride, and reached the start control (MG road CCD), with Sreepathi and Shankar.
Through the ride....
Five of us braved to start the ride then - Karthik (not me, one more Karthik (Karthik Srinivasan)), Rafi, Srikanth, Umesh and myself. One more rider, Uday, joined the ride, but we haven't met him as he started 40 minutes late. After getting our bikes checked and brevet cards stamped, we started by 0300 hrs. We maintained constant pace inside the city, and I was carefully maintaining cadence. This time, disaster happened at first itself - a flat near TBegur. I stopped to change the tube as others continued. Took 25 minutes around to change the tube and started riding, but the confidence was slowly reducing. I decided to skip breakfast as the time was ticking, took some snacks, banana and tea in Tumkur. From this break onwards, I was in contact with Uday through mobile till the night.
After some 10 kms from tumkur, I found it difficult to ride. Yeah, one more flat - exactly on the same location as previous one. This time, I decided to patch it as I had only one new tube remaining for rest of the ride. I carefully checked tyre and found a small hole. Thanks to the discussions on booting in IBN, I put a Rs. 10 note on the hole, put the patched tube, filled air and started riding. My confidence was completely down, as I could make it to Hiriyur control, but I couldn't save time to pass climbs with heavy headwinds. I didn't want to turn back either. So decided to reach Hiriyur control and then think about returning or continuing. I stopped only at Karajeevanahalli toll for water refill and eating a chapati, except for some 1 or 2 minute stops. I reached the Hiriyur control somewhere around 1250 hrs, seeing that I saved around 1 hr 45 min, I decided to take a 40 min break for lunch and rest.
I started around 1335 hrs, preparing my mind to brave the headwinds and uphills. The Hiriyur - Chitradurga stretch was the worst part of the ride. Completely hot, almost no cover if needed to rest, uphill and worst headwinds. After first 10 kms, I was feeling sleepy and wanted to rest when I find some cover. Soon I reached a toll booth and when I was about to ask them for sleeping there, they said me that 3-4 riders had passed 30 minutes before. This swept off my sleepiness as I was dying for a company. I decided not to rest and try the best to catch them. I started to push as much as possible through the headwinds, but was careful about cadence. At the end of this stretch, as the road was passing through the hills, I had to climb continuously for some kms. Finally I reached Chitradurga around 1620 hrs.
I avoided taking a break in Chitradurga so that I could catch up with the group, had they taken some break there. I continued riding for one more hour, but couldn't catch the group. Still the head winds were there, sometimes forcing to pedal in descents also. I got tired soon and sat down for eating a chapati. When I was about to open my bag, I was shocked seeing the group coming and catching up with me. I learnt from them that Rafi had 2 flats and all of them waited for him, and also, as I guessed, they had taken a break in Chitradurga. I decided not to eat and start riding with them. Soon my bottles were empty. As I was tired already, I asked others to continue and decided to fill the bottle in a nearby shop, but ended in a hotel. I then decided to eat some heavy food such that I can push comfortably till Ranebennur. I ate some rice item and an omlette in hurry as I didn't want to ride alone again.
Then I started to ride very fast and caught up with others within some 10 kms where they took a break and were about to start. I was fresh then, so decided to continue with them. Then we rode together till Davanagere. After that slowly, we split up. Everybody went ahead and I once again was alone. Not counting 2 min breaks, I never stopped anywhere so that I can reach the control. Finally, I caughtup with Srikanth and he said nobody went past him. Then we continued slowly, but non-stop, till Ranebennur. We reached Ranebennur control around 2250 hrs. We soon got our ATM slips, and went to a nearby hotel, had excellent meals there. The hotel person was kind enough to allow us to rest there for some hours. When we finished dinner, we saw Rafi and Umesh reaching there. We called them to hotel after they got slips. We decided to start by 0130 hrs and I immediately fell down asleep.
I got up around 0130 hrs and tried to wake Srikanth up. He said that we would start by 0200 hrs. I also felt to sleep, and tried to sleep again. But, mosquitoes there disturbed me much and didn't allow me to sleep further. Finally, got up by 0200 hrs and started preparing. Others also, slowly got up, prepared everything, and started around 0230 hrs. We decided to ride fast as we had to cover 139 kms before 0912 hrs. When we reached Davanegere, I got tired, and I asked others to continue. I stopped and ate 2 chapatis, sipped some water and started riding. I was almost losing hope that I couldn't make it to next control as still around 90 kms were remaining, but continued.
Within 20 kms, I found Rafi calling me from a shop where they stopped for a tea. I went there, ate a piece or two of some types of snacks and drank 2 coffees. I got refreshed but I was sure that I could't make it. There Rafi told me one thing. "Dude, just continue upto Chitradurga and see the time remaining. Then decide whether it is bike or bus or train". This motivated me . I did a quick thinking considering absence of headwinds and decided that, if I could make it to Chitradurga by 0730 hrs, I could comfortably make it to Hiriyur by 0912 hrs. I started remembering the words, 'ride hard'. We started riding and I again started pushing hard, to keep up with them. After some 25 kms, they decided to take a break. This time, I clearly knew my speed limits and I didn't stop. After some furious pedalling. I reached Chitradurga. I saw the time. It was 0722 hrs.
I stopped after crossing Chitradurga for 3 minutes of rest and started pedalling hard. Descents and absence of headwinds helped me go fast. When I reached near the toll booth, I started facing a new problem, light right knee pain. I again was loosing confidence that I could never make it to end as it might grow worse. I stopped for 2 minutes, consumed almost half bottle of water, madeup my mind, started riding, and this time, I was very careful, not to push suddenly anywhere. When there was some 7 km remaining for Hiriyur, Umesh caught up with me. We rode together and soon reached Hiriyur around 0855 hrs. We collected our ATM slips and continued to find a hotel for breakfast.
We first stopped in a bakery and had some milk (with proteinex brought by Umesh), cakes and pakoda. Then we continued and found Rafi waiting in a hotel. We stopped there for a while, had fresh juices there. I tried to take a power nap but was unable to. Got a painkiller tablet from Umesh and sprayed volini on my right knee. I felt better and we started around 1000 hrs from there and maintained a constant pace. We had tender coconuts in between. When we crossed Sira, we stopped for a coke break and took some rest as well. I sprayed volini again on my knee. We then started around 0105 hrs. This stretch from Karajeevanahalli to Tumkur was uphill and I was slowing down in that hot condition. Somewhere here, I met Sreepathi, coming back from his ride. After a short chat, I continued towards Tumkur. I soon caught up with Umesh and we decided to stop at Tumkur for a late lunch. We reached Tumkur around 1550 hrs.
We searched for hotel but nowhere we found a decent one on leftside of road. We finally ended up in a bar/restaurant. We ordered egg biriyani and coke. We ate fast amidst colorful drinks ;-) and started around 1620 hrs. Here Umesh said me one thing, "You have done this much, you have ridden for around 37 hrs. Now you continue the same spirit and nowhere you think about dropping, right?". These words just boosted me up and I rode initial 5 kms as fast as him. But slowly, sleep depriven state followed by a heavy lunch overtook my mind, I was falling behind and slowly Umesh zoomed out.
When I reached Dobbaspete, I stopped for 2 minute break. When I was sipping water, suddenly series of things started hitting my mind. My failure in Huliyurdurga Brevet and how I felt after, two months of practice rides, effort I put on these two days, and Umesh's motivating words. That drove me crazy. I started pedalling like anything. After that, slowly Huliyurdurga Brevet's last 10 km experience took my mind completely, and it made me spin in more crazy pace. Nowhere I stopped, nowhere I looked for any rider, nowhere I thought anything other than just pedalling. Slowly Neelamangala tollbooths, nice road and start of elevated highway passed by. I took 8th Mile junction road and when I found vehicles waiting in front of me on road, I became even more crazier. I never looked whether it was a signal or a traffic jam. I made sure that I need not cross the road anywhere, I took my bike in hand, started running some distance past the vehicles, and started riding again. I went faster to the control ATM, got a slip and saw the time, ah.. 1837 hrs. My heart was pumping fast in a sudden joy, yeah, I finished 600 km Brevet successfully.
I wanted to relax completely. So, I left the ATM soon and reached CCD. I found a group of riders there. I handed over my Brevet card and ATM slips to Nirmal, and paid for my medal. I felt very happy to know Mustafa and Nirmal finished their 400 km Brevets. I was happy that most of the riders finished their brevets, but felt sad as I couldn't reach before such that I could have seen more number of riders celebrating their success. I was also happy that Umesh and Rafi also finished the ride. Had a nice cold coffee with ice cream, waited there some time, and returned back to institute with paining legs, burning eyes but a joyous and relaxed mind, and had a nice sleep.
Summing up, as the theme of these rides say, the hell was hot, windy and uphill. First day of the ride went fighting with heat, ascents, headwinds and lonely riding, and second day went fighting with time remaining and distance to cover. At three places I thought about dropping, but motivation by several factors made me to continue with. Umesh's words were right. There is nothing like feeling tired, weak and all. It is all mental endurance. Atleast right in my case. He said in a positive way, but mostly it worked for me the other way around. Now, looking forward for 200 km and 400 km brevets to finish super randonneur series...