Sunday, July 14, 2013

Super Randonneur - 1500 kms of journey (Part 2) - The fall stories

Super Randonneur - 1500 kms of Journey - Part 1 - here

Tristate / Spirited 600 and Anchetty 200 - definitely tougher options compared to the alternatives in Bangalore. Tristate BRM challenges with the variety in route. As Mustafa says, after 165 grueling kms, you will still be only 45 km away from the city - an option you can choose - reach Bangalore by riding 450 kms (take up the challenge, continue, finish brevet) or 45 kms (drop and return ;-) ). After Palamner comes a most boring, tiring, rolling 40 kms to Mulbagal. And then till end, you will get monotonic, even more boring 150 kms to end, which will challenge your patience.

Anchetty 200 offers a different challenge - Very scenic route but highly rolling - an elevation gain of 2150+ m over 200 km. Can combine with heat to challenge even more.

In both rides, upto a level, I was going stronger but had to fall and struggle later.

Spirited 600 2013 - Rise of the fallen

With cold and choked up throat, I started this much awaited brevet. Wasn't sure of finish as I was trying a 600 km with knobbies, but somehow my mind, fortunately for most of the time, thought only about the instance, and never thought how much distance and climbs remained. I rode with Sohan, Gana and Kalpesh for most part. We maintained an excellent pace initially to save the time for Zigani climbs, which were strategically placed in the brevet timing - You will hit the climbs around 1pm - 3pm where the sun will show its power, considering the season. We managed to cross Zigani climb with an hour to spare.

Attibele - Vellore was all descending. Thanks to my stupidity, I had an excellent(??) fall here. Gana, Sohan and I were riding together. Time was around 3 AM. To avoid sleep, Sohan and Gana were chatting while riding. All I did to avoid sleep was choosing a stupid option - hearing songs. My luck, 4 melodies in a row, I slept, without yawning or no sign of sleepiness to alert myself. When I was back to sense, I was flying over service road, with my bike competing in parallel with me. We landed soon. On hearing sound, Gana and Sohan stopped and came back. They were in shock. But I quickly regained myself, checked bike for its working and we started riding. Well, my both discs (brake assembly) were bent and started rubbing which Gana pointed out, but I was thinking about a finish and so didn't care. We resumed back riding in minutes.

While riding I realized, because of sleep, I was unstable, and since I just then descended from a flyover, with full momentum, I hit divider between service lane and highway lane and had my first flight (lucky I didn't fly from the top of flyover :-) ). Inexperienced in fall, I fell with full weight on my right wrist which took an impact. On that instance, I had just light pain in wrist.

While returning back from Vellore, we stopped in a CCD for power nap. When I woke up, I had my right wrist paining like hell, with a swelling. I couldn't rotate or move hand. But my mind was clear, 'Nah, I'm not dropping by any chance'. With pain increasing and Volini / painkillers of no help, I used right hand, only for support and rode remaining 220+kms with full load on left hand. One inconvenience I had was, shifter for rear derailleur is on right side, which forced me to ride mostly with single speed, or a difficult option - use left hand to shift, even in the Palamner climbs. 

Somehow managed till 530th km, I had a flat. What can I do with one hand, the other hand being paralyzed? I was thinking about dropping as the speed already pushed me to verge of control closing time. Kalpesh came to my rescue here. Understanding the situation, he stopped and immediately changed tube for me. All I could do was, fill up the air. We started fast, and to spice up our ride, we missed the route after Sidlaghatta. 10 kms of extra riding, we reached Chikkaballapur control with minutes to spare. Then remaining leg till IISc was done in slow pace and reached end with 31 minutes to spare - 9 minutes improvement from previous 600km brevet.

Food - Puris and IVC (Idly, Vada, Coffee) at Kanakpura (while returning from U - turn control), ice creams at top of Jigani climbs, late lunch of South Indian Meals at Attibele with fresh juices, cold coffee at CCD Shoolagiri, dinner of Onion Dosas at a local shop at Krishnagiri - Vaniyambadi stretch, fried rice at a Trucker's Dhaba before Pallikonda past midnight, tea at Vellore, early breakfast of country side IVC near Palamner climbs, tomato rice at Mulbagal, cold drinks near Srinivaspur, some bakery sweet stuff in Chintamani, and cold drinks in Chikkaballapur. I used Chikki type energy bars I bought from Decathlon, throughout. Wow, I could remember even after 4 months of riding!!!

After the fall, for more than a month, I didn't even touch my bike, for the wrist recovery. Thinking I lost weight, I started eating more as well, my weight stepped up 6 kg, and even now I am trying to reduce that. Highly unfortunate - 10 kms of running, 1200 kms of cycling at a go - nothing could bring it down more than a meager 2 kgs.

Anchetty 200 2013 - An encounter with a dog

Having done the recce of this route, one observation was clear - The sun taxed us too much by april end itself. Extrapolation of the heat for june 1 showed that, meeting time limits would become highly impossible, if the rain god failed to shower some mercy. Well, luck favoured those who dared. Exactly the day before, a heavy downpour. I happily prepared for the ride.

There was a nice turn up for the ride - 64 riders started. Awesome weather - dull sky, occasional breeze and very mild drizzle, roads guarded by trees with leaves smiling fresh, what more one could ask for in a rolling ride which has some climbs to encounter? I Rode the initial ORR section with Nayan, then from merida junction to Maralwadi alone, and rest of the ride with Rajanikanth, Sandeep and Somaskanda. I was worrying whether I could finish in time, and Rajani and Sandeep encouraged me throughout. 

There are some steep descents in the Jawalagiri - Anchetty stretch, where in recce, I was about to crash due to excess speed and I got out of road, but somehow managed to control the bike and got back onto the road. This time, I was too careful on them and succesfully crossed. But Had I successfully escaped falls? No.

The check for the king was planned a bit further. A dog came suddenly out of nowhere onto the road. I tracked its path and I corrected my direction some feet before. All I missed to notice was a motorcycle approaching from the front. So I missed calculating how the dog would react to that. But the dog didn't miss the motorcycle, took a u turn, ran right into my front wheel. Being at 35kmph+, I couldn't break suddenly, ran over (or "rode over" is the proper term?) the dog, fell down on the road. Already experienced in falling(???), this time I tucked in my fore arm inside, and fell on my right brachium. Head was saved by helmet. The momentum made me to slide a bit over the road, which gave me some minor bruises in right elbow and a major bruise in right hip. Fortunately, nothing happened to my bike. Just the chain got stuck between front derailleur cage and bigger cassette, which we managed to make it normal.

Food options I took that day were, Chitranna - my favourite ride day breakfast at Maralwadi, the energy drink (I think it was orange flavoured) and bunch of chocolates at Thally Medical shop to manage a time stamp bill, hot and tasty egg puffs fresh from the oven in Anchetty, cakes and cold drinks at Denkanikottai, and Musambi juice at Attibele for a final boost to tackle NH - 7 stretch.

Well, both the rides, I could finish only with help of my fellow riders - Kalpesh, who literally saved me when I could do nothing more, and Rajani and Sandeep, who boosted my confidence. Thanks to them,  after 9 brevet attempts, I join the group of Super Randos, with valuable lessons. Hope to continue the efforts.... 


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