Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Climbfest - Action


  1. Part 1 - Read here
  2. All the snaps in this blogpost - Credits to Cochin Bikers Club, I have taken images from Facebook Page of Cochin Bikers Club (Except the map related images at bottom). Sorry guys, for not crediting individual people who took images since I am one of the laziest people around.
  3. As said in prelude part, I dedicate the successful completion of this ride to Mr. Venkatesh Duraiswamy.
  4. Kudos to the organizers for offering us an awesome experience.. In particular, I remember Paul, Abraham, Velu sir, Biju, Sahir, Pradeep.
A minute of silence to honour captain, during briefing


With a good night's rest (surprising 6 hrs - I never had more than 3 hours of sleep before 90 percent of my brevets), and being late starters, Silvester and I got ready and reached starting venue by 5 AM, where we were advised to be at 4:30 AM. (Enjoyed the stay at starting place - like ones I had in IISc). There happened some delay it seemed and bike checks were happening still, which for once made me to think we should have slept for 30 more minutes ;-). We got our bikes checked and stamped by Velu sir of Tirupur Riders Club. Would have been happier had he also rode with us. Then we got some ORS packs provided to us, thanks to organizers again.

Finally we were flagged off by 0545 hours. Flag off was done by Ananya (This kid rode rolling 80 kms to Gudalur from starting point pretty fast - hats off to her). There were press people too who took our flag off photo, which featured in next day's malayala manorama newspaper (I think first time my photo came in a newspaper   ;-)... Can be found 17/08/2014 edition of Wayanad area)

Silvester and I hit the road soon and we rode together for complete ride. I was enjoying the feel of generating power for front light through dynamo. Being Bangalore riders who usually make use of initial hours to cover more distance,we made our way pretty fast towards Gudalur and crossed Kalpetta as the dawn broke. What a breath taking site of tea estates on both sides of roads!!! With the enjoyable scenaries, I never felt tired much on rolling terrain.
I think this is the section with least greenery on the sides... Well, you can imagine how the scenaries were..

Karthikeyan R,on the way to Gudalur
We mostly hanged on with Karthikeyan R and Madhu from Tirupur.. With a tea break on the way, we reached Gudalur around 0945 hrs. 

Powered by plate of Puri, idli,Vada and ghee roast, Silvester and I started around 1025 hrs, leaving behind Karthikeyan R and Madhu. As organizers said, we were expecting some considerable descends towards Bathery. Though the route was scenic, all we felt was climbing for 10 kms and descending a km and repeat the same. And what a disaster, even the maps showed we descended by 300 m around(when I checked after ride). Just before Sulthan Bathery, the Mudumalai / Muthanga forest  section was there and we stopped at a shop to refill water and gulp sprite. We enjoyed the "ada" which tasted more like coconut buns sold at our side.

We had a surprise secret control at Sulthan Bathery and we met Velu sir again. He informed us we were first to reach, around 1220 hrs. Spent some min there and we started immediately towards Pulpally. Karthikeyan R was close to us till the end, with in 5 kms range. 

Just we exited Sulthan Bathery, we were into an another forest section. The beauty of this brevet is, though the route can be genaralized  as greeny, every section had different shades of green. Sometimes I enjoyed the eerie silence due to sparse traffic and sometimes it gave me a strange feel.

Here we came across detours available to villages whose  names are onnam mile(first mile), moonam mile(third mile), naalam mile(fourth mile), etc., which reminded me of Seventh Mile junction where the Bangalore's B*B rides end (Replace * with S, H, C, R, B or K - Confused? See the Bangalore Pune Road in map).

On the way, I was looking at a sign board and missed noticing a hump which was not coloured. Having changed to rigid fork, my hands took direct impact.

We stopped for lunch at a local shop, which they call as thattu kada. We had heavy meals of Bullet rice (we call the comparatively bigger Kerala Rice like this fondly) with Mor Kuzhambu, Meen Kuzhambu and Ulli Vada which tasted much like Pakoda. Well, hunger ceased my thinking power, such that I got thought of taking photo after us eating half of the vada and fish.

@ Perikallur
We continued and soon reached Perikallur Kadavu control around 14:30 (exactly don't remember), where organizers welcomed  us with water. They arranged a ferry to cross the Kabini river, which was awesome and refreshing part.
Getting ready to cross Kabini
Following that, we entered Nagarhole forest which again had an eerie silence. For once the silence instilled the same madness I had the previous day - fear of attack by animals.. Here, the roads are in awesome condition but at every descend, there was a speed hump and so we never gained momentum.

There was another surprise secret control at the end of Nagarhole forest.

We refilled and started towards Mananthavady... As we crossed it, my usual tiredness which I get at evenings appeared and I started becoming slow.. Knowing, Silvester took lead and set the speed for us.. But I was becoming more weaker as we crossed Mananthavady from where the not so good roads started(IISc Rando language?). I wanted to do justice to my energy needs and so we stopped at a bakery at Tharuvana, where I swallowed egg puffs and laddus to restore me back.

After Tharuvana, the roads were even worse till the 200 km control - Thariyode. Every small jerk was having an impact on my hands, thanks to the rigid fork and my poor handling and that was making me more tired.

Couldn't visit Banasurasagara dam as it was out
of BRM route and
we didn't want to waste time

There is a dam - Banasurasagara dam on the way and some of my friends back in Bangalore liked the name when they heard of it from other friend. A photo at first direction board I saw, to send to them that I was near the dam.

We reached 200 km control around 1800 hours. At the 200 point, the volunteers were confused whether we, the 300 BRM riders had to go to hotel Thussara or we had to take a turn at Vythiri village, towards the penultimate control, Sulthan Bathery (again). Some phone calls and we were redirected towards a (not so) secret control at hotel Thussara.

Some sharp descends towards Vythiri and we were back in the highway, by the time we crossed Vythiri, it became dark. It is a two laned highway with heavy traffic and the road had full of surprises - bigger potholes. The oncoming vehicles were rude on us that they never dipped the light down, which was literally blinding us. When nearing hotel, even though I was slow, a lorry with its heavily directed light was coming fast and I was blinded. Done, I hit a pothole and  I was stunned for a moment in pain. My left hand took severe impact. It took me some minutes to gather myself and start. Luckily I was near hotel.

On reaching, I didn't want to start immediately, to allow my mind to settle down. So, I firmly said Silvester, that whatever it is, I will take a break of an hour and would start by 2000 hrs only, and not quoted exact reason not to make him panic.

Had rotis at hotel and started our last 80 kms - to Sulthan Bathery and back. Initial stretch, I said to Silvester that I was getting blank every time a vehicle comes opposite. He gratiously allowed me to hide behind him to avoid flood (I was damn angry that had I installed B & M Luxos U which I was planning to, I would have returned same favour to all those drivers with the flood light).

Surprising part was, we were supported and followed by Volunteers till 200th km frequently and suddenly we felt deserted after that. No one to even call where we were, are we still riding, etc., This surprise part was soon broken. We had a tea break some 15 kms before Sulthan Bathery and suddenly a person approached us and handed his phone to us - one of the organiser was on line and asking our whereabouts - shocked, we asked how did this person who gave the phone knew us.. Then he said he was one of the volunteer who was at Nagarhole control.

We reached Bathery at 2245 hrs around. Since control was not exactly marked, we rode till the end of Sulthan Bathery, returned back to an ATM and got slips.

On return, we saw the hotel where we had meals, the previous noon when we were reaching from Banglore. That hotel was amost getting closed for the day. But on seeing us, the hotel people recognised us and opened again to prepare onion othapam for us - kind of them.

We started around 2320 hrs - 40 more kms and 3 more hrs.. We rode relaxedly, since the terrain was already known with previous day's ride. I was confident on returning as the traffic on road reduced to almost zero.

With a tea (kattan chaya) break on the way, we reached end control (hotel Thussara) relaxedly around 0100 hrs, where the organizers were kindly waiting for us. With wishes exchanged, we handed over our cards and did end point formalities. Then after some chats with Abraham and folks over the yet another dinner, went for yet another good night sleep.

After Brevet

With organisers formally bidding bye to us, we started back home. The group of Tirupur riders - to name specifically, Karthikeyan R, Madhu and Padmanabhan helped us by accomodating us (Silvester and me)  and our bikes till Gundlupet. On the way, some awesome eggdosas we had. Also, a stop to take photos with sunflowers.
Ride part of the return Journey - read here

To conclude, the following stats can talk more than me.. Well, the images above cannot justify even a single percent of the dense scenaries we had over 12 hours of the day... I was busy enjoying the scenaries, living that moment and didn't want to loose the feel spending time on taking photos (a lazy guys's explanation)

The route is divided into two parts as there is a river crossing by ferry included in BRM. First part is till the one side of Kabini River and the second part is the ride after the river crossing.

Brevet route - Part 1

Hotel Thussara, Lakkidi - Kalpetta - Meppadi - Manalvayal - Gudalur - Sulthan Bathery - Pulpally - Perikkallur - Perikkallur Kadavu, one side of the River Kabini

Elevation :- 

Added DEM elevation to gpx of above route from best available source using gpsvisualizer.com and data generated using utrack.crempa.net

Minimum elevation:701 m.s.l.
Maximum elevation:1107 m.s.l.
Average elevation:903.5 m.s.l.
Maximum difference:406 m
Total climbing:3751 m
Total descent:3803 m
Start elevation:755.8 m.s.l.
End elevation:703 m.s.l.
Final balance:-52.8 m

Total flat distance:155.8 km
Total real distance:156.2 km
Climbing distance:70 km
Descent distance:70.8 km
Flat distance:15.5 km

Part 2

Perikallur - Mananthavady - Tharuvana - Padhinharathara - Thariyode - Vythiri - Hotel Thussara, Lakkidi - Kalpetta - Sulthan Bathery - Kalpetta - Hotel Thussara, Lakkidi

Elevation :-

Minimum elevation:705 m.s.l.
Maximum elevation:911 m.s.l.
Average elevation:776.7 m.s.l.
Maximum difference:206 m
Total climbing:2530 m
Total descent:2479 m
Start elevation:705.7 m.s.l.
End elevation:756 m.s.l.
Final balance:50.3 m

Total flat distance:148.3 km
Total real distance:148.5 km
Climbing distance:67.6 km
Descent distance:65 km
Flat distance:15.9 km

Video taken by organizers at the Start point - Gudalur Stretch 

(See 10:20 onwards ;-) )

More event photos - here & here


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