Day-2 :23 Aug 2015 : Weekend Cycling trip to Chidambaram

Started at Natarajar Koil Chidambaram at 7.30 am
Reached Thiruvanmiyur , Chennai at 9.20 Pm

Distance : 210 Kms

Route : Chidambaram- Cuddalore- Pondicherry- Marakkannam-Poonjeri -Thiruporur-Thiruvanmiyur

After having a tiring day before, woke up lazily, body still being tired. A look in the mirror indicated that the sleep is not sufficient, yet to reach home on time, I started quickly. Checked out room, had breakfast and started pedalling.

The ride was very slow initially, due to the fatigue and I felt very sleepy, and I had to take many breaks. The food I’m taking in breaks is being digested instantly ! I enjoyed the greenery along the route , which was missed yesterday.

View from Bridge at B.Mudlur

After much suffering  and bearing the heat, I reached Pondicherry, had some snacks and started to ride again.In Marakannam, had a power nap at a road side coconut stall after drinking two coconuts.
After few kilometres I found a nice hotel and had a sumptuous lunch, a treat to my self for bearing such heat.

Taking rest at Pondy

Marakkannam

Salt Hatcheries, Marakkannam

Things started to get easier from here due to overcast sky conditions.The beautiful curves of ECR, turned much beautiful , with the green trees in soaked with water.

It’s pouring somewhere

The beautiful ECR

I was blessed with beautiful sunset few kilometres ahead of Poonjeri. I felt happy that sun gifted me such a wonderful gift after spending lot of time under him. Until my room mate reminded, I didn’t realize that I captured a sunset on EAST coast road.

The reward for more than 18 hours of pedalling under him !

Post sunset

Since it is getting dark, I avoided ECR at Poonjeri and joined OMR to enjoy the night ride under city light. I have put on reflective vest, turned on front, rear lights and started riding. Surprisingly a person rode behind me showed me light for few kilometres, I intentionally slowed down at some places and he too slowed down ! I enjoyed this game for a while, got some negative ideas about that person too , but I kept my pace on and went ahead.He disappeared all of a sudden at Thiruporur.

City lights showed up from here,and I cruised through traffic. I sprinted at my maximum speed at many places. Even today ,I finished 200kms within 13,5 hours boosting my confidence for the upcoming 600km brevet.

After reaching my place went to my favourite ice cream parlour to celebrate my ride and signed off the day.

Luckily I didn’t feel much strained the next day and went to office like any other day

The city lights for much needed speed.

The celebrations
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Day-1 : Weekend Cycling trip to Chidambaram

The 600Km Brevet is coming up on September 5th n Hyderabad, I wanted to practise little seriously this time and thought of going for a little long distance than my usual 100km in weekend and I have zeroed in a two day trip to Chidambaram and back.

Day-1 : 22-Aug-2015

Start : Thiruvanmiyur,Chennai at 6:15 am
End : Natarajar Koil,Chidambaram 7:45 Pm
Distance : 211 Km
Route : Thiruvanmiyur-Mahabalipuram (Via ECR)- Marakkanam- Pondicherry-Cuddalore-Chidambaram
I started two hours later than planned at 6.15am on Saturday,as I slept very late in the night. The ride till Mahabalipuram is pleasant. I have passed through the historic town without spending much time. In a bus stop near Poonjeri, I had idly I prepared previous night. After sun started settling ,the heat began to rise. I just pedalled from here not minding the heat and enjoying the route. 
Ride sbegins in ECR

The great carving, Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram Light house

after crossing Mahabalipuram

After having lunch in Marakannam, I started to Pondicherry. Throughout the way I was accompanied by people walking to Velankini. I was surprised to know that they will walk all the way ,which is around 500 kms or more !
The Scenic ECR

Salt Htacheries near Marakkannam

Salt hatcheries near Marakkannam and people walking to Velankini on the left

Soon, I have entered Pondicherry. I got tempted to stay there as I haven’t enjoyed the beauty of Pondy yet, but keeping the practice in mind, I started pedalling to the destination. Some of the bridges I crossed made me feel that I am in Kerala !

Entered Pondicherry

Throughout the way there was occasional drizzle,but as soon as I entered Cuddalore it turned into a big rain. I stopped for a while ,had some snacks and strated again after wearing the rain gear.
The route from Cuddalore to Chidambaram is two lane state highway and people hardly followed the lane discipline, throwing me away from the road many times. That frustration was instantly compensated by the very beautiful green fields around.

It got darker sooner than expected due to the rain and I was 20 kms away from destination, Chidamabaram. Brevets taught me always to carry a front ,rear light and a reflective vest. I have put them on and rode slowly. It seemed this rain and dark situation is somehow dragging me into it everytime ! I was happy to note that I finished 200kms within 12.5 hours as it is in a brevet (13.5 hours in a brevet). 
Riding in dark and rain on a two lane highway is something to be avoided. I didn’t expect this as my plan was to start at 4 am and be here before it gets darker,but a delayed start has put me in this situation. On the other side it has a beauty which cannot be seen often. At B.Mudlur, there was bridge and it too is rain soaked like me. When I was at the starting of bridge,I could see the tail lamp reflections of passing vehicles on the bridge. That reflected red colour shined very much in the pitch dark and is a wonderful sight.
People not minding the rain and walking to Velankini are an inspiration.As I’m riding slowly, I thought temple will be closed and I may have to visit the shrine next day which will cause a delay in my start next day.
After sometime, I was able to spot the lights in the town and I was in the town soon. I asked directions for the temple and took a room near east gate.

I was surprised to know that temple will be closed at 10.30 pm in the night. After taking bath, I have rushed in to see the ever handsome Natarajar in the beautiful dancing posture . After my first visit last year, I was waiting since months to come here and was overjoyed by coming on bicycle and seeing him. (I will write another blog about temple)

Govinda rajan Perumal is preparing himself for heading to sleep, I wished him good night and went around the temple. Siva kami amman has called it a day already, so I couldn’t visit her shrine and majestically standing posture of her.

I went out to have dinner and came again to see the sleeping cermony. Sivan, represened by padukas will be carried in Palanquin to this bed chamber. It will surely cause goose bumps to anyone. The sound produced by all the bells around, accompanied by the nada swaram, drums and other loud bangs of musical instruments will be a great treat to the ears and especially ones like me ,who like heavy metal.

Though Body is fine, my eyes started to shut every while and as soon as the ceremony got completed, I headed to room , arranged the clothes for drying and went to sleep.

Day-8 : 04 July-205 : Pooh- Nako : My Cycling trip to Himalayas

Distace 40 Km
Distance covered by bicyle : 36 Km
Gradual Ascent till Nako through Ka zigs and another set of switchbacks.

I was very excited today as I have to climb the most alluring Ka zigs. I wanted to get down through other side of village but yesterday in my walk I saw many dogs, so I started back in the route I climbed.

After getting down, the beautiful downhill speed was stopped by pack of four dogs. They were too scary. I walked along with a soldier coming on that way, till I crossed them. Just as I crossed them, I heard a big sound and turned back to check it. A stone rolled down from a hill top, a big one! Few vehicles were stopped. I was surprised to see that they removed it very easily and went ahead. It gave me an insight about life in these places.

I also spotted few asses on the way :p . They were very different from the donkeys. The white lining around their eyes gave them a special beauty. Their sound make you run away though. 

At Khab bridge, I felt little scared and turned on music and went ahead. The good bad and the ugly theme playing in my phone gave the inspiration very much required for the Ka zig climb. I started climbing on a very slow pace. The heat added the challenge. I was very happy that I did that without much strain, apart from the heat. As I’ m climbing up I could clearly observe the size of vehicles becoming very tiny.

Khab Bridge
The Kazigs Begin

Refreshing sight in between

At Ka village, the winter settlement for Nako village, I had few momos and went ahead. Even here I faced little confusion about the route. At a place,the road splitted and downhill goes to villages in valley and uphill to nako. The downhill lured me, but I waited for a vehicle to pass, enquired them about route and started the climb:(. I have concluded that I should prepare myself for uphill if I face any situation further).

Ka Village
Views after Ka Village

I thought Nako will arrive after this, but another set of switchbacks showed up !! I wondered if Nako will ever show up ! I was climbing cursing and panting !After lot of desperation, a dhaba showed up 4/5 km’s ahead of Nako which gave me a big relief. A kilometer ahead, my bicycle was shaking and ride became very rough on a smooth tarmac. It’s a flat !!!!!! I had mixed feelings about this. I was sad as there is 4 km more climb and Happy because the flat I have fixed worked for 200 odd Kms .

Walking with a bicycle with flat tire carrying load is too tough and I was in no mood to fix a flat when Mr. Sun is barbecuing me. So I left the bicycle there and ran to the dhaba I saw before , as I saw a Mahindra Yut there. The onwer assured me that he will surely offer me a ride, but asked me to wait as he is making a business deal about apples. Even I wanted to listen that conversation, so I stayed there . Owner was explaining how they will grow apples organically, sizes they will offer, price variations etc.

Though I’m listening here all my attention is on the cycle I left few hundreds of meters ahead. Owner saw the tense in my face and assured in a very confident tone that no one will steal anything in whole valley and in case someone did, he will be caught within a day without any doubt. I was feeling safe after hearing those words but felt an insecurity feeling. I saw a couple of trucks passing in the route and felt that they hit my bicycle and it fell into the valley. For a second my heart stopped beating and I immediately ran with the speed of Ussain bolt. Bicycle is fine and it is just my imagination. Now I parked it carefully and came back again. Owner smiled at me and asked about the trip details. Another yut was passing and as owner juleyed* him and told about the flat, he offered me a lift till Nako. He didn’t accept money after dropping me ! Himalayan people _/\_ .

I have taken room immediately, washed few clothes and got ready to roam around. The green peas fields before my room with hill background is a feast for eyes. I was very happy I am getting rooms with beautiful views all the way.

View from my room

After lunch, I went to Monastery and the lake. There is a small climb over the green pea fields adjacent to lake, but I was tired and gave up on that idea. I didn’t find Nako lake much amusing. The green peas fields surprised me more. I wondered a whole village is just concentrating on single crop. 

Nako Lake

In monastery I was too enthusiastic to learn about Buddhism and culture, but the monk there is not comfortable even speaking Hindi, which gave me a huge disappointment. 

Some pictures of green peas fields

It was fun to walk in between houses of tiny village which resembles a maze. I enjoyed finding my way back to the road, after being lost in between narrow paths surrounded by mud and stone houses. There were Buddhist inscriptions everywhere. Even the stables for cattle were very artistic.

The winds picked up crazily while I’m coming back. Even hearing the person walking next became tough! I met Mahesh, a kind and friendly person .He operates tours in his Scorpio around Spiti valley. He noticed the flat in my tire and enquired about it. He was shocked to see the condition of my tires and pointed out that they were nearly worn out. Even, I didn’t notice that! After getting bicycle I rode over 1500 kms , and I hardly gave any attention to tire. I thought I will swap front and rear tires in Kaza and didn’t bother much.

He was shocked to learn about my rides in Bahli and Darangathi and told me that I was lucky to be safe as there is a lot of bear and leapord movement there! I was like, I didn’t see even one 😦 . While having conversation, I had salted tea. I didn’t feel like having it once again.

After conversation, I have fixed flat and this time used the spare tube instead of the old one. Mahesh helped me inflate it through electronic pump in his Scorpio. While fixing the flat, I spoke with another guy woring in UCO bank there. He told about his life and troubles there. I wished that I get that job and settle forever in Nako !

In dinner, I had something called Tungtuk ( not sure of name), which is a pasta soup. I didn’t like it too

Mahesh, in his Scorpio (Sharath and his wife are travelling in it) followed me for rest of trip till Losar. Their hello used to be a encouragement. After dinner had a peaceful sleep dreaming about the next day as I will be finally entering the enchanting and treacherous Spiti. The name itself has a magic in it !Ah spitiiiiiiii ❤

A tale of unfinished brevet – My ride story about the 400brm

MR= Madras Randonnuers; BRM = BREVET ; CP = contol point.

This is write up about the Green Cruiser 400 BRM held by MR . Sadly, I couldn’t finish the ride this time

Route : Velachery ( Chennai) –Tambaram- Sri Perumbudur- Ranipet- Vellore- Alangayam- Vaniyambadi ( U turn point)- Vellore- Sri perumbudur- Tambaram- Velachery (Chennai) – Total 406km appx.

I was eager to participate in 200 and 300 brevets, but this time I’m super excited. An excitement that I’m getting closer to the Super Randonnuer title , excited that there is much challenge involved in this ride than previous ones , excited how my new slick tires will perform. ( 26 X 1.5 “)

I have packed every thing that is necessary. As always I have included rain gear , dry fruits ,gels and chocolates to nearly support me for entire ride. Also in addition to the cycling light I have tied a torch to the fork on front mudgaurd bracket. Yet both are not completely sufficient for the completely darker road !

I couldn’t practice much for this brevet as I got saddle soreness after three hundred ride and later I have travelled . Thia factor kept me little worried. I couldn’t sleep much the night before , excitement I guess !

I was eagerly awaken when alarm rang and started getting ready. Had a sandwich and apple before starting to the starting point. I arrived there with ten minutes left to the start. It is always nice to see the fellow riders who too are excited and enthusiastic in their heart.

For some reason I started to feel the fatigue as soon as the ride started. I have drafted along with a rider from Hyderabad till 1st CP (20km ). He has hinted that my saddle height is little low. I have realized that I have changed the height, owing to the inclined seat angle a week ago !

A generous cycling coach has provided a yummy mango juice to the riders at that CP. After few stretches I was back on the saddle.

The fatigue severed and I had to stop for every few Km’s. At 63 kms I had breakfast, it gave me little refreshment and relief. In the meanwhile like always, sun started adding his share of heat to the already burning bums . In between I have also increased my saddle height, which gave a great relief.

I have arrived at 2nd CP (101 km) with a decent time to spare. The food I have ordered in the hotel beside CP is too spicy for me and I couldn’t make my tummy full. At CP another generous volunteer ( I hope he is a sports physio ) has stretched my legs. It worked like a magic and I was relieved of all the fatigue and became very fresh.

Heading to the next CP, I have taken the NH which blocked my way to hotels in service roads at many places. I carried salt and added it to coke which gave me some push futher. Like a saviour the local local ragi malt has showed up again and I have gulped a tumblerfull of it. It has recharged me like spinach did for popoye.

Mr.sun didn’t bother to reduce his heat and continued his task of the day. I was really thankful to the cold deserts of himalays, which made me undergo a lot of heat than this and increasing my capability to ride in heat. So I gave a sarcastic hi5 to sun and moved ahead. One could have the sight of hills as soon as they cross 1st CP.

My grudge on the loose gravel uphills and downhills of Himalayas was still unsatisfied. So I take every chance to conquer any uphill I see. Throughout the way I was asking them to provide me best challenge they can and see if they can put my feet down in the climb! The continous flyovers on the way to CP has provided the practise before climb and it was fun to climb and get down from them.

The third CP(140km) was under a big tree near Abdullapuram after crossing Vellore. What can be more relaxing than a tree shade under burning sun . All the riders happily relaxed under it and had the yummy curd rice provided by MR. It has filled the essential carbs necessary for the ride ahead. I even had a salted lemon water,bananas, stretched and started to ride. The organisers were very helpful in cheering the riders and gave confidence for the climb.

Things started changing from here. The landscape turned so beautiful, restricting me to pedal slowly and enjoy the scenery. While riding on this route I felt I have got the necessary answer for the question why do you go for brevets ? To be in hidden heavens of earth like this.

The little children on way were very enthusiastic and they waved or shouted all the best. Some were generous to offer even water. Some are interested in where abouts. Some of the hi5’s by super excited kids was so tough that it made my hand vibrate. I even had water from a road side tank ,which tatsed so good. I have decided to go there touring some day and stay few days roaming around all beatiful and small villages.

The terrain is little undulating throughout out.I rode on the highest gear almost all the way. I hoped to stop for food at the next CP at Alangayam and didn’t bother to take food stops in between.

I saw it is raining on other otherside of hills and wished that those clouds shouldn’t come over me. Little did I know that I was heading there. I like these kind of games from the hilly terrains. The climb to next CP was little and only major climb in the brevet. It is very moderate climb and can be done with little uphill practise and using lower gear. It became dense and dark as climb started. I even saw an elephant crossing board on the way up. Monkey’s are the only wild life I came across and it looked like they were not bothered by trespassers in their territory.

It started to shower when I was 2/3 km’s away from the 4th CP. (186 km). Though it showered it is very relaxing to be at CP. I reached there with 20/25 minutes to spare. As soon as I have stretched I was back on saddle.

It started to rain cats and dogs minutes after I started. I have quickly put on my rain vest and started. Though it is not a complete dowhill, I have coasted for most of the distance in 25km ride back to NH at Vaniyambadi. Some turns were every thrilling. But the rain drops were hitting my face like needles and I had to wear my bandana.

Even Mr. Sun was done for the day and started closing his duties for the day. He was behind the clouds and ensured he provided the best sights for the day. Viewing sunset on opposite hill is always a happy sight and this is much more. I could feel that region is completely dry. He is growing bigger and bigger as he is getting down and I even felt I could touch him with my hand. It is all a pretty confusing sight. While I’m dreching in the rain and darker light witnessing bright light and dryness on other side.

I felt I may skid as soon as I have entered Vaniyambadi while avoiding hi5’s from kids. Luckily i did not skid I was back on flat roads.

As I got suggestion from reddit (randonneuring) to change shorts after half way, I started looking for a decent hotel to change,eat and relax. It needed another 20/30 mintues for me to find a nice hotel. I have rushed in ordered food , applied saddle sore powder at the chaffing points, private areas, changed clothes and came back to the restaurant. I had grape juice after food for carb refill.

I felt completely new and relaxed after eating, which once again proves that food is one of the secrets to endurance. It started to pour again as soon as I was out and I have put on rain gear again.

My lights were good enough to keep me safe but not sufficient for a faster ride. I went in a decent speed and pedalled faster whenever street lights show up. The occasional dogs also luckily didn’t bother much. Accompanying the rain there were too many thunders and lightnings throughout. It is an inexplicable feeling to see the lightings and the lands,trees shinig under them. I was not worried looking at them directly as I wore night vision glasses. The ocassional lightnings provided ample of light to show how terrain looked like. I enjoyed this disco ride. It was very sarcastic that rain followed me or it has increased in the areas I headed to ! I didn’t feel uncomfortable or any pain while riding then, except that I felt electric shocks passing through my hands whenever I have flexed them. Riding in such a rain is too thrilling for me.

I have three hours to spare and 50 kilometres to go for next CP. I was very happy about that. Feeling very uncomfortable at beginning to have lot of time for sparing is really a good achivement for me in this ride. I was completely lonely with no one ahead or behind me in the sight. I thought of waiting for a group but I cannot match the speeds of road bikes with whooping gears if I’m with them. So I have continued riding under the disco lights all alone.

When everything is going right, life has always some plans to test you. I was in a very decent speed and around 10/12 kms away from next control point with about an hour to spare. In normal times it is just a silly ride and will be usually finished within 30 minutes and I thought of utilising next 30 mins for searching the control point and to take rest.

Negative thoughts will always lead to negative situations. I wondered how many riders would have quit or what kind of problems they are facing. Especially wondered about bikes with ultra thin tires which provide less traction. I suddenly felt a vibrating back tire and it’s a flat ! I couldn’t help my self from controlling to laugh at the weird situation in which I got struck . I removed the wheel and I tried taking the tire out but , the tire lever won’t go in. I have delfated completely but in no way I could remove the tire.

Fifteen minutes later I saw couple of riders, I felt how ahead I was. I thought of asking them for help but felt not to disturb their flow as I came to know in previous CP that they are riding very tightly on time. I wanted to take a chance put back the wheel, inflated and started to ride. I did this for every kilometre. After I did that twice, I realized how lot of time is going wastely and felt fixing is the best option as least to get out from middle of no where.

I also realized that I may not reach next CP in time. Now a group of riders sprinted infront of me. When another group showed up a person asked is there a problem. I shouted back yes and he stopped. His name is Ralph Corlenius. He not only helped me remove the tire but also put in spare tube. Honestly I may not have bothered to stop in such a pouring rain. I felt brevets also teach some manners apart from endurance.

I was really thankful to him for providing me a support to get out of nowhere.

Now I have sprinted in my maximum speed and didn’t bother to stop as there is only fifteen minutes left with eight more kilometres to go. As it is an unmanned control point I felt +/- 2/3 minutes won’t make much difference. A person sitting on the road in Vellore told me that few bicyles have passed in that way and has pointed me towards CP. Just as I was 1km ahead of CP there was another flat. This time I was frustrated. I saw the time and I was 5 minutes late already. I had no clue how to proceed or what to do. I found a shade and called the ride organizer to ask if I have to quit or continue riding. He suggested not to take risk as I was already late by twenty minutes and may not be able to reach next check point in time. I have decided to quit and sent him confirmation SMS.

I was little saddened, walked back few meters where I saw some fellow riders. I had food which was packed in place I had dinner. After the riders left, I thought of fixing the flat first. This time tire came out easily and I was shocked to see a small pin struck in the tire.

Cursing the play of fate I have fixed it and relaxed for a while. Throughout I was questioned by the surprised people around me about gadgets , pump etc. I told them I am not in mood to answer and they didn’t understand what I have said and kept on asking more.

I have finally decided that it better to move on rather than waiting here and went ahead to put my bicycle on top of bus and come back home.

The ride back from bus stand to home was little tough due to chaffing previous night. There is little rise in body’s temperature but I was alright and kept my self busy in planning next rides.

Day-7:July 03- Recong peo- Pooh : My Cycling Trip to Himalayas

Day-7: Recong peo- Pooh
Disctance : 69 Km.

The good food previous night helped me in having a good sleep. Packed all the stuff and started. When I stopped for breakfast in a Punjabi hotel, the cook cum onwer asked me to take her son along with me as he is not studying well . I couldn’t understand how to take that !

The day begins…
I started slowly.Six days of training in the hills trained for the big rides ahead, I was comfortable on saddle and begin to enjoy the ride more. I need not push myself from here, the ride just went like a flow. In the map I carried, Recong Peo is not even half way but half of my trip days were finished !That factor also motivated me.
 The stone blasting and rocks falling sign boards scared me initially. After crossing Powari, the signs slowly disappeared and beautiful road showed up. After entering Akpa, except being hot, I thoroughly enjoyed riding on that . It is a different scene all together. Getting closer to the mountains with some apple orchards in between, it is a wonderful location. 

Clicking this pic is one of the reason I went to this trip

Akpa bridge

I had lunch at Spillo . I forgot to mention about food all along. I had aloo parantha as breakfast almost everyday and even as lunch till Sangla. I had momo, chowmein for lunch everyday from Sangla. In dinner I used to try something different or Parantha again 😦 . In spillo a full plate of Chowmein costed 80 rs ! The price climbed up with altitude !!
The desert conditions were also started, giving me a teaser of how it is going to be ahead. In spillo the heat is nearly unbearable . I relaxed for lot of time after lunch and stared slowly.

After travelling a few kilometres when I’m 13 km’s away from Pooh, I met an electrical line man,taking rest in shadow of a stone. He was bewildered and scared to see a person going to Pooh and ahead on a bicycle . He too like people yesterday scolded me and asked me to take a bus for travelling ahead. I told I will see and moved ahead.

From this point the landscape slowly changed and I felt I was in Colorado or Texas for most of the time. The blue sky,the river and the colour of rocks made me feel more and more that I’m in grand canyon. I’m in no way comparing the places, I was just under the influence of Clint Eastwood, Serigo Leone and Ennio Morricone.  

I have read that except for last few kilometres rest of route is flat. But nope, the road climbed gradually till Pooh. Enroute I saw many BRO workers. It is both proud and pity to see them doing the most strenuous jobs. At times they were the inspiration for me to go ahead.

I have reached the place to start final climb for Pooh . It was the first confusing moment for me in trip with regards to route . One sign board says that Pooh is only a kilometre ahead which is a downhill. Other sign board says to take left for a 5 km climb uphill. I took left 😦 and started the climb. I was happy with my speed and technique. If it was not the last stretch of the day, it would have been a pleasant ride.

The climb started with a army check post. The dry fruits I brought yesterday helped me as instant boosters and made me go ahead. The beauty of each place is completely different from other. In this climb I had snow capped peaks on right side and I’m moving more and more away from the river. As I climbing I could see some plantations not sure apple or tea. The ride becomes more tough, when one know the destination is getting closer ! When I was completely exhausted, Pooh arrived. I didn’t care to check for the PWD guest house which is located 1.5 km uphill. I have checked in the first hotel hotel I saw and got a very decent room just for Rs. 400. The view from my room is mesmerizing.

Climb to pooh
After relaxing and washing few clothes, I went on walk to the village. I felt that 2-3 days are completely necessary for enjoying the flavour of that place. People are having fun playing cricket in a very narrow street, the game being disturbed by occasionally passing vehicles. 
I couldn’t view the sunset as one side is completely covered by hills. I was blessed with some orange reflection though . Also it started getting colder. It was dark by the time I came back. I had momo chowmein again for dinner and went back to room. 
I enjoyed the views from the balcony of hotel for some time As I said, the view from my room is amazing. The rising moon added much beauty to the snow peaks. Marked this place as one of the long stay places in my next trip and went to sleep happily.

Rotating them is other reason  I went on this trip



Reflection of sunlight on eastern peaks

Next days ride

Day 6 : Sangla- Chitkul- Sangla- Recong Peo : My Cycling trip to Himalayas

Day-6 :02 July:  Sangla-Chitkul-Sangla-Powari- Recong peo
Total Distance : 86Km
Distance covered by bicyle : 71 Km
Sangla- Chitkul -Sangla: 22 km + 22 km gradual ascent to Chitkul.
Sangla- Karacham : 18 Km Descent.
Karacham- Powari : 11km ,mostly undualting.
Powari- recong Peo : 13Km with 6km uphill (Took ride)

I’m very excited today as I will be riding without luggage for first time in whole trip.I started heading for Chitkul .The climb was very tough initially, even without luggage.Yesterday, I met a person in vehicle that dropped me till Karacham . I saw him again walking there . We started a conversation. He was a school teacher in Rakcham. He will walk 12 km’s everyday in morning to reach School from Sangla ,to enjoy the nature and also as an exercise. Our speeds were nearly same. Even through I pedalled little fatser and went ahead, he used to reach there when I stopped there after being exhausted. We spoke about his daily routine, climate . I liked this man particularly. I felt how blessed he is to walk peacefully in the beautiful Meadows everyday.

Even this llittle one chased me

More awesomeness

Baspa valley -Beautiful river, villages and orchards

I had breakfast in Rakcham. It was little easy from here. I moved ahead enjoying amazing views nature is providing. Each turn offered some unique view. The wooden houses built in Rackham, for living in winter are nearly empty. They were very beautiful. One can even see the stables built for cattle separatley.
The view of fields fo potato, green peas with Baspa flowing beside them will just mesmerize anyone .Especially the the stone boundaries they have set for the fields are very artistic

Rosai Making

Bunch of happy souls 🙂

Yummy breakfast in a wonderful location

Women at work

Closest ,I ve got to Baspa

I reached Chitkul around lunch time. My legs hesitated to roam around and it also started drizzling a little there. So I headed back to Sangla. Before I have started, I saw the bullet group once again and spoke with an Australian in the group.

At ITBP Check post on the way to Chitkul

Beautiful fields of potato, rajma divided artistically

A couple in regional attire

At the Nations end

A grand welcome

An amazing sight at Nations End

In Sangla, I vacated the hotel hotel and headed for Recong peo as I’ve heard that roads are flat till powari. That 107 km ride on second day has planted some overconfidence in me. I thought I would reach Peo before it gets dark. Another mistake I have done.

I got down from Sangla and this is also one more steepy downhill ride causing adrenaline rush. I bid farewell to beautiful vally ,Baspa and went ahead. 

Downhill to Karacham

Due to the project works, the road is in very worst condition . It was terrible to ride in between heavy machinery . The board ” shooting stones ” will definitely cause a fear . I slowly went ahead till powari . Light is slowly fading away and its 13 more to go with 6 km uphill. Now the mind gave up to go ahead further . 

A group of people working in Hydro electric project gave me lift. They called me angrez for heading out with a bicycle and warned me against riding further ,telling about the rolling stones,blasts ,landslides. At that point all I needed is a place to settle for the day and this talk didn’t go into my mind much. 
After they dopped me at Recong peo bus stand and went home. I got a accomodation and came out for dinner.

I went on to the terrace of hotel and saw the beautiful peaks in moon light. I saw Auriga and capella once again after 3 days. I didn’t want to move inside the building from the starry sky there, but I had to as temperature is getting down. 

After the food, I brought some dry fruits ,fruits and chocolates. Then went back to my accommodation. Went onto terrace to see the peaks in moon light once again and came down to sleep.

I decided against going to Kalpa worrying about the fixed time and planned for heading to Pooh. I have also determined unless I’m stranded not to take vehicle again . Being, clear about next day I went to sleep easily and happily.

Day-5 : Bhavanagar- Sangla : My Cycling trip to himalayas

Day-5 : Bhavanagar- Sangla
Distance : 62Km
Distance covered by bicyle : 30Km
(Took lift after Tapri to cross the landslide and few kms in landslide prone area on the way to Sangla)
Bhananagar- Tapri : 20 Km undulating
Tapri-Urni-karacham : There was a landslide between Tapri and karcham so there is an additional 24 Km with 12 km uphill instead of 9km direct distance. I have taken vehicle between this stretch.
Karacham- Sangla : 18 km gradual ascent. (I have taken ride for 8 km in landslide prone area before Jaypee dam )
View behind my room

Little buddy

On the way top Wangtoo

Wangtoo bridge

It was little tough to climb three floors with bicycle. After breakfast I started riding towards Tapri . Due to the hydro electric project, the roads were completely muddy. A lot of slush was struck in my tires by the time I reached Tapri,. I also came to know that there is a landslide ahead and one has to take extra 24 kms with 12 km uphill through Urni, instead of existing 9km route to Karacham. Being eager to reach Sangla for having a closer look at mountains, I have asked a passenger vehicle heading to Recong Peo to drop me in Karacham. He agreed for 350, though he hesitated initially. Cyclists get these kinds of favours from people. Throughout the way, I could see the snow capped peaks luring me.

Mudbath on the way to Tapri

Karacham Dam

Karacham Bridge

Baspa River

And more luring snow capped peaaks

I met a boy in Vehicle, who is on his way to attend a marriage in one of the villages on other side of Baspa. I asked his Kinnauri topi once and tried it.

At Karacham, I first encoutered a group of bulleteers. While I’m climbing on a single digit speed, they headed ahead on double digit speeds. Most of them waved at me. This uphill ride was not much strenuous owing to the beautiful views of mountains.

A mahindra yut driver stopped me 10 km ahead of Sangla. He asked me not to ride till the project area as it is completely landslide prone. I hesitated, but he requested again! I agreed and he himself put the bicycle back of Yut. On the way he narrated the tales about other tourists, his village, driving conditions. This time I did make sure to take his number.
The last 4 km climb from dam to Sangla is easy. Here a group of workers stopped me, offered a cup of tea and asked many questions about bicycle, my ride etc. Since I was very happy with the scenery around I answered them patiently and went ahead.
The people in bus have to walk on that bridge and have to go other side of valley for attending  marriage !

Entering Sangla
I easily got a room in Sangla. After getting refreshed, I tried Thupka for first time. I then walked around. I saw a building under construction and asked its owner if can come upstairs for looking at scenery. He welcomed me cheerfully. From this building Kinnaur Kailash peak is visible clearly. He told lot of tales about the place. The pandavas story, how other small villages were separated from Sangla, the kind of crops grown there and apple business etc.

After he left, I sat there peacefully staring at the mountains far away in Chitkul. I imagined how Chitkul might be. All the while Kinnaur Kailash disappointed me by hiding in the clouds. Even the in the east, sun was hidden under clouds ruining my chance to view sunset. I was only happy for being surrounded by snow capped peaks on all sides. I was lost for a while admiring the beauty around me. As it started getting colder I had to start moving back to room. I have decided to give a visit in September or October next year.

Though Sun disappointed me, moon did not. I got to witness beautiful view of moon. After being refreshed with that, I had dinner and headed back . I had to watch my each step as there is a dog every corner! Pheww!!