Some call me mad, some feel that I over do cycling , some feel that Indian roads are not safe for cycling. Yet my mind always thinks about the next ride. My mind knows that what I have achieved is just not enough ,to reach the next big goal. I have to do something to boost my confidence levels. Though my the gap between me and my bikes increased after my wedding and even I have put on ten kg extra weight, my mind didn’t back off to choose The Grandfondo 1000 in Hyderabad on 20 th January,2017 as my come back ride.
After cleaning the bikes which were covered in dust for two months, I went on two small rides of 160 km and 400 km to remind my legs that they have to pedal 1000 km. In those rides, I found that I’m terribly slow, yet to my surprise rides were finished in not very bad timings. They boosted my confidence to be at start point of brevet.
My endurance guru, Mohan advised to aim for sub 70 finish ( 75 hours is cutoff for 1000 Km brevet). I thought on a road bike it is not very tough as I took 72 hours for my previous two 1000 km brevets. Life on roads will be completely different than we always expect. As we rode along the new paths, I have lived a life which I haven’t experienced anytime before ………
To Start point and beyond :-
The 15 km ride to start point ( Mrugavani Resort) is not very strenuous. After volunteers and rest of riders arrived, start point formalities were done. Ride was flagged off and I’m there on my home – the roads. The not so sunny day combined with tail winds,adjusted our moods in highest possible level of pleasantness. Bikes are moving in a decent speed with a very minimum effort. Back in my mind, I’m already warning it, that I have to climb all of this in return with headwinds that try to demotivate me, in every possible way. A beautiful sunset assured that our moods are still high, paving way for the darkness.
I couldn’t forget the way in which I couldn’t properly sync up with Mohan in Belgaum 1000, last year June. This combined with other reason, demanded him to quit brevet. So my primary goal in this brevet is not to cross his bike at any given time. So, I just stayed behind his wheels spinning on easy gears, while he pedalled like a warrior on his MTB.
Sometimes when the wind is very favourable, I couldn’t control pedalling faster, but I managed to stay with him and Aditya, Aravind who are with us. After dinner, we rode slowly. With occasional sleep breaks, accompanied by lullabies of heavy vehicles, we reached Kurnool in the time we have nearly aimed.I’m now riding in Rayalaseema, which in movies will be portrayed as land filled with blood shedding, murders and bombs. I filled my tummy with a ghee roast and Idly at a 24 hour hotel inside bus stand. Thumping music at hotel energised my mind for a while.
I tried carrying boiled potato in this ride, which was of no use as they began to stink after sometime, so I threw them at hotel.
Kurnool- Betamcherla- Tadipatri-Anantapur :- ( 218-410 km )
After 220 Kms, body showed some tiredness and also since my tummy is full, body demanded sleep. In that semi sleep mode, we rode a decent distance hunting down for a place to take a nap. Finally after riding around 25-30 km we found the petrol bunk, Aditya has suggested. Aravind missed us here. Just to fulfil the demand of mind, though not very sleepy, we halted there. I took a nap, which helped me relive from tiredness. Another beautiful sunrise marked the beginning of challenges we have to face for the day.
As we started rolling terrain welcomed us to Betamcherla. Naveen joined us here. Marbles stone piles are scattered along both sides of road. It was filled with marble stone industries till the village. After having breakfast and using washroom offered by a good Samaritan ( Dr. Srikanth), we made a move.
The levels of pleasantness started decreasing with the entry of bad roads. Mood further deteriorated with the disappearance of tarmac. I hated the way roads welcomed me back onto endurance riding. Even the very beautiful OWK reservoir, nor the gigantic cement factory on the way to Tadipatri couldn’t lift my mood. It was different landscape all along the way. Land was being mined for stones all along the way. Larges cavities in earth formed the borders of roads. In the ever growing heat, I didn’t let my mind worry much about mining, but just concentrated on ride. Though I crossed name Belum, I couldn’t find a sign of very famous Belum caves.
At OWK reservoir
Since it is very hot, we gulped a couple of sugandhi sodas, which relieved us to an extent. Also because, I very hungry I ate Poori’s which I got packed at Betamcherla. We manged to reach Tadipatri by lunch time , which is a also a control point ,leaving a decent buffer time. Our hunt for hotel presented us with a decent hotel serving good food. We took a nap there at hotel itself. While, myself and Aditya looked for a excuse to break, Mohan never seemed exhausted.
When we resumed back, I had to stop for buying AAA batteries for my tail light. I had to stop in between for lubing the butt and many times due to exhaustion. Heat is draining all the energy in body. Mohan and Aditya stopped for a refreshing break in middle, where I joined them for a nap. When we resumed, I couldn’t guess that is going to be the last time I see them in entire ride. I couldn’t catch up with Mohan and Aditya.
As per my brevet tradition I’m alone once again. Thoughts stirred my mind, while sleep played with my eyes. Throughout the route, I felt sad about the way this region- Rayalaseema, is portrayed in movies. While riding, I could feel just the pleasantness and beauty. While, in movies it is shown as land filled with goons, swords and bombs ! I hated the way which movies can alter facts and change opinion forever on something !
Somehow, I managed to reach Anantapuram. It was a great relief, as I’m still under my time limits of covering 400 kms within 24 hours. Since I got very hungry once again, I stopped to have Paniyaram ( Pongadalu). I saw Aditya one last time here in the ride ( not sure, where I have crossed him).
Anantapur-Lepakshi : (410-530 km)
With the joy that I’m not lagging very behind, I rode onto the Banglore highway to reach Lepakshi ( U turn point). It is gradually climbing terrain all the way up there. Volunteers – Bharath, Rajeev and Venu sir greeted me
along the way. As it is getting darker, body demanded rest and more sleep.I took occasional naps. I’m not sure if its sodas, I have consumed earlier in the day or if it is the mistake I did now, to consume raw coffee power for being awake – things terribly back fired on me. I felt nauseous. I felt like puking. I tried to empty stomach with a loo , but it too didn’t work out. I was not hungry either.
Yet, since I was warned that getting food further is difficult, I forced my self to have a chapati and packed a couple of them. While resuming from a sleep break, I met Naveen once again. We spoke and rode for sometime. Ride appeared easy with tailwinds supporting me, while I felt it is difficult because of sleep. We took sleep breaks till the time , further which we will not be able to reach control in time. Also since I was not stretching properly all along, my sore muscles were arrested whenever I rested giving me a great trouble whenever I resumed. At times, I had to wake up in same position as I slept, else my legs won’t move and cause a great pain !
In such hard times of never ending climbs, a great joy filled my mind, when I finally took the turn towards Lepakshi. This road is terribly rolling. While stars formed my roof, thick trees formed the walls, I rode in the house of darkness in search of my destin(ation)y. I loved the dogs along the way sleeping without bothering about the cyclists on roads. As a thumb rule of brevet psychology, the more closer we get to a control point, the farther it appears. If not for mile stones, it would have been felt like an eternity.
Finally around 2.30 am I have reached control at Lepakshi. I always wanted to visit ths place, but sad that it turned out to be the odd hour.Bharath welcomed me with a sugandi soda. Since I’m feeling nauseous , I thought soda might help, me clear stomach and the puking feeling. After taking a hot water bath, clearing the stomach, I slept for an hour. Rajeev and Venu sir, woke me up very punctually at time I have mentioned. As soon as I got ready, I vomited soda and banana I have consumed !
Many riders let by now, with just Devinder and Prakash left behind.
Uncertain about how to proceed further as I felt very weak, I carried a couple of bananas and cucumber to move on. I didn’t want to give up. I felt that this ride is the foundation I’m laying for LEL, so I cannot abandon it halfway. With lot of hunger ,yet helpless.. I started pedalling again hoping for a better today.