Link to Day-1 if you have not read it !
Day 2 :
Atit-Lonavala (Cp-4 , 523 km):- After a 30 minute nap, we decided to move. Yet, some laziness in me prompted me to ask for more rest. Mohan is always a man on move. So I asked him to ride. I took one more nap. This second nap is very disturbing. Also I’m waking up, just by the sound of a freewheel, whenever a cyclist is passing by. I hated thought of wasting much more time. I got ready to ride. It was slow, because of sleep. Also I got hungry. I couldn’t swallow sweet items now, so just managed with bananas and a hot tea at Satara. I’m also feeling sad that I’m missing to enjoy moonlight because of sleep. Here I met a group of cyclists, who couldn’t continue to ride further in 600 BRM. ( It was a multi BRM, with 300,600 and 1200 BRM’s). One of them asked how could I manage to ride alone.I just smiled and went ahead.
But thinking over that question, I wondered why should one always stick with someone to ride ? I always enjoy the peace and calmness when I ride alone. If riding bicycle is freedom, riding alone is the next level. I’m not against riding in group but, riding alone is fun and peace in its own way. In a Telugu movie, hero asks someone – ” you are born alone, can’t you jog alone ?” , I want to put it same way.
One goes down to give way for another. Moon is going down on west.
Back on the roads, my goal is to reach Kambatki ghat, which will give me lot of buffer due to descent. I pushed till Surur ( where there was a deviation for Mahabaleshwar, yesterday) and then dragged myself till I descended Khambatki ghat. Some how , I’m not very comfortable with food in that region. The thought of having vada pav for breakfast didn’t sound good to me. I rode till I saw a good hotel. Mohan is already having food there. After refilling tummy with Sambar Idly and discussing about reaching next CP we started riding.
Meanwhile, a small drama happened. Jagadeesh, who is with Anil Uchil at Mahabaleshwar , called me to ask about my whereabouts. I told I’m riding towards Pune. He was surprised saying that, he was informed by Anil that I was DNF . A chill went through my spine. Luckily, it took few more calls to sort the issue, which is name confusion with another rider.
The beautiful sunrise over hill in the morning, turned to blazing heat now. We know until we cross Pune, taking rest will waste time. So we are pushing to the extent we can. A very long down hill at Katraj tunnel lifted our spirits. A good rest to the exhausted legs. I completely enjoyed coasting in that slope. As soon as I entered city, I hated the chaotic traffic. Everything is moving like an excited electron, trying to get bonded,except that reaction will be a disaster in form of accident here, which luckily didn’t happen.
Past 50,60 km I have controlled my feelings to taste Neera, but increasing heat and traffic gave me a good reason to stop at a Neera shop. I gulped three glasses back to back. My taste buds are gratified, so does my mind. Mohan went ahead.
I crossed paths with Chandramouly and Kabir. We three stopped for a quick-lunch at nearly end of Dehu road, where we should take a left to join road to Lonavala again. After a talk and giving good rest to bums, we started at our own pace.
Heat grew much intense now. I wanted have one more neera. I know, too much of anything is not good. I already had 11 galsses of it, but I feel like having one more. it was a game between mind and taste buds. As soon as my mind realised that I may not find neera stores ahead, it gave up giving way for taste buds to score.I had three more glasses. I hated that I’m lost to my senses,but it is invetible.
After that, I started feeling sleepy. In that heat, I didn’t want to stop for a break either. So I just pedalled thinking about last year, when I’m at same location after missing many controls, yet trying to finish the ride. I had a lot of buffer this time. In that dizzy mode, I reached Lonavala control and refilled tummy with a Pista Milk shake. Met Mohan once again.
At exit, we clicked few pictures of valley and moved ahead. Since my thin tires are faster, we had to separate before the Bohr Ghat descent. As it is very steep, I couldn’t enjoy the downhill. All my concentration is on controlling bike from over speeding on steep slopes. 14 minutes for 12 km. I’m at Khopoli again.
To escape from the unbearable heat, I took shelter under a tree. I overloaded tummy with two more glasses of sugarcane juice. It was not necessary at that time, so they started to come out soon.
After some time, I met Mohan again. I felt very dizzy, so I asked him to continue and rested at a bus shelter. I couldn’t sleep. I realised that my mind is looking for excuses to stay off bike. I moved on. I caught up with Chandramouly once again. I couldn’t match his slow pace on Trek Domane (Full carbon) bike. Yet, since I don’t want make any navigation error, I followed his wheels religiously. Traffic pissed us off. After heat, the honking now became unbearable. I couldn’t enjoy the feeling that I have finished the first toughest half. Only sunset over tall buildings eased my mind a little.
At some signals, he waited for me. We saw Anil Uchil on the way, who clarified once again on DNF issue earlier. Pushing through the traffic, we made our way to Mulund again. It took 38.5 hours to ride the first 607 km. It was an exciting momet ,as I couldn’t finish this route earlier.
It was really nice of Chandramouly to guide me till the end. Also he offered me stay at his home before brevet. Thanks for all your help.
I emptied my overloaded tummy at secret spice and reloaded with Pasta. Never a deficit with regards to tummy.
I then went on to McD to pack 3*Aloo tikki for early morning, and a Panneer burger to reload carbs for next half. Drinking a coke after ages gave lot of relaxation to mind. I skipped cool drinks, coffee ,tea since two months before this ride.
At Dream residency (stay arranged by organisers) , I took a shower,lubed the bike, got everything ready for next half and tried to sleep. Mohan already reached here and wad set to rest. Our plan is to start riding by 11 pm.
Alarm did ring at time specified by us, but our bodies tired by riding a lot demanded more rest. When we heard doors being knocked, it was around 12.30 . We got up in hurry and was on bikes in next 10 minutes. 607 km more to wrap up the ride.
Day 3 :
Mumbai -Nashik (CP 6, 758km) -Dhule ( CP7 , 958 km):
As we both started again, we know reaching Nashik ,150 km in 12 hours in not very difficult. Yet, with our own shares of mishaps during brevets and also to ensure that we have enough buffer, we want to reach there as early as possible. Riding after 600 km, our bodies we are not very active, but the rest ensured that our legs were fresh.
Sleep didn’t spare us though. A tea near Thane couldn’t keep us awake. We gave a shot to the best trick that we saved . We spoke ! Spoke till we couldn’t think of speaking anymore, spoke till I lost my throat and couldn’t speak any more. Talking continuously for an hour will definitely keep you awake. I had a Aloo tikki in between,
It was endless up and down till Kasara base. We refilled our tummies to climb the ghat. It was very easy than we expected. I felt terribly sad, thinking about my DNF in this route last year. I thought I will run out of time, I had to climb this and quit after riding 500 kms in a 600 BRM. Damn me. I realised once again that, whatever may be the case, reaching the end point should be only motto for a randonnuer.
The enjoyment of effortless climbing was much intensified with the sunrise, fall colours and the trains that are passing in and out of tunnels. I felt sad that I couldn’t click any of train picture. It was an amazing sight to see train moving in those hills. Ghat is beautiful even in fall. Last time, I was mesmerised with it’s beauty during monsoon. Cycling or not, this ghat is a must visit for every wanderer.
As I rode ahead I wondered about the way nature has arranged itself over different terrains. It was a terribly rolling terrain with slight head winds for last 50 km to Nashik. We took our time. Luckily roads are smooth here, which gave us some comfort. We reached the designated CP, Dwaraka hotel with lot of time to spare. After a lassi and one more aloo tikki, we went ahead as we want to make buffer at Dhule for sleep.
Heat is intensifying. We rode further 30 km and stopped for lunch. Once again, we figured out that thirst is not real but was caused by heat. Drinking too much of water is not a solution. Our eyes found grapes. This region, is famous for them. There atelast 50 shops on either sides of road. Mohan got green one, I brought black. They are very tasty and seedless too ! I wanted to go there once again, just for them.
Just when the temperature was unbearable, we took shelter at a abandoned shop. Yeah, body demands rest as soon as it knows that we crossed half way. I had to obey it’s command. Terrain is nearly flat now. Bearing the heat and greeting the occasional winds , we reached Chandwad. Enjoying the Chandwad descent, we pedalled ahead till Malegaon.
I had most tastiest lassi in my life there. The ice cream that guy added in it was much more delicious. I wished just like hard disk space, we can add more place in belly to accommodate such delicacies.I licked till there is no drop left.
Just with one more tea stop, we pushed using our maximum strength at that time, to reach Dhule as early as possible. Winds were acting crazily. Sometimes, they come from forward, then backwards and sometimes sideways. Just like life they became unpredictable.
A long downhill guided us toward Dhule. I’m very eager to reach Dhule as control point is Gurudwara. I have never visited one before nor stayed inside its premises. Though, I know that with this attire and all sweat, mud one cannot go inside, yet I felt delighted just with thought of going to a holy place.
I headed to Langar ( free food offered at Gurudwara) as soon as I reached there. The rotis and sabji ( curry) were delicious and filled tummy. Though it felt tiresome to wash plate after eating, it served as a great exercise to fingers which were held in same position for long time.
After the call I realised that , my neck is paining if I’m standing straight. I got worried a little, but then felt that sleep will solve it. It was not solved even after a 2 hour sleep, yet I felt it was alright to move. Mohan and me started again for my first ever epic journey.
A special note : If you are riding beyond 200 Km,depending upon sweat levels, it will be really helpful if private areas are cleaned once for every 200-250 km. Using a base layer and this cleaning helped me stay away from chaffing which used trouble me after 400 km usually. There was little, but not much. Especially the region around anus is absolutely free of any chaffing, that has let me pedal with much happiness.
Read Day-4 here