Dhule-Nashik (Cp 8, 1064 km)-Mumbai (End CP 1214 Km) :
Just as to take away the chance of bragging this as a perfect ride, Mohan got a puncture as soon as we started. It was unusual, but it took a lot of time for us to fix. Also, this was his first puncture since past three years in Brevets. Another reason to love brevets. They always give you a surprise. One should always be ready to face such any situation. Buffer time always helps.Later we are on move, except when we were very exhausted. Dry fruit bars and grapes kept me going without much hunger and trouble.It was not at all cold. We are managing without any warmers. Just like the previous day, we want wrap up the climb before it gets hotter. We sailed through the rolling terrains. As we are discussing about climb, I mentioned that it may appear long , as I have climbed it in dark and a heavy rain last time. Mohan hinted that it is not as long as it appears. This is the last big climb in the route. So I pushed myself to see if I can climb faster. I did. With a little additional effort, I did climb with ease as well as fast. I rode till I have reached Chandwad town.
I crossed thousand kilometers. There was not much traffic now, It was pleasant. I’m beyond a 1000 Km for fourth time. I could feel the calmness in my mind and happiness, endless rush of excitement in my blood flow. I want to mash-up the gears and just wrap the ride real quick, but then I want to do it easy and slow to enjoy the Brevet. I waited for Mohan. After sometime, I got a call that he is having breakfast and asked me if I could join. I didn’t want to go back, so I went ahead. I stopped at a dhaba few kilometers ahead.
Beyond 1000, I felt like I should get all the royal treatment. So I stopped at an empty dhaba, chosen a empty cot and sat like as if I owned it. I ordered a sandwich and a Poha. At the end, I topped them with a Pepsi. I gave a lot of rest to my bums, body. I savoured every spoon of Poha, as if I’m having it for first time. My mind is already in joy that I’m just 190 km short of celebrations. I enjoyed riding in this zone past 1000 till next CP very much. I have never experienced such calmness in my mind.
Mohan joined me once again. We rode nearly non stop till Pimpalgaon ( stopped for some pics and to escape from heat). At Ojhar, Mohan had a flat again. What’s with his Monster bike ?!!! which never gave trouble. Since there are puncture shops around and CP at Nashik is just 15 km away, I decided to move ahead.
Some pose with bike, ahead of Nashik.
With every pedal, I’m getting much happier thinking about the finish. Within no time, I reached Nashik. Mohan joined few minutes later. Heat started to intensify now. After lubing the butt, one more Poha , butter milk and we both are off.
With Manageable winds, we decided that we should stop at Kasara top for few pics and then only at Asangaon ( 50 kms before start). Heat is again getting beyond ,what we can bear. But taking rest is also not an option, keeping the traffic in mind which might slow us at the end. We pushed. We got more and more thirsty as we rode. We countered it by chewing sugar candies. Having food on roadside dhaba at Pune on Day-1, scared us to try food at not very decent places. We waited till we reached Kamat hotel. I feasted on a curd rice, while Mohan had a Thali. After eating and then drinking a sprite, I had around 10 small glasses of lemonade with lot of salt in it. The level of heat outside can be understood ! Yet there is some more space in my tummy for one more glass. When lemons on table were finished and spent around an hour inside hotel to escape heat ,we moved in that heavily rolling terrain once again. At Kasara, we posed for few pics and then I went ahead. I informed Mohan that I will stop at Asangaon.
I love the Kasara downhill, it is not very steep. Yet, one can gain maximum speed without much effort. Also it is very safe. 10-15 Kms were finished in a flash. That terrain started teasing us once again. Very long uphills followed by steep downhills. Burning heat made me feel very weak and exhausted. The fight was on – Me or Sun ? I’m in no mood to rest nor he was in no mood to cool down. I got an upper hand, though not very strongly. I rode till Asangaon. Mohan was here once again.
Last time when I was DNF in this route, while roaming for a place to shower, I found a hotel (Parivar garden, beside Food hub) with a Recliner sofa massage. Then it relieved me from pain of riding 500 km. This is one of my motivations to come a long way in this ride. To have a massage at that place after 1150 km without any tension is one of my goal before the ride. I’m happy that I fulfilled it. We both enjoyed two sessions of a 6 minute massage in that sofa/chair. I refilled my tummy with a sambar Idly for last stretch.I relished on a tasty coffee. Coffee after two months tasted really great. Just 60 km approximately and we are there. I was happy, I want to wrap up things happily.
That moment was very short-lived. As soon as we were back on roads,I was awaken by the harsh honking of motor vehicles and thrown aside by fast moving vehicles. I got pissed off. Mohan wanted to wrap up ride quick, so he is not stopping. Traffic is making me very very angry. I lost all the feeling that I rode around 1170 km. I want to just reach the end point and never ride in this mad rush again. I want to carry an EMP and disable all honking with just a click. I wanted to even break every windshield and teach every driver, proper sense of driving and honking. Alas, I’m just a cyclist ! All this time, Mohan is riding at a super pace.
After much frustration, we took one final break to ride towards Mulund. There are atleast five traffic jams as we entered last 5 km. I even pointed middle finger at a senseless driver honking at me ,while I was struck in traffic jam.
Last two km…. last km. We reached. Secret spice restaurant. The end point of an exhausting and a really long ride. 1224 km as strava showed it. A ride which I thought that I would never complete, a ride in which I couldn’t finish both halves within time. A ride which I will cherish for a long time. I’m very much elated. After a sad and neck to neck finish at 1000 few days ago and then finishing a 1200 now with around 7000 metres of climbing with 2 hour 40 minute buffer is a great achievement for me. I have to still admit that headwinds are really in our favour, else our life would have been much more miserable.
Post ride, Mohan left soon. Chirag, other finisher also left after sometime. We are now waiting for the last two riders Lara and Siddarth. Myslef, Anil Uchil and Rajesh discussed a lot of things. I ordered a Cheese fondue. A couple of hours later Sid and Lara showed up. Lara is second woman in India to finish a 1200 BRM. We then spent an hour talking about everything.
Later everyone departed in their own ways. At railway station, since my train is at 6.50 am, I had to be awake atleast till 4.30 am to book my cycle under luggage. I tried to be awake,but after riding 1200 km and not riding anymore body was reluctant to be awake. I slept with many ,on floor outside railway station. I waited for clock to go past 4.25. Finally, after handing over bike at luggage office, I had a good one hour nap at retiring room. I made sure that I catch train without missing. In train, I slept all along journey eating almost everything, that passed me. I couldn’t avoid thinking about the roads I have just travelled. Also in my heart I’m much confident about attempting LEL -17 (London-Edinburgh- London)now.
In Hyderabad, as bags were heavy, I brought bike in auto to home. I then met two sparkling eyes, waiting to meet me past six days. We smiled at each other, we rejoiced at my achievement and then we were lost time.
Post ride, even after a week there is some lower back pain, which is still hurting me. Neck pain is not completely eased off. I’m just waiting as time may heal. If they pesrsist for one more week, I have to visit a physio.
Though there is not much chaffing during ride, but post ride – there was lot of itching between the bums, for which I’m applying candid dusting powder. Rest of my body is fine.