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1000 kms on the bike - Part III (The Dream Came True)

Posted by Vikramsinh at Sunday, August 11, 2013

John Bingham says, “ The miracle is not that I finished the race, the miracle is that I had the courage to start”. Let us therefore sign up and get cracking. And what if I don’t finish this year ? Well, how will I know until I try ?

“You never know how tall you are
Until you’re asked to rise
And then if you are true to plan
Your stature touches the sky”

Back ward Tracing !
It was dark and cold night, road traffic was moving on the national highway. I saw less traffic on the road due to odd timing, and moon was illuminated to its full capacity. I could see all the trees , farms, small huts, civil structures on both sides of the road. Riding in the night was bit relaxed and easy .. moon light was helpful and different shapes of tree were creating illusions of actual living beings. Clouds were strangely attractive with gold, silver, or any other colored designs. Only time when I enjoyed night riding. I was feeling tired and sleepy but also need to reach next control. I took short stops and naps for 10 minutes at the road side. But I was not able to sleep as traffic on the road was too noisy for serene and peaceful night. Just rested and ate few items from backpack. I slowly rode towards Hubali, suddenly rain started after 40kms, I was searching for good place for sleeping. I found one dhaba where 2 small boys were preparing tea , 4 o’clock in the morning. I stopped and asked for tea, boy looked friendly after talking to him, I told all the things about my ride and asked if I can sleep for some time. He was happy to help , I had tea and slept on bamboo bed. No alarm set, I was wearing jacket but feeling cold. Sleep overtook and body felt good as it got some rest.
Woke up at 5.10AM, 23rd June 2013 Saturday, 1 hour sleep and I felt bit fresh, one more tea, bottles refilled and I was ready to go. I thanked him and left.. it was bit difficult to walk in the mud on the road side. Soon I was feeling heavy stomach and searched for suitable place. One more dhaba, place to stop, searched for toilet and found one in good condition, relief for stomach. I had paper soaps handy for such situations. Again started riding with dawn spreading light over the Earth. Kept eating roti, chikki, almonds, kismis etc. Somehow I lost track of time and mis calculated the distance to reach Hubali. I was going at good pace so thought it near. As I was constantly thinking of missed dinner last night and cautious about eating, I stopped for breakfast at Kamat. I dried my shoes by stuffing news paper in it and had 4 idlees. There I saw one watch on the wall which indicated that I was in trouble, 6.35 AM. I asked waiter how much distance I have to cover to reach Hubali and he said 40kms , time remaining – 1.5 hours , though distance and time were proportionate in normal conditions , I saw it was posing me challenge as I already covered 570kms. I hurriedly ate and left within 5 minutes ..6.40 AM .

Here started race against time, I increased pace and pushing higher gears. My training was paying well , I felt strong on climbs. Weather was clean, no rain and sun was out. This made some positive changes in mind and how I was feeling. Soon after one toll booth I saw one rider ahead ..I already lost hope to meet one, and my mind was dancing in rainbow of happiness. I pedaled fast to reach him and talked, Ashok provided me valuable information about location of other riders, distance to cover and time limits. He also told about few events from his journey. We need to move fast, I suggested him to follow my wheel, he was on hybrid bike. He suggested me to go ahead and catch Snadeep who was riding 2 kms ahead. I wanted to ensure I was following correct route as mentioned in the cue sheet, and didn’t want to waste time in asking people for directions. Entering in Hubali was tricky, we need to navigate through some of the twisting roads which I skipped while I was passing through same city. The known route for me was 10kms longer than cue sheet, with tight time lines I couldn’t afford to ride extra miles and still make it to the control in time. So I increased speed to 30+ and zoomed on climbs. I was sure to catch up Sandeep as there were multiple climbs on the way and I was climbing fast. After few ups and downs I saw Sandeep and relaxed my pace as I need to ride with him for directions. I also saw big truck lying in the trench close to road, might have toppled in the night. Slowly I closed down the gap, and had good conversation for almost 10 kms to the control, He was riding at steady pace and was looking fresh. Last few kms were bumpy , road conditions were not good. Sandeep told me that there are 2 more riders other than Ashok riding behind, Kalpesh and Sohan. Sohan had crash at the long speed breaker. Kalpesh was riding on MTB with broad tires. I imagined the efforts required to ride such long distance on MTB.

Once we reached at control, we swiped our cards and collected slip. We were relaxed as time on the slip was showing that we reached control 15-20 minutes before closing time. We went to Kamat and ordered breakfast. While talking to Sandeep I came to know many stories of other riders. Total 21 riders started and currently 6 were on the road.

Story1- Deepak got problems with his bike derailleur. Broken pulley from derailleur and he tried to convert it into single speed but not able to do so as chain length was not fitting well. Fortunately he had one extra chain which he used to convert his bike to single speed. He rode almost 450kms with this with Raman. What a courage and efforts. He also fell down on the same long speed breaker. The same truck which I saw lying in the trench brushed him previous night, he rode ahead and didn’t looked back. Due to missing time limits for next control both quit.

Story2- Ashok and Kalpesh reached the control ATM only 1 minute to spare. This was very close and when they reached to ATM it tossed same error to them, “this card is unauthorized”, Sandeep called chiddu and asked if he can take photograph as evidence and he said yes. I imagined the last minute rush to control .. it was so close.

Story3- Karthikeyan was riding continuously without sleep, He reached Belgaum (510kms – 28hours) at 8PM , he was riding on MTB, it was tremendous show of strength and determination.

Soon Ashok and Kalpesh arrived and able to get ATM slips within time limits, this time not 1 minute rush but ..still not much cushion , only 6-8 minutes. Now we were more relaxed as remaining 400kms we need to complete in 35 hours compared to first 600kms which we completed in 40hours. We had good breakfast and talked about next plans of riding and sleeping. I thought to sleep for 3-4 hours at some hotel or so. I was feeling fresh, called parents, friends and left alone. Others were taking time for food etc, Sohan missed the control, I felt bad, it was unfortunate.
Once out on the road my knee was bit painful not to the extent to stop me but tingling. More painful I felt about my bum and stopped now and then to apply Vaseline but it pain was not alleviating. As I didn’t find any hotel soon, I decided to sleep under tree, bit away from road to avoid traffic noise. Road was muddy and full of grass in all directions. It was amazing place to sleep after so many hours of riding. Slept at 11 AM and set alarm for 1 PM , again sleep overtook all the senses. I woke without any alarm noise and checked time in mobile thinking that I didn’t hear alarm, to my surprise it was only 12 PM , felt fresh and energetic. So I started again..

Now again same stretch arrived where I slogged fighting with head winds while going towards Belgaum. Monotonous riding with nothing much on the way . Difficult to find restaurants. I found one and hopped inside to have good lunch. Outside rain started again and luxury of riding in sun was gone. I rode at bit slow speed so as to keep my shoes dry. Nothing much happened for next 2 hours. Around 5 PM , I again stopped for meal . Need to be very careful about food and water. After eating I felt it’s time to use washroom.
Once again I was back on the road, bum was painful beyond imagination. Again stopped on and off to apply Vaseline. Also put my spare shorts upside down over the original short I was wearing. Bit of relief but not to make me comfortable. By 6 PM I was able to reach 700kms mark. My frequency of stops increased, at one of my stops – 2 mobikeres stopped to ask about my journey. One of them was more enthusiastic and excited to learn about me. He asked about the Prize money, I told more details. He said.. “hey come on , sit on the mo-bike, I will give you lift for 5kms “. I politely refused and started again.
One stop for water and next for food at 9PM . I was careful as my roties were over so I had to depend on Dhabas. I talked to boy at Dhaba who was very energetic in serving the food. I had dal rice, 2 cup of coffees to keep me awake. Boy said one of the riders went ahead 30minutes back. By description I figured out he was talking about Ashok. I was feeling bit tense, I need to reach next control by 2 AM, 50 kms to go and sleep was making me dizzy. I stopped multiple times, tried to sleep at the road side but traffic noise was worse. Slowly I felt good, and moon was out to light my way. Reached chitradurga control at 12.30AM . Bought 6 bananas , 4 in back pockets. Started again. By this time I rode 800kms and almost realized my goal. Next few kms were painful for bum. I stopped few times to search for place to sleep. At one small dhaba/shop or whatever you can say it . I found bamboo bed and people sleeping. As soon as I stopped riding, I felt cold, I slept with 3layers, one short sleeve jersey, next was full hand T-shirt, and then rain jacket , it was 3 AM and plenty of time to reach Bangalore.

Woke up at 5AM , Sunday 24th June 2013, last day of my ride. Started riding and met Sandeep,Kalpesh on the way. They were riding together for most of the returning distance. We talked lot, had good time as sun came out. I stopped for early morning washroom break. Again rode alone and soon closed the gap to reach them. Breakfast at Sira, Kamat gave me energy to ride ahead. I put 4 bananas in back pocket and I was ready to go. 9AM and 900+ kms and I was feeling fresh. Maximum time for completion was 7PM but I didn’t want to stop now, If I reach before 2 PM them I would able to complete the ride sub 70 hours. Again race against time, I rode with high pace pushing bigger gears , By this time bum pain was alleviated but now Achilles tendon got painful, pain above the heel was not stopping me but it was there, rode last 100kms with medium severity pain, I was very happy to see many riders on the way. Because 5 brevets (200,300,400,600,1000kms) were planned on the same route in such a manner that each would going to terminate at same time (7PM on Sunday) and place. Now last 100kms were fast as I wanted to finish this ride as soon as possible, go home and take shower. I was feeling fresh and no sleep in eyes. Stretch was full of uphills and I enjoyed it. Last 15kms though the city was full of traffic, but I was thinking only about finish. I reached at last control ATM and to my surprise it was 1.30PM , wooohooo .. I was basking in the glory.

Total time - 69hr 32min
On bike - 47hr 25min
Off bike - 22hr 7min
Total Sleep - 6hr 30min

Finally this long long long journey came to end. We met lot of riders at CCD, had sumptuous lunch and lot of phone calls, happy smiles, photos, everyone was wishing us for great achievement. Karthikeyan joined after some time as he rode 1000 and 200 km brevets back to back with same time limit as 1000kms on MTB what a piece of unbelievable achievement. We shared Happy moments.. and celebrations. I felt fresh and happy as I rode back to my friends place which was 25 kms away from the finishing point…
Five finishers from left - Vikram (me), Sandeep, Kalpesh, Ashok, Karthikeyan

After Thoughts
Finally mind was at peace, I was able to finish the incomplete task on my list..and relived through emotional moments. I also realized the importance of training and thought how ill prepared I was when first time I participated in Paris-Brest-Paris (2011) and failed, I didn't get proper guidance from other riders at that time and was new to understand the whole body dynamics. It was carrying big misconception that if I rest more, I will able to save my energy for ride at that time, this is only true in the last week where you taper your workouts. Otherwise you need to ride consistently as per training plan. (I earlier mentioned my plan in the first part of this story). Training is the most important thing to prepare your body for arduous efforts and pain. After that mechanicals, equipments, food, hydration follows. Riding such a long distance with so many variables needs lots of training/preparations in right direction, if you disrespect the distance/climbs/weather or think it’s easy then you will face consequences. Not many people can do it on this earth and I felt really lucky that I was able to finish it with elan. Countless people helped me and I will always be grateful to all of them.  It was life time experience and will cherish the memories for all my life. With this thought I started to read next item on my wish list … :-)

1000 kms on the bike - Part II (One way till Belgaum)

Posted by Vikramsinh at

The D-day ..
As soon as clock shows that its 4 o’clock, it started raining. What we feared for so long.. rain arrived at very start .. It was first challenge. I fumbled to put on my raincoat, while I was finding my raingear in the backpack, all the riders left and it was terrible condition. Not knowing any of twisting roads and no one to guide you. As I was new to Bangalore, I planned to follow other riders for at least for first 30kms, And here riders were leaving .. I was bit scared and hurried put on my jacket, jumped on bike, cleated my shoes and zooooommmm.
Soon my anxiety was over as I saw colorful reflective jackets, helmets ahead ..on the signal. My mind screamed I come .. I got merged with other riders. Relentless rain creating havocs on the road, traffic got moving at pace of ants. We rode through .. muddy water, gravels, mud, potholes etc. finding paths to go from where ever possible … through inches of space . I saw Deepak stopped at road side, he was looking for me , we started again. Once we are out of the city , on the national highway, it felt like breathing in free air. 30 kms on, Deepak and Raman stopped for pee break, so I thought I can stop and ride along with them, I had one roti and started again. I was looking for anyone who can ride along, cause this ride is going to be endless. Deepak and I rode for few kms, stopping couple of times. He suggested me to ride with Raman and I followed him. Rain was not stopping, visibility was low and we were determined to ride .. in any condition. Once I started riding at bit higher pace, one by one I met riders , Ashok , Sandeep . On the downhill I tried to dry my shoes by removing foot out of shoes .. while riding. It worked to some extent . Then I met with Pradeep, a rider from Bangalore and we rode together discussing few things. At the toll, we stopped and I dried my shoes by putting news paper inside. Ashok arrived , few guys went ahead. We started soon and then I met good bunch of riders. It was dark now and head lights were on, though I didn’t ge chance to put my head lights. I was riding behind other people and light was enough to see the road. On this stretch I met to Aman who was riding at good speed we talked, he suggested to ride in streamline to fight with strong headwinds, so almost 100kms mark we rode together with good pace. At Sira we had our dinner, refilled water bottles with electral, I also mounted head lights. This is where I also met to Kartikeyan who rode 1200kms in 73 hours (same time limits as for 1000kms as per Brevet rules ) for the first and last time. Aman was staying for more time so I started alone in the dark and continuously looking for riders for the company. While I was riding alone in the dark .. I was thinking about many things .. and these lines flashed in my mind ..

"Eat before you are hungry.
Drink before you are thirsty.
Rest before you are tired.
Cover up before you are cold.
Peel off before you are hot.
Don't drink or smoke on tour.
Never ride just to prove yourself."
Paul de Vivie, aka Velocio

It’s very important for body to be fuelled for all the time. I kept eating and drinking good quantities of water. Later I saw blinking red lights at long distance. I was happy to see the riders, I increased pace to catch them, after some time I succeeded. I tried to ride with them and had few words. Along the way nothing was visible except the road. We rode with monotonous rhythm. Small town on the way.. we caught the opportunity to stop and had hot tea, refilled bottles added electral. When we were back on the road, others rode on side road while I opted for highway hence again I was alone. When riding alone it was monotonous and traffic was moving fast on the highway. I was now waiting for 200 kms mark where we had first control point, Chitradurga. Once I crossed the hill, I saw the city but now finding the ATM was task. I started to looking at cue sheet and was confused to in which direction I should go. So I wait for others to come. Rajani came, I followed him inside the city. All was pretty standstill, except few people on the road and couple of dogs roaming around. Meanwhile Sandeep and pradeep joined us. It was 2.30 AM in the night, We found axis bank ATM , swiped our cards, got the ATM slip and ready to go. Sandeep suggested to eat something at bus stand. It was busy place even in the night, as soon as we entered in to the bus stand many curious people gathered to see our bikes. We tried to keep low profile and ate. People asked from where we came , where are we going, what is the price of bike, how lights are working and umpteen of questions.. and bus conductor didn’t like our presence with bikes. He asked to keep our bikes outside and then to eat whatever we want. We ignored him to quickly pack our stuff and go. I put 4 bananas in back pocket, my full hand shirt was wet so I changed to dry jersey which I kept for return journey. Rain jacket proved very helpful in heavy rain. Rajani was contemplating to sleep so I left along with Sandeep.
Once on the road, it was dark and again monotony crept in to the mind. Not much happening, no scenery to see, only the patch of road where our headlights were illumination the surface of earth was visible. I felt cold and rain was intermittent. We rode till 4.30AM, reached at 240kms mark , stopped at toll booth. I was feeling cold and sleepy so I asked sandeep to ride ahead. I had 2 cups of hot tea. Removed my shoes , gloves and tried to sleep in the chair. Half an hour of nap and it was not good, I kept waking up in between.

Day 2 – Unhappy Wind God
At 5.15 I started again with pretty cold in the early morning, red colour spread on the eastern horizon. I rode fast for some time but then started feeling sleepy on and off. Through out the journey I was constantly looking for other riders … but now luck stared turning its other face . Suddenly I saw someone sleeping on the roadside .. Sandeep probably. Road looked endless and boredom was shadowed my mind. I was not knowing this was going to be tough. Slowly we were entered in the wind gods territory, whole flat region spread across the horizon. Nowhere to hide from the strong winds. Simple flat roads become difficult to cross, you have to put your head down and push .. nothing else. Keep pedalling .keep pedalling .. and nothing other than pedalling.
One quick stop for sleep at roadside for 20mins, and bum pain surfaced back which I felt in 500km practice ride. I was near 300kms mark , it was around 11AM , I saw Sandeep again and felt good but it was short. He wanted to stop for breakfast and I was planning for minimum off bike time. Once again I was alone on the roads .. with all consuming relentless winds and intermittent rains. It was simply frustrating when you are pushing pedals with all your power and not getting anywhere. No place for food or water .. I kept riding.
My time calculations were crumbling as collapsing house of cards.. similar way how domino effect makes whole cards to collapse one by one. I was calculating about 200kms for every 10hours for first 600 kms and 12 hours for each 200kms remaining. This was tough time .. testing your determination , persistence , mind control more than physical efforts. Soon I started to questioning the very existence of purpose of this ride. Questioning mental strength and physical challenges .. at the end passion won over all the other things. I persisted and kept going.. crawling in the strong wind, bit hungry and thirsty looking for restaurants along the way. I found one dhaba and my eyes sparkled. When I reached near entrance and parked my bike, people gather around and started questioning .. same story goes .. this time people hurled funny questions .. iske anadar motor bithai hai kya ? motor pe chalati hai kya ..motor pe ? ( did you fit motor inside ? does it run on motor?) … tires are tubeless ? (pointing to water bottles) what’s in there? can I ride the bike for small distance .. I was patiently answered all the questions but diplomatically refused for bike ride saying its difficult to ride without cleats. After all this Q&A session I settled in the chair. It was around 1PM . I had full lunch and unsuccessfully searched for toilet. Started again .. with angry wind God.
Whole stretch was monotonous and no rider for company, now distance covered neared to 360kms and possibility of meeting any rider become distant dream. My lonely training helped lot in this difficult times. After riding for 2.5 hours in wind with frustrating speed, I reached next control at 410kms, Hubali , 4 pm in the clock. Moving inside the city was quite tricky , roads were full of traffic and no space available for free movement. Reading cue sheet and finding the exact way was pain , at every turn I had to stop and ask people for directions, this was so consuming that I opted longer but known route for getting out of city . I traversed same route and went back to the point from which I entered the city. It added extra 10 kms and now my speedo was showing extra 20kms compared to cure sheet. This consumed the time cushion I had created , now 100kms from Belgaum , I need to reach there by 2 AM. Once darkness started to cover all horizons wind disappeared and rain took its place. Climbs started to come and go, whole course of this stretch was up and down. I felt good as I always enjoyed climbing.
Feeling bit cold as I was wet in the rain, I stopped intermittently. After 450 kms mark I thought to call parents to tell them about my journey. Also messaged to Chiddu about my location. It was around 8.30pm, I was thinking about dinner but didn’t find any good restaurant. Also time was elapsing very fast and I was anxious about reaching the next control. At one place I saw speed breaker.. my speed was slow so I managed to cross it safely. It was very dangerous due to its length. Later I came to know some of the riders fell down at the same place.
Slowly I was nearing to Belgaum , I skipped dinner but kept eating roties after certain time period. Lonely ride in the darkness and mind was only focused on reaching next control. But road was endless, I climbed couple of steep hills and my head lights were bleak. Now Belgaum was very near so I thought to change the batteries after reaching to the city. I climbed down and reached in the city, again same story of asking people about directions. First ATM refused to identify my card, it said “this card is not authorized” I hurried searched for alternate ATM near bus stand. There I saw 2 machines, first machine also displayed error and no receipt for me. Now I was running out of options, last machine and I was thinking about calling chiddu . I tried last and it sent out slip … yieee …
Now I was again thinking about dinner, it was 12.30pm, I went to bus stand. Once again all people gathered around and so many questions .. where are you going , how many people are riding, when did you start , where are you from , what is the purpose , what is the prize money, how those lights work , switch on the lights. It was bit scary as I sensed some of them were drunk. I quickly ate and refilled water bottles and left. Once out of the city I tried to change the batteries of the head lights ..but alas as I replaced old batteries and tried to switch on lights .. it refused to light up. It was frustrating , riding without light in the dark was almost impossible and I need to reach next control by 8.30 AM. Soon I realized that I have to ride without original head lights. I was prepared for this situation with one back up light , so mounted it on handle bar and started again . The new head light was not much powerful but it was enough to show me the road. Again all cold night and monotonous road with rain. I started riding back towards Hubali , 2AM in the clock 530kms on the speedo, 510 kms as per cue sheet… journey goes on ..

...To Be Continued.

1000 kms On the Bike - Part I (Until the D-Day)

Posted by Vikramsinh at

"Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. The relationship between the soundness of the body and the activities of the mind is subtle and complex. Much is not yet understood. But we do know what the Greeks knew: that intelligence and skill can only function at the peak of their capacity when the body is healthy and strong; that hardy spirits and tough minds usually inhabit sound gods. "
-          John F. Kennedy

Behind the Curtains !!
The distance, 1000kms .. creates such a formidable picture in my mind, I never even imagined in my wildest dreams that one day I could ride this distance on my bike with all the rain, wind, cold weather, riding day and night without any support.
The origin of riding 1000kms (Bangalore- Belgaum-Bangalore) lies in the accident happened to me 2 years back when I had short term memory loss. I still don't know how accident happened or how I fell down during 1000km Brevet on the same route in June 2011. So I just wanted to go back and complete the unfinished work.
Once I decided to go for the ride in Bangalore, there comes lots of preparations. I started training at least 1 month before the event. Ride date - 20th June 2013, I searched for riders who were willing to do this ride. I didn't find people from my city immediately, and when they responded it was pretty late. I got in touch with people from other cities who were interested in riding and decided on plans. My training was ready

weekly 5-6 ride each varying from 60-120 kms
1 tempo ride -80-100kms
1 Hard ride - 8-10 hill repeats – 70-90kms
1 Easy recovery ride – 60kms
1 long ride on weekend – 130 +kms
1 long ride - 500kms .. 10 days before the actual ride
1 week before the ride - taper the workouts

Big Training Ride
As per plan, I need to ride 60-100kms for each ride, 150+kms ride 2 weeks prior to event, 500kms ride 10 days prior to the event and tapering of workouts for last 8days, reach Bangalore 2 days prior to the event. Get lots of carbohydrates in the last week. So I was planning 500kms ride, pune-kolhapur-Pune on 8th(Sat) and 9th(Sun) June. The ride target was 24-26 hours, riding alone for long hours was boring, to avoid that I thought to ride with Sumit. But he got busy with some work which rendered no other option but ride alone. As I trained alone all the time, it was not big blow for the plan.

8th June (Saturday) - early morning 5 am
Weather was pleasant, no rains, cool temperatures, less traffic on national highway. First 120kms were fast including 2 climbs and 10 minutes break for eating, consumed 4 hours. Along the road met with few people who were riding their own ride. I saw people in khambatki climb (4 kms climbing) who were heading towards Goa on their MTBs. I wished to ride with them but their pace was way too slow for my expected time lines. So I had few words with them went ahead. At the top of khambataki climb I saw Sanjay who along with his 2 buddies riding in same direction, I crossed and waved at them. Once I was climbed down, 10-15 speedy kms, sun was hot and first flat for my rear tire. Stopped at the road side and removed tire , tube. Small piece of thin steel wire was protruding from the tube.. fixed the puncture and put back all things in place , sun was scorching and my hands felt burning sensation. I checked the air pressure and thought I should put some more .. there was no support for the bike to stay in standing position . I tried to fill some air and it was not inflating the tire. I tried to move my hand pump and boomm ... the pump detached from the place breaking the valve.. with tip of valve inside the pumps front part. I cursed my decision for pushing more air.. That's when I saw Sanjay and his partners zoomed ahead. I was burning in hot weather. Again I put down all things, removed tire tube and this time replaced old tube with new one. Now I only remained with one more extra tube in the saddle bag and instructing myself this should be handled with care, lost at least 45 minutes and momentum also. I lost the rhythm, now ugly thoughts started to gather into mind. I was contemplating about the cutting this ride and go back to home .. but somehow I persisted and went ahead. As air pressure was not up to the required limit (110 psi), I felt myself dragging. The hand pump was able to inflate tires to 80 psi pressure. I rode with low pressure for rest of the ride which means at slower speed and with constant fear for punctures.

Next stop was at Satara, I was running out of water and only shops available were in next city. I refilled water and ate last banana in my back pocket. Till this time I ate 4 bananas and time was almost 5 hours and 135 kms. Now I was feeling bit energetic and willing to go as per the plan.
When I was about to leave the shop where I refilled water, shopkeeper asked me to take my bag which was lying on the chair. Had he not mentioned it, I would have landed in coming back for my bag or worst case it goes missing. Thanks to the shopkeeper for reminding me. Again I started ride with good pace and here comes rain ..not very heavy , so I kept riding.
Around 200kms mark I was hungry and stopped for lunch, total 8.30 hours and 7 hours on bike. When I entered the restaurant, waiter inside was confused/surprised by seeing my appearance, maybe he was not expecting someone like this in the rain. I put my bike just at the entrance so that it can be visible , waiter was not happy and wanted to put it in parking area but I insisted and kept at same place. Lunch done, bags packed and I left by 2 pm. not much happened for next 40kms except intermittent rain but as I neared Kolhapur, winds were crazy finally I cut short my ride by 10kms and turned back at 240kms mark. Kept eating all the time, chikki, banana etc. around 5 pm stopped for snacks, misal and rain was not giving any respite. 6pm 310kms stopped at the road side and took some rest as I was feeling tired, and bit soar bum, applied Vaseline, talked to dad, friend and messaged my where about. Started again and sun goes down, now I was riding in the dark and rain, boredom started to overshadow my mind . I switched on the lights, put reflective jacket. As my hometown was next destination for food/water, I kept riding in the hope to reach Satara as early as possible. Met couple of mo-bikers who asked me about my ride and astonished when they came to know about details. Some people offered help which I politely denied. Some people suggested not to ride, and iterated list of woes my parents might went through due to my crazy riding. It was all mixture of people, positive negative, hopeful, encouraging, curious, surprised, discouraging..and so on
Finally I reached to Satara, I was all drenched and bum was painful. I was not willing to ride further, it was very cozy feeling that your home is just 2 kms away when you are soaked and feeling cold. I ate full dinner, and changed my plan to ride further. Parents were happy to see me at home, 340kms by 9pm. I slept in warm blanket and enjoyed 7 hours of sleep.
Next day woke up at 5am and ready to ride by 6am, riding with slowed the pace. After 40kms pit - stop for the breakfast, had chocolate bars, idlee sambar, wada sambar. Next journey for 60kms was slow, lonely, with drizzling rain. When I reached Katraj tunnel I saw lots of traffic which I always hate, I rode through pool of cars , trucks and many other vehicles to reach the fork for new and old highways. Police on the road were diverting all the traffic towards old highway road and not allowing anyone to go further on new highway. I was unaware of all the events happened prior to reaching there. Somehow I managed to pass those barriers and I was alone on the new highway road, I went through the tunnel where lots of construction work was going on, I carefully rode through all the barricades in the tunnel and came out safely. Going downhill was an easy part..empty road without any vehicle, I guessed some part of tunnel might be got damaged due to rains. Last stretch was fast as I was eagerly waiting for my last stop. Reached home, had hot water bath, and I was as fresh as I was woke up from good night’s sleep. Later I came to know about the incident happened in new tunnel, 3 days back tunnel got over flooded with water, all the vehicles inside the tunnel were floating in the water. Few people injured and one lady along with her child lost their lives. I was bit nervous listening to this news. Now event was 10 days ahead so I started my final preparations.

Transition Training --> D-day
As I got bit of experience of riding in rain and problems I might face in those conditions, I prepared myself with preventive action list. This included new light weight rain jacket, carrying extra pair of shorts and jersey, good lights, back up lights, extra tubes, saddle bag, Schrader to Presta valve convertor. Though I was not prepared for bigger problems like broken chain/spoke or any gearing problems, luckily I didn't face those in the ride.
5days for the event, I had broken spokes while riding, I came to home and after that my riding almost stopped till event day. Got serviced my bike, spokes fixed, new rain gear, tires, tubes. Ready with all the required things, food, cloths, my tickets, bike, helmet, lights, batteries and I don’t know n numbers of things. On Tuesday 18th, I left Pune in the evening to reach Bangalore on Wednesday. Got roti with jaggery stuffed inside for the ride, This was very helpful for eating on the bike. I didn’t feel hungry anywhere as I kept eating small chunks of roties along the whole journey. Once I reached Bangalore, I found my friends place 10kms from MG road which was actual starting point for the ride. Wednesday went well and I bought Schrader to Presta converter for me and chain tool for Deepak. I was searching for shoe covers which would have saved my shoes from the rain but I didn't get it. I was rested for all the time, I left the place at around 2pm as start time was nearing fast, I had to reach to MG road by 3pm, with 1 hour cushion. I reached the starting point and found no one from official organisers. Soon people started arriving and all sorts of talks about cycling, racing, riding, RAAM, weather, equipments, shoes, rain gears, food started to echo in the air. Whole atmosphere was very energetic and encouraging. Deepak reached CCD after some time, I handed him chain tool and we talked about ride, weather. Arun who came from Pune was also there, we met other riders and organizing committee members. We got Brevet card, cue sheet, route map and no need to fill any forms, all things were printed on the card. I expected no rain and thinking of riding without rain jacket. As needles neared to 4 o'clock, we were ready for the start but alas .. as soon as clock showed 4 pm it started raining heavily....

...To Be Continued.