One Earth, One Life, One Chance...Go Green

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

Posted by Vikramsinh at Sunday, August 11, 2013

"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.


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