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

Posted by Vikramsinh at Sunday, August 11, 2013

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.


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