Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The 2011 Schwinn Sporterra and Sporterra Sport

Its been couple of weeks since we received our fiurst stock of the new schwinn sporterra and sporterra sport. So this is defnitely a delayed report . Overall, the sporterra series seems to have undergone a total change. The most striking change is of course the new frame. Other changes inlcude the new saddle, the tyres, the hndle bar grips, the shifters. And even the logo

The Schwinns in the box

Thats an oldie

The new logo looks quite stunning, especially on black

The 2011 sporterra looks totally different. Especially different is the frame.

And so is the sporterra sport

The frames are now more MTB inspired. The saddle, the shifters, the handle bar grips, the tyres, everything has changed. True to the MTP inspiration, the tyres have gone a little thicker. 700 x 37c

Another angle

Same with Schwinn Sporterra

The new saddle looks sleeker, and definitely is a welcome change. As before, the seat post comes withn a suspension. The quick release now comes with a rubber think on top. Welcome change again.

The bar tapes have now been upgraded to rubber grips on handlebar, which again is a nice thing. The shifters, though the same , looks differnt in their 2011 version.

The rear alivio derailleur on Searcher sport , which is ofcourse the same as it used to be in 2010 version.

Monday, December 27, 2010

TFN - Day 5

The day was supposed to start at 8 am, but it has been drizzling since the time I got up. This being a day of long descents, organisers didn't want the riders to ride on wet roads. The schedule start was pushed to 9 am. The rain however, didn't stop, and instructions on efficient braking and speed controls, we were out on the road at 9 am. I had my rain jacket on; it was still drizzling. But my body heated up pretty soon, and it felt nice to ride in rain. The terrain was rolling to start with. I was super careful on the descents and were testing my brakes every now and then. However, the rain stopped as we closed towards pykara lake. That made me confident on the descents, and I started enjoying it. This was definitely my longest descent.

Soon I passed the first service station, hit gudalur , and was off into the tea estates.The terrain became rolling again, the landscape breathtaking. I stopped every now and then to take pictures. The road has been pretty good with lots of down hill too. But towards the end I realised I was running behind time. I pushed a little hard towards the end, and made it to hotel Green Gates, Kalpetta by around 6.30 pm. Overall, a nice and long ride, with the best vistas so far in the tour. Heard later that one of the riders crashed on the ooty, and had to return back to bangalore the next day.

Riders waiting for the rain to stop

On the ouitskirt of Ooty
A waterbody couple of kms down the pykara lake. Definitely worth a breather.
Riders zooming past
More greenery
Mansij - the blogger, and Jas- the volunteer trying to reach the bike mechanic to help out a rider in despair.
After neduvattam, on the way down from Ooty, the road was surrounded by mist and fog
The fog started to thin out after a couple of km though
A cyclist passes through the eucalyptus forest.
Came across Boni and gang on my way to Devala. Turned out the hanger that Boni had fabricated in Ooty wasn't really able to take the load. So boni is in the middle of converting his bike back to single speed.
Riders ride through the tea gardens around Devala.
Tea gardens and hills where ever you look at
More tea gardens

Ravi breezes through

Ankur rides up at one of the small uphill sections. At this point it was close to 4.30 pm, and I had more than 55 km to be covered. I decided to push it a little hard ride non stop .
Is that the chembra peak?

Around meppadi, the landscape gets a new life. The hills are now closer and bigger, and some of roads seems to be merging right into the hills. I was definitely running out of time, but thought I won't do justice to the place if I don't do a pic stop here. Our destination - Green Gates hotel, kalpetta was around 20 km from here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

TFN - Day 4 (rest day)

So after 3 hard days of ride, one thing was sure. Nobody wanted to ride their bike on the rest day. Some riders decided to trek doddabetta, some went bird watching, some were busy cleaning and lubing their bike, and some went chocolate shopping. Places offering massage was very high in demand too. Myself, Sunil and Paul drove down to Coonoor.

Rakesh Nair giving his bike a good wash.

Myself, Paul and Sunil stop at a viewp0int on the way to Coonoor.

We met Jacob at the very laid back Coonoor town. He invited us home for a cup of coffee, and played host for a wonderful lunch at Coonoor Club, an even more laid back place.

Inside the Coonoor Club

After lunch, Jacob led us to some sight seeing around Coonoor. This picture is at the lambs rock. We were hoping to spot some bisons, but no luck

Jacob, Paul and Sunil

Came back to hotel by 6 pm. Came to know that Boni had a fabricated a derailleur hanger for his bike, and his fuji is now back to multispeed mode.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TFN - Day 3

When I accepted the TFN invite this year, I knew this has to be toughest day. More than 50 km of proper climbs, out of which around 26 km being relentless. I knew I had to train for this, but that never happened. Will I be able to do this climb? I don't know. It was too late to even think about the question.
My left shoe had been biting my little finger, which was becoming a challenge for me. I decided to ride with my floaters today. The floater had a very soft sole, which is going to be a major disadvantage, especially on the climbs, but I didn't have any other option for now.
We had our briefing in the morning and was told that this being forest territory, we will be riding in small group. There were couple of leopard sightings yesterday, and elephant sighting too is pretty common. We started from the Bush Beta resort at 8.30 am, and rode though the bandipur forests. It felt really nice riding through the forests, and we decided to take it slow enjoying the surrounding. We spotted lots of deer, and also a bison which ran across the road. I was hoping to spot some elephants, but it didn't happen.
We soon crossed the forests area, and reached gudalur, from where the climb starts. I gave it everything I had. It was very steep, I guess, the initial couple of kms part might be 7-8% , and soon I ran out of energy. There after, it was breaks every few minutes, franatic spinning at my lowest gear combination, and persuading myself that this is doable.
Through the Bandipur forests. Vinay, Gokul, Amit and others stop for the other riders to catch. I use the opportunity to take pictures

Lots and lots of deers grazing in the forests. They seem to be very used to the tourists. Gokul can't resist capturing them.

A nasty speed breaker follows a nice and long downhill. Amit, who hasn't topped up the air pressure enough, gets a pinch flat. We replace the tube and pump in some fresh air.

A monkey steals a packet of enerzol at the first rest station. He manages to open the packet very efficiently and savours it.

Nice long downhill follows after a climb. Amit and Gokul freewheeling

A very scenic part of the route as keep riding towards gudalur.

The Ooty climb starts. The first 25 km from gudalur was really stee, I had to take very frequent breaks. Vinay giving it his all.

The scenery was worth admiring though. The road, the mist, the greenery's - couldn't have been any better.

Around 10 km into the climb, we come across a very scenic stretch with giant eucalyptus trees both side. The smell of the eucalyptus leaves was very refreshing
Riders ride through the eucalyptus firm

I kept taking breathers

The slopes were really steep, and I realised I was massively under trained for this kind of terrain. However, the frequent breaks contributed to many photo opportunities

Around 4 km after service station 2, and 26 km from gudalur, the terrain got much better. The relentless climbs were replaced by rolling hills. Unexpectedly, we were even rewarded by some nice downhills which did wonders to our spirit. In this picture, Chidambaram climbs up.

The route was serene and scenic .It was 2 pm, and I took a 15 min power nap on the thick carpet of green grass on the other side of the rail.

Stopped at the a small bridge on the way to service station 3, and listened to the water gushing by.

Reached the service station 3, and this is what I saw when I laid down my back on a mat.
I ultimately reached YWCA at 5 pm, 89 km of days ride. But mentally , this was the most challenging ride I have ever done. I was told almost80% of the rider finished this ride, and King of the Hills was Amrish, who completed the whole ride by 11.40am. Paul and roopak finished by 12.30 pm. Boni completed the ride earlier than most of us in his now single speed ( broken derailer hanger). He plans to fabricate a hanger at ooty.