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.


  1. truly inspiring! reminds me of my first long ride from Pune to Panchgani...we reached Panchgani 11 in the night :)

  2. ...and I admire that you've the energy after these long and demanding rides

  3. This wasn't actually very tough on the body. Although I struggled on the climbs, things were easy after that.

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