Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day 2: A good start - gentle slopes.

The scheduled flag off was at 0600 Hrs. Got a wake-up call from Deepak... 0442 hrs. Damn! is the night over already? I am pretty sure every rider felt the same. We were very orderly in our dealings... Fold the blankets, sheets, pillow covers and return them to YHAI. We had to wait a while for our breakfast to be made. In the mean while, the tea/coffee was served with all the snacks we had yesterday. All the riders came down with their bags and lined it up to be loaded on the support van. The bicycles were unlocked and most of the riders got busy mending their bikes. Almost every one added the "biking cleaning cloth" to their must-bring-next-time list. It's seems so mundane in hindsight, but only the pros had got them ;-)

By 0630, the breakfast was ready - to the delight of any South Indian. Idly-Vada and sambar. All by Nilgiri's ready-to-eat range. My grandmother needs to hear this... "Now even I can make idli, in 10 minutes". Pradeep arrived a little late and took control of the arrangements. He made some quick positive announcements. Plan of action for the day: To keep it simple, there would be no brunch. It would only be heavy carb loading breakfast and a late lunch at the halting place. He gave very clear road directions, notes on road conditions and arrangements to get through the short stretch of really bad roads. The simple no-stop plan made really good sense. The Raja's seat at Madikeri is going to be the finish line for the day. From there, riders will be shuttled to the night camp in 2 batches of 20 each. Freshen up, and do the *optional* local ride. The optional part was very well received.

7:15 start: This was special for the birthday boy - Sharath Raju. After savouring the pineapple pastry Sharath lead the bunch out of the hostel campus for the Stage 2 of the tour. The first 80 Kms of the stage boasts really wonderful roads with gentle slopes (both ways)... Riders seems like they are enjoying... All smiles and no aches. Body aches seem like are a history now that every body is sufficiently warmed up. We are now at Kushalanagar. Roads have gotten worse in the last 5 Kms or so. I do not know if this is the bad patch that the tour director was mentioning about. I hope, the canopy of trees will make up for the bad roads. One worrying niggle is that food van is still behind us ;-) Will be updating this post from Madikeri.

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