Friday, December 26, 2008

Day 2: Warm and Cozy Home stay

The road from Mysore to Hunsur was excellent. This is perhaps the best stretch of road available on the entire tour. Road was perhaps only as good as yesterday, but the X factor was the lack of traffic. This frees up 50% of mental energy that a rider would have to spend worrying about monsters running them down. Looks like they used the free 50% to set some fast pace, and keep smiling at the same time. We were riding the un-official support car - Ram's Swift. Like all other support vehicles, we were fully loaded - Gatorade, Aquafina, Cream bun, cup cakes, Glucose anything that any rider could ask for. Since we were operating in addition to the "planned" support vehicles, we worked out a plan for ourselves. We would drive past many riders and then pull-over at a nice location (most photo worthy). Get the foodies out on the roof and chill out. As soon as any one of us spots a rider, we offered all things we had and waited for him to choose. A few riders felt so welcome that took a little break chatting with us. When we were satisfied that we had served quite a few riders, we would zip past all of them to our next pitstop... So on and on till Mercera. But there are always disadvantages of travelling so fast. Apparently, every rider remembers seeing a tree full of honey combs. This was one of the most discussed topic today. However, for guys in the car for us, it was just a passing remark.

Just before Kushalanagara, the road condition drastically changes. It gets a lot worse - and hence tilts the power balance towards the MTB riders (for the first time). We could see the first few MTB riders gleefully zipping over the rough roads. The road bikers need only 6 inches of good road to ride on. They struggled to find even that. The road was not only bad for their biceps, but their mind also had to think about the impact every jerk had on the truing of the wheels. I slept through most of the climb to Madikeri while Thej was driving. By the time, we came to Madikeri the overall plan had changed a bit. The Raja's seat assembly had been skipped and we were asked to directly go to the home stay. We hit the Madikeri-Virajpet road and at the sixth KM mark we get a bridge. This is the landmark at which we must turn left. But the road at the bridge was so bad that, the bridge could easily go un-noticed.

Once inside the home stay, we just hung around doing nothing. Riders as usual were exchanging notes about the morons manning motorized vehicles. This time around the road condition also came in their line of fire (mostly from the road bikers). The riders could still not freshen up because the luggage van is either lost its way or doubling up as sweeper vehicle. Nobody was actually minding that since the ride was so good. People just spent time just chatting about everything under the sun - career choices, american depression, FM Kariappa's son's home so on and on... By the time lunch was being served, the last few riders on the road were encouraged to cross the finish line by loud applauses. Poor Samim and Dipanker... there is no one to clap when they arrive at any finish lines on this tour ;-)

Luch menu had a choice... Chicken Biryani or Veg Biryani or both. Surprisingly there was no gravy. May be Nilgiri's must note this... Biryani is too dry without some gravy. Misti Dahi for dessert was just perfect. For the caffine addicts, there was some cold coffee served too...

By the time we got through lunch it was time to get ready for the press meet (if any) at the Raja's seat. Since the local ride was unanimously cancelled, all of us boarded all possible support vehicles and headed to down town Madikeri. We entered the Raja's garden with just enough time to witness the sun set. There were sooooo many people. If they are all tourists, then the tourist season must be good. If they were localites, they have way too much free time to be there on a week-day. In any case, it was way off from my imagination of the romantic sunset that the Raja must have enjoying with this dear Rani. It was dark by the time we got back and dinner was about to be served. Somebody had a campfire going too... Dinner was cyleon parantha, jeera-rice and alu mutter. Pineapple (or strawberry was it?) pastry made a awesome dessert. A can of diet pepsi each completed a satisfying 3 course meal. (ayyo, are you wondering how can one be satisfied unless he has curd rice with mango pickle?)

What worked well:
Most of the things went well today. Nobody is hurt. No rider ever got thirsty when there was no support car near him. Our plan for the extra support did help a lot of riders that were far apart. The fact that we emptied most of our loaded supplies is a good proof of that. The no-scheduled-stop idea clicked. Skipping Raja's seat in the afternoon was excellent decision. Riders were much more comfortable waiting for the luggage at home stay (below the fan, under a tree) than be on a bench in Raja's seat answering questions posed by curious on-lookers.

What still needs improvement:
I remember my mathematics lesson that 3 variables can not be resolved with 2 equations. Food van and generator van need to be at the end point much ahead of the riders. The only other van must carry the luggage. So, it must also be ahead of the riders so that they get it as soon as they reach the finish line. That leaves with no vehicle for sweeping. This problem can officially closed as unsolvable mathematically. Let us wait to see if the tour think tank can come up with some thing creative here.

As I write this, there is a symphony of snoring going on... I have the Dolby stereo effect with Francis and Kaushik on either side of me. I hope one of them will concede defeat and this battle will not continue too much into the night.


Subra ....[ V . Subramanian ] said...

Well done riders . Keep the tempo till the finish . The climate at Ooty is so chill with heavy fog [ came to know from TV news ] Hope the riders will be prepred for it .

Varun said...

Wow..sooper cool..cant wait to read the next entry..

Ajay said...

Awesome dude..Best of luck for the rest of the ride..and keep posting :)

Anonymous said...

Day 3 please..

Nadig's said...

What hppnd to Day 3?

Fortune Park Hotels Ltd said...
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