Sunday, December 18, 2011

BSA Tour of Nilgiris - 2011 - Day 2

The Tour director today decided to do a late start since the distance was 120 Kms only. (Seriously? only?) It was a 8:00AM start.  This meant we had extra time for a luxurious breakfast. Even if one tasted every item on the buffet, he would be full before starting. Cereals, Cranberry juice (??),  cornflakes with warm milk, bread with butter and jam, idli - chutney, vada - sambar, kara bath, kesari bath, boiled eggs, tea and coffee... By the time I finished, I thought of skipping lunch. In hindsight, it was a +1 for the organizers. Not sure if this was part of the plan, but since it was  a short day - people may find themselves at no man's land during lunch time. Crossing SS3 (support station 3) early would mean skipping lunch - and that is what most of the fast riders did.
Day-2 Starting line
Today's start was organized since it had race leaders - Mark and Vicki. Along side was the guest of the day - Ravirankan Kumar, Co-founder of the Tour of Nilgiris. He will be riding on this tour for 3 days and bringing back memories of TFN08.

Mysore is a nice city. Traffic at 8 is not maddening yet. So, the riders got out of the city with ease.  We hit the Hunsur Road pretty soon. Wonderfully paved road and well landscaped too. Flowering plants on the divider, paddy fields on either side of the road providing much needed scenery boost to the tour. But yesterday's race section has put seeds of ambition in everyone's mind. Every rider wanted to ride easy on the initial section. Some were doing it intentionally... But some were slowing down since their body was not cooperating. Both groups had to battle with the wind to pedal ahead. Siva's secret antibiotic (which he is taking for a cosmetic wound) gave him enough power to reach Hassan without stopping in any support station.  No one remembers seeing him after day start. 

Day-2 Support Station 2

Support Station 2 soon became a resort. Riders who were not tired were in no hurry since they wanted to save the best for the race. Those who were tired took their time to recover. I wandered off to do some updates to the blog from beneath a lone tamarind tree - made possible by LeapSky wireless. The riders left one by one with a minute interval. It was a 24 Km trail with rolling terrain. It was not as hot as yesterday, but the wind was not willing to help the riders. Riders gave their best shot at what could be the last flat time-trail. The rest of the days belong to the climbers.

The story was a little different at support station 3. It was the lunch point for all the average riders who are not on antibiotics and feel tired once in a while. Physio Dhananjay has been a busy man on road today. Those who paid him a visit yesterday can't thank him enough. Words about the magic in his hands spread fast and bring him more followers. Veg Biryani was served in lunch - yummy. It was just right spicy and the raitha made it feel like heaven. I am sure riders would have appreciated the detailed instructions given to caterers to keep the food less greasy and less spicy.

From SS3, Hassan is just 30 odd Kms away. But these 30 Kms are slow uphill sections. The motivation for riders to get to Hassan was clear (not the non-alcoholic welcome drink served by the hotel). At the hotel a pleasant surprise was waiting. A very nice parking lot was created the cyclists after clearing all the cars in the enclosure. Hope more hotels in Bangalore would do the same. After refreshing, high tea was served - sandwiches, milk shake (chocolate, pista) and biscuits. There was no tea though.

With the whole evening for themselves, some riders went to Belur to appreciate the beauty in the soap stone carvings. Some others just hit the bar. Some more just slept through.
Results of Day-2 CS:
Rajesh Nair:  38' 31"
Mark Anderson: 38' 55"
Sumit pal: 41' 35"
Vicki:  43' 23"

Overall standing after Day-2:
Mark Anderson: 1h 12' 51"
Rajesh Nair:  1h 13' 58"
Sumit pal:  1h 17' 58" 
Vicki:  1h 21' 43"

Tomorrow promises to be a beautiful ride - misery and joy in equal proportions.

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