Monday, December 19, 2011

BSA - Tour of Nilgiris 2011 - Day 3 - Hassan to Madikeri

Today is the longest day of the tour. 180+ Kms on the saddle is an insane endurance tests. To prepare you well for the endurance, Hotel Southern Star lined up their most elaborate breakfast buffet - Fruits (Papaya, Pineapple), Cereals with warm milk, eggs (boiled and scrambled), chicken sausages, toasted bread with two types of jam and butter, pongal, idli-chutney, vada-sambar, kesari bath, upma, hot tea, coffee or milk. With breakfasts like these, I would not like the tour to end... Well it has to, and will leave me a couple of kilos heavier.

Every body is excited at the start. The riders are pumped up about the distance and the climb at the end. For many, the initial two days was just warming up for the mountains to follow. Now the real tour begins. The photographers and video crew were happy that it was the first time that the riders are riding into the Sun. They can take their shots at will today. Expect a lot of high quality images uploaded by Centhil and Adithya on their Facebook pages.

Day - 3 for the first half involves retracing the same road till Bilikere Junction. Well they say that the road does not look the same when returning... For one, for all the gruesome uphill sections become breezing descents (sadly vice-versa too). The perspective of the road also changes. It better be true, other wise re-tracing 90 Kms would be ultra boring. Those who missed the paddy fields had ample time today enjoy them in the pleasant morning Sun.
Riding thorough the Paddy fields
The long day ahead prompted people to forge alliances and ride as teams and form a fast train. We followed Team Spectrum train for quite some time. The Mamils were also on a train of their own. Some independent riders tried to hop on to the trains but could not sustain the pace and were dropped soon.

Spectrum Train
Capt. Ritesh Goyal on Jazz
One man was very happy today. Captain Ritesh Goyal traded his new heavy mountain bike for a brand new Montra Jazz.  He was a changed man. He says, it felt as if Obelix is relieved of the weight. He feels he could not have been handsomely ahead of the sweep truck if not for the Montra. The inclines were effortless and he confidently negotiated the descents. On a flat road, the bike just flies.  There were other riders who tried the Montra, but faced niggling problems with the gear train and went back to their old bikes.

Never before has the sweep truck been so inspirational. The sweep times for today was very tight - 10:30, 12:30, 2:30 at the support stations that are 40Ks distant. At the start line of the competitive  section the cut off was @ 4:30 PM. Determined riders were breathing a huge sigh of relief each time they beat the sweep truck to the support station. Re-fuel and get ready for another duel with the sweep. Ultimately, only 12 riders got swept. On a 180+ day only 12 of 70 riders were swept. TFN has a bunch of strong riders - mentally and physically this time. Respect!!

Just before the competitive section got underway there was high drama. The race crew had synchronized their watched and let the first rider - Abhilash through. Vasu has to rush to the finish line in a car. Vasu has a standing promise that "if the car breaks down, he will run the finish line".  And, it did. The car carrying the Time Station-2 crew just stalled couple of Ks into the race. If they do not reach before Abhilash, his efforts would go in vain. No thinking too much, Vasu came good on his promise. Starting running towards the finish line. After about 400 mts, he hopped on a truck wan carrying wood in a full filmy style and reached the finish line in time to record Abhilash's time.

The CS was hard fought and resulted in every body pushing themselves the the ultimate limit. Pick-up van was waiting at the finish to ferry the riders to the resort. The highlight of the day was Manoj finishing the day with no flats. Happy man today.

Results for the day:
Mark Anderson:  25' 06"
Rajesh Nair: 25' 18"
Sumit Pal: 29' 16"

Vicki: 28' 44"

This tour is all about enjoying the ride and who you ride with. Tomorrow is practically a picnic.

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