Tuesday, December 20, 2011

BSA - Tour of Nilgiris - 2011 - Day 4 - Madikeri to Iritty

Day - 4 is technically a picnic. You just have to get to it safely after negotiating the 15 Km of technical descent that follows after 20 Kms of bad road. The breakfast arrangements at the Solitaire Exotica of Madikeri was not too great. The bread was a big fail. But, they adapted quickly to give poori-sagu to all riders. Well, that is all what one needs for a down-hill trip ;-)

Bone rattling ride on 'patchy' roads
After a 'light' breakfast it was time for a quick daily briefing. The riders were appraised with the latest state of the roads until Virajpet -' bad in patches' was the Official description. The TD cleverly missed out how big and how often were these patches. Rajesh gave a 'standard-down-hill-check-list' instructions to all the riders and wished them all a good safe descent. Tour leader Mark A. told every one to keep their eyes on road - 20ft ahead of you. The bike goes where your eyes go. If you look at something off the road, then you go off road too. Rajesh added the importance of braking well before the turn and keeping the bike straight during the turn. Another announcement was the photo-shoot plan soon after the first support station. All came out in their best jerseys.

Vinay zipping through
Since there is no CS today, the was not hurry and the only strategy was to get down without tasting dirt. The bad patches made group riding or drafting very dangerous. The late start however meant that the riders had to share the road with the Monday traffic. The MTB's especially with suspension, were finally smiling as the road condition alternated between 'bad' and 'worse'. Now I have to extend the 'bad in patches' ... to 'worse in the rest'. So went the ride like this until Virajpet. According the morning briefing, the road from then was to be smooth. It was better, but far from smooth. When the riders came to a nice bridge across a stream, they stopped . Some of them thought it was the photo-shoot point and the group grew.

Richard Joyce waving at the welcome committee
More rolling terrain followed with comparatively better roads. Just before Kerala border, we were welcomed by a bunch of pre-school children. Their teacher thought it would be a good exposure for them and sent them to cheer our riders. The kids in this area speak either Kannada, Tulu, Malayalam, Urdu or Kodava in their home. With five languages around them, they look too confused and when a stranger speaks to them in English, they just get petrified. Still, as cyclists passed them one by one, they got more confident and started clapping hands joyously. I even taught them to count 1 rider, 2 riders and many riders. Cheers!!

Photo Point @ Support Station 1
A few Kms after the school was the photo shoot lake. What a back-drop for the ride!!! Words any way can't do justice... I will not even try.

This is where the technical descent starts. All but two riders got down safely. Those two riders suffered some bruises. At the bottom of the descent, the mood was much of relief - of getting down in one piece, of completing half the tour, of looking forward for the rest day. 

Rest day tomorrow - one can wake up late.

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