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Digest #3, K2K aka Karnataka to Kerela

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BSA TFN riders huddled together, outside Irupu

The BSA Tour Of Nilgiris passes through three states. Five days on the tour and we were still in Karnataka. It was time to change gears and meet the neighbors. The day started a bit late than usual. I’d blame the slumber that was induced by the oil massages on Rest Day. Nonetheless, all riders were on the road by 8AM and considering that the distance to Sultan Bathery was less than a century, it wasn’t all that late. That all riders, but one, was able to make it to Sultan Bathery by 3PM, further confirms it.

The initial stretch for the day had bad roads with no shoulders at all. Where there would be a median under ideal conditions, there was present the only belt of tar. Road bikers had a real tough time. Mountain bikers struggled too, but they definitely were better off for obvious technical reasons. This initial stretch provided the elusive opportunity of spotting a multitude of BSA TFN riders together, for the first time on the tour.

Gaurav Dwivedi, one of the faster riders on the tour, had this to say – Today’s ride is the best. I am getting to see around, riding at leisure. This is how a tour should be.

The faster BSA TFN riders cruising along

But beyond this stretch, apart from the odd potholes, the roads in Kerela were a treat for the riders. They ripped and the fastest of the pack were at Sultan Bathery by as early as 12:30PM. In fact, riders were too fast for the support crew to have even set up the support stations fully. Reason being that at the time of the recce in November, most of this stretch was bad too, but has now been patched. And the riders made the most of it. They weren’t bothered to not see the Support Station tents. Rather they were elated to spot the creamy tarmac.

Anand Mulky, a rider on the tour, quipped – For the first half I felt like Neil Armstrong riding on craters, for the next half, it was like being Lance Armstrong on the Tour de France.

At Sultan Bathery, occupied riders indoors

With the entire evening at their disposal, riders had a whole lot of options to choose from. Some headed for Edakkal Caves. Others went to catch a movie. Yet others engaged in Table Tennis, Fussball, Carrom at the hotel, Issac’s Regency.

Interestingly, many riders participated in the first ever tweetup held in Wayanad.

Traditional Kerala fare was on offer for dinner. I heard the vegetarians weren’t a happy lot but as far as I’m concerned – I savored it to the last bit. Jokes apart, there are apprehensions about the climb to Ooty tomorrow morning. I see it as a positive. Some butterflies in the stomach act as catalyst to perform well.

And if I’m not mistaken … I’m not, I know … this bunch of riders is a tough lot, both mentally and physically. I’m not gonna exagerrate by saying that Ooty will be a breeze but I’m sure it will be one of the most satisfying climbs these riders will ever do.

Written by Sangfroid

December 21, 2009 at 10:21 pm

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