Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bicycle Diaries - Bangalore brevet 200kms

In short, Brevet are long-distance self-supported endurance ride that one has to complete in a stipulated time window. Read more about them - Randonneuring

After having a couple of 100km rides in the bicycle, I decided to try a brevet. Trichy does not have a randonneuring club and I have to travel to Chennai, Coimbatore or Bangalore to ride one. Bangalore BRM 200km ride was scheduled on May 20. We have to cover 200kms in 13.5 hours. It was a night ride, starting at 17:30 hrs. The forecast was predicted as no rain for the ride day!

Cue Sheet with distance and elevation map!

The above is the Cue sheet with distance and elevation map for the 200kms starting at Airline hotel via hosur and turn at Krishnagiri and reaching Bangalore again via hosur. As you can see the elevation map its downhill all the way from Bangalore to Krishnagiri for 100kms and then it all the way climbing back to Bangalore for the second 100kms. Before the ride, I did speak to the senior cyclist in Trichy to approach for the ride and watched the BOTS speaker series on how to ride the first brevet.

Everyone started assembling in Airlines hotel around 1700hrs and after a quick bike check, the brevet cards were handed out to the riders. A quick de-brief for the route and rules, the ride started. I was not familiar with a the route, since it was a long time driving inside Bangalore. I decided to follow the other riders until silk board junction and I knew that from then on it would be one straight road. Bangalore traffic was unforgiving on a Saturday evening even for a cyclist. It took a long time to cross MG Road signal and get on to hosur road. Followed by more traffic bottlenecks en route to the electronic city.After electronic city the traffic eased out and started keeping to started riding in a good pace (~30kmph). I made sure I did sip water ever 5-6kms.

Soon it started to become dark and every rider was on their own with their front light. I stopped at 47th km to help a rider with a flat. His new tube was not taking in air using his pump and we tried using my pump. A brief stop and I started riding back. Then the unplanned happens, it started to rain. literally, pour. Headwinds became stronger for every km we crossed. Visibility of the road was tested by rain and slush from fast movings cars and Volvo buses. It was difficult to identify potholes and started to become cold. Soon we reached at our first unmanned stop to refill water and take a photo for official documentation.

When I stepped down I realized my shoe was all soaked with water and water was dripping out of it. After refilling water and answering the curious waters of where we were off too. After riding a few kms from the stop we noticed another women rider from the group waved hands. Initially, we thought she had a flat, but looks like there was a guy following her in a motorbike and giving trouble crossing her again and again. We decided to ride along with her and soon the troublemaker was no were to be seen. I did find trouble identifying the u-turn hotel right after Krishnagiri. It became difficult to use the mobile phone to check the GPS location as it was continuously raining.

At the u-turn point, we got super hot tomato rice and refilled all fuels to start back. More bad news as it started it pour heavily in Bangalore as well. Also, the locals in the hotel warned about elephant crossing in the Krishnagiri Forest range. After warming up from the rain, it became so difficult to start riding again as the body had cooled down and we were shivering. Like most riders said, it was more mental than physical after the 100kms mark. I decided to take it one flyover at a time. Kept hydrating myself and continued back to Bangalore.

As we approached the difficult stretch of the journey from Krishnagiri to Hosur, I knew exactly how many climbs I needed to make. I stopped for a very short break just before the climb and conquered one climb at a time. Toe and fingers were so cold and almost numb as it was soaking in the rain for the last few hours. We were hoping for tailwinds in the return journey and nature sent us more challenges with headwinds during the return journey too. Climbing was so difficult, I was doing around 7-10kmph during the climb. Thanks to fellow riders from Bangalore who helped with terrain and pacing the ride. Around 2 am we stopped at a coffee shop before Shoolagiri. 135kms and finally the rain stopped.

More climb and chillness as we entered the early morning hours and crossed hosur. I could see elephant warning boards along the highway and only made me keep turning and being a vigil for elephants and how I could get help when needed. Most tourist buses start getting into the Karnataka border during that time and had to ride extra careful. After crossing the RTO office reached electronic city around 5am. Finally back to finishing point at 6am.

Official timings are here

Strava stats here

If you are riding for the first time, here are things I learned.
  • Plan and know the route, time of the day and weather condition you will be riding. 
  • Know you cadence and just stick on to it through the ride. Do no try to stretch by keeping up with other riders. 
  • Hydrate regularly and eat regularly, we burn a lot of calories than we think. 
  • Stick to flyovers and not below it in the night and especially during rain just to avoid any unexpected flats. 
  • Do not overload with items for the ride. Just a puncture kit and few energy refill are enough. 
  • Plan well for a wet ride, I did not. 
  • Practice in similar terrain.  
  • Last but not least, love and care your bike and it will definitely love you back. Give your bike a good wash and spot check everything from brake, cables, tyre fit etc.

Rider timings

When I finished

At unmanned control point

Brevet card, bad photo :(

When one does not get enough sleep

All set before the ride

Midnight tomato rice

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cashew Bite

We have got two Capricorns and one Aquarius in the family. So apart from the 3 birthdays there's Christmas, New year and Pongal to pack December-January with celebrations. So I've got another excuse to put on weight.

Today my wife bought a box of sweet, Cashew bite from Sri Krishna Sweets. I'm not a big fan of Cashews unless it's a Saturday (pun intended)! This box of Cashew bite is as good as it can get. It's not too sweet and children will love it for a quick bite. Plus the whole nut inside gives a twist with each bite. It costs Rs 400/- for a box and has a shelf life of 25 days. Each bar contains Chocolate, wallnuts, badam, cashews, ghee, pista and sugar. I'm not sure of the calorific value. I'd highly recommend to try it!

It comes packed in a nice box.

 A quick shout out to Nikita Containers for the neat work.

  It's hard to resist opening the box, when you see it.

It's wrapped in a double layered foil, giving it a rich look.

And with all that, you have one family of happy customers. :-)

P.S. I'm a photographer at Light Story. This post is not a sponsored one.