Re-check and Flag Off
I had to leave at 4:00 am in the morning in order to make it to Taj Yeshwantpur in time to drop off my luggage. Luckily Mogit was with me and taking care of some of the logistics became easier with the extra pair of hands. The race organisers fitted our bikes with the bib number.
The tour organisers had also arranged for breakfast at Taj, Yeshwantpur.
The flag-off happened at 6:30 am. Some of the more accomplished riders just zoomed past me. These were the guys who have been a part of the racing circuits in India and abroad. People like me are mere mortals!
Right off the bat I realised that my cyclocomputer wasn’t showing any readings. After about 6 km, I stopped only to realise that I had fitted my front wheel the other way (and hence the sensor was far from the magnet). This is usually not a problem unless the tyre specifically mentions a direction of rotation. My tyres have those markings.
I was the king of punctures again! Well, this time I helped out a few of the guys with their punctures. En route, I found a lot of them stranded on the sides with some nasty puncture. One guy, Siddharth Chopra, had a really bad day and ended up with three flats. He took his wheels to a shop here in Mysore and got his rim tape and tyres changed.
The support system of TfN is too good. There are motorbikes and cars constantly patrolling the roads. In fact, there was a time when I ran out of water. These guys quickly arranged some for me. These guys were also the ones who helped out the riders stranded beside the road due to a mechanical or just a flat.
(I did not take any photographs of these stranded riders. That would have been rude.)
Food and pit-stops
We are supposed to mark our attendance at each of the four support stations on each day of the ride. This is where one can fuel themselves up with some dry fruits, electrolytes, biscuits or plain old bananas.
Arrangement was made to provide us with some simple South Indian style lunch at Malavalli police station. I cautiously did not eat too much. Meanwhile, Lord Venky announced that he was going to have mutton at some Military Hotel near the end of Bannur. He asked others if they wanted to join. He does this every year and calls the team Biriyani Express.
Things get tougher
There are few things that can drain you out.
- A long stop.
- A constant uphill.
- An extra bag.
Unluckily, I had all four. The last 25 kms were excruciating. The effect of the sunscreen had worn off. Not to mention the last 10 kms of cycling through the roads and by lanes of Mysore to reach our hotel room were draining the last bits of energy in me.
I was also carrying my camera. It was a liability. I did not realise this until these last 25 kms. The idea is to keep oneself as light as possible and rely on the support stations and the patrol for all supplies.
This was the only scenery I shot-
Yesterday, during the briefing, Sridhar mentioned that this tour is about meditation – you, the road and your bike. Everything else is a distraction. I realised how true that is. I am going to pack my camera inside my luggage and only click photographs with my phone. It’s not like I have been capturing masterpieces anyway.