- Sauvik Biswas / autobot: 54UV1K - https://sauvikbiswas.com -

Day 8: Valparai to Pollachi (and then to Coimbatore)

One final luggage drop, one final briefing, one final climb

We were asked to get ready for breakfast and drop our luggage by 7:00 am. Satish gave the day’s briefing and sang a song.

[1]

Siddharth packing his bags for one last time. This had become our daily routine.

[2]

Satish briefed us about the day, the cut-off times at each support station and stuff we had to do after we reached Pollachi.

We had one final climb of about 15 kms. It was the same route that we had taken yesterday past Aliyar Dam. I stopped at the same tea shop as yesterday and had a lemon tea.

[3]

I even stopped by this small tea shop and had a lemon tea. The tea is average but the surroundings were brilliant.

At the top of the hill was a solitary temple. I must have been so tired yesterday that I missed it. Today I had climbed well beyond my usual standards. I had not only done it at a steady pace but also enjoyed one last view of the tea estates.

[4]

This beautiful temple sits on top of the Valparai hill. I had a chat with my mom here.

I stopped at the same South Indian meal hotel at Attakatty (I missed its name in the last blog. It’s called “Hotel New Restaurant”). A bunch of riders had gathered inside to enjoy the dosas and sambar vadas. Experienced riders had earlier mentioned that their ghee-roast dosa is amazing. I would wholeheartedly agree with them. The kitchen was not able to cope up with the demands. We shared whatever came our way. In the end, we all decided to pay the shopkeeper anything between 100 to 200 rupees depending on how much we had eaten. I thought I had eaten 150 rupees worth of stuff.

[5]

Riders gathered up at this (now famous among TfNers) Attakatty shop.

[6]

The same Aliyar Dam. This time from the top of the mountain.

I took the descend very slowly and consciously. The organisers were very generous with today’s cut-off times. As a result, everyone stopped here and there for a breather, a selfie, a panorama or just a sip of water.

[7]

While descending I saw one of the volunteers enjoying the shades. They deserve it. These are the guys who make the tour extraordinary.

Finishing the tour

Once I was at Aliyar Dam, the temperatures soared. I was back on the plains of Tamil Nadu. I saw the masters (Venky, Lena, etc.) whiz by me. Later, I got to know that they were doing their own friendly competition. Madhu, a fellow rider who took part in the competition, said that these guys were sprinting above 50 kmph on flat roads. I stuck to my pace and rode to the finish line.

[8]

The finish line!

The organisers provided us with bubble wraps. We were asked to wrap our shifters and derailleurs as soon as we entered the resort in Pollachi. These bikes will be carried back to Bangalore.

[9]

We bubble wrapped our derailleurs and shifters. These are some of the most expensive components on a road bike.

After freshening up and having lunch beside Bharathapuzha river, we headed off to Coimbatore.

[10]

Mani sir posing with Karthik and Francis. He was one guy who showed me the importance of consistency.

[11]

Age is just a number. Russel Bell, the oldest rider, and Siddharth Iyer Verma, the youngest one.

The champions dinner

Our accommodation was arranged at Vivanta by Taj, Coimbatore. They are the official hospitality partners of TfN 2016. Tonight I will be sharing my room with Sidhharth only. Manjeet will be sharing his room with Amit Goyal (The same guy who helped me out by lending me his spare bottle.)

During the gala dinner, I did not forget to say thanks to the guy who inspired me to participate – Bikey Venky aka Venkateswara Rao Navasi aka Lord Venky.

[12]

This is Venky. I am yet to meet a more down-to-earth guy like him. He won the Masters category GC and the King of Kalahatty Masters.

There is an epilogue to this tour. I will sum up my thoughts in tomorrow’s blog.

Day 9: Epilogue: Back to Bangalore [13]
Day 7: Palakkad to Valparai [14]