It’s Sunday and its time for another ride with the fellow HBC (Hyderabad Bicycling Club) members. Krish planned to join me on the ride but called last night to inform that he could not make it. Poor guy hit a door at home yesterday and had his toe nail come out. Sounds like a painful injury. Get well soon Krish.
I woke up at 4:30am and started out by 5:25am. I decided to take my usual office commute route till high-tech city and then take ‘Madhapur police station-Jubilee Check-Post-KBR Park -Taj Krishna- Khairatabad flyover – Necklace road’ route. This route offers me a chance to encounter some gradients. Not any great slopes but would be a decent challenge for me who does not usually take that route.
As soon as I started, I could not resist myself from stopping when I saw the lake near my apartments in the morning light and stopped for a quick snap. It was nearly 5:30am but the light was decent enough for me to not having to use my headlight. The street lights were glowing and a group of GHMC workers welcomed me with broomsticks sweeping the roads clean. I moved on thinking, “We wake up early to workout and they wake up early to work. Thanks to them, I don’t have my lungs choked with raising dust when I ride”.
I got into a decent rhythm and was moving at a decent pace when a dog lazing around on the road till then, tried giving a chase. Poor thing does not know that even on my daily commute this stretch usually gives me my maximum speed ‘cause it’s a nice flat stretch with almost zero traffic. But to its credit, it was smart enough to give up the chase as soon as it started and conserve its energy for something worth its while.
By the time I got to the slopes of Jubilee hills, I was nicely warmed up and was able to take them on. The nice KBR park road stretch reminded me of how people used to take their imported bikes and cars out and race along on this road at nights. After the climbs it was nice downhill slide from Prasad’s eye hospital towards Panjagutta. I noticed a smooth stretch of road and was riding on it when I heard a rhythmic ‘tic..tic’ of the tiny gravel stones hitting my mudguards. I thought the road must have been recently laid but as I moved forward I saw the rollers etc working on the road. It was being laid. The workers seem to be working overnight and must be at the end of their day’s or night’s work rather.
I realized that riding on the smooth road that was recently laid was not a great idea when I saw the tiny stones sticking on to the tire. Long after I got off that road, they just kept clinging on to the tire and adding on to the rolling resistance. Well, lesson learnt. At Nagarjuna circle, I took a right towards Taj Krishna. It was pure joy going downhill on the road besides Taj Krishna after struggling to tame the climb near GVK one.
I reached near Necklace road at around 6:05am. Habib, Ramany garu, Jwala, Ravi Kiran and Nimesh were already waiting at the meeting place. Nimesh is a new entrant this week while a couple of them from last week could not make it this week. We had our hellos and I informed Habib that Yaser sent an SMS to me that he would be late by 10-15minutes. We decided to go ahead and start the ride on the scheduled time of 6:10am so that others could join us riding in the opposite direction.
Habib and I forged ahead while others followed. The sun was just raising and the tank bund area was quite beautiful with the choppy waters of the lake on one side and greenery shining in sun’s rays on the other. We moved on and I took a couple of photos while riding.
We almost came to the end of the first lap when we noticed that right opposite to Necklace Road MMTS station, there was a motorbike accident. We immediately stopped to see how we can help. A couple of guys were already getting the victims to the side of the road. There was blood all over one of the guys face and from the pain he was in we could tell he broke his right leg. Both of them had severe laceration injuries, one had severe head injury along with a broken leg. Neither of them wore a helmet. They must have been speeding quite a bit to not be able to tackle a gentle turn and hitting the divider in the middle of the road. I took a snap of the badly mangled motorbike lying there. I could not bring myself to photograph the victims. Poor guys were in such sorry state and were wailing badly in severe pain. I am sure the pain must have been a million times more intense than the thrill that the speed would have given them.
The police and 108 have arrived after almost 15 minutes and we decided to move on just as the 108 ambulance arrived. The ride must go on.
By this time Yaser joined us with his vintage road bike. He says that he owned it for the last 16 years and that it was already a 10 year old when he bought it. That makes it 10 years elder to Habib, the youngest rider in the group. It looks like it was hand painted yellow with red dots decorating it here and there. He told that he is apprehensive to ride it because it is showing signs of cracks in the frame. But it looked superb for me. I love the vintage look of both Yaser’s and Ravi Kiran’s bikes may be because I can foresee my bike looking better with each passing year. Hopefully. J
At the end of the first lap, Habib wanted to go to a ramp that takes us close to the water and take pictures. I joined him and I could see why he was so keen on pictures from that place. They came out beautifully. The ramp though was not completely covered with planks and if we were not careful, we would have had an early morning swimming session. We didn’t want that and were quite content with riding our bicycles. So, we were watchful.
With the first lap around the lake done, the group wanted to explore the Osmania University area. Yasir and I wanted to try another lap with an eye on speed. At this point another rider, Abhay joined us and he too wanted to try that. So, we set out on the lap and promised the group to join them at OU. We started out and maintained a steady cadence. Abhay says he started cycling only 3 months back but he was able to match up with Yasir and me with decent pace. Later I came to know that he is a basketball player and a swimmer too. Those obviously make him quite fit. The headwind on this lap was quite strong. For most part of the lap, I was ahead while both of them were trailing. But as we got past the half way mark, Yasir came and joined me and Abhay was very close to us as well. Once we are past three fourths of the distance, Yasir changed gears and began to grind them hard. I was struggling to maintain the pace that I set out with while he just zoomed past to the finishing spot. Obviously the experience of training with professionals was there to be seen. He was conserving his energy for the last dash toward the finishing point.
At this point, Abhay has excused himself to head home while Yasir and I headed towards OU. We were there in another 15 minutes and called Habib to find out their location. They were trying an off-road trail inside the university. As, we doubted if we could join them on our road bikes, Yasir suggested that we go and visit the Velodrome that was very close to the university. We called and informed the group that we would be at the Velodrome and they can join us there after the trail.
We reached the SAAP (Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh) Cycling Complex where we waited for almost 15 minutes before the group turned up and by that time, they closed the gates. Too bad we could not have a look at any practicing athletes ‘cause the practice for the season would only start from 22nd this month as per the watchman’s information. So, we decided to call it a day. The group dispersed from there towards their respective homes.
Yasir and I took the Taranaka route towards Sec’bad and we parted ways at Patny. I took the Bowenpally-Balanagar-Kukatpally-Miyapur route, Yasir headed towards, Begumpet-Panjagutta. I slowly and steadily kept my cadence to reach Miyapur by 10am where I did some Sunday shopping before reaching home.
I would have loved to have tried the off-road trail with the group in OU. They apparently had quite a bit of fun it seems. I would not miss it next time.
Stats for me:
Total distance: 73.52 km
Total riding time: 3:28:36 h
Avg Speed: 21 km/h
Max Speed: 52.6 km/h (I think it was on the exhilarating downhill ride on the road beside Taj Krishna)