It is Saturday and time for another ride with our HBC guys. It was initially planned as a ride to Medak that would be about 97km and comeback by loading the bicycles on some vehicle. However, that would mean that I would not be able to join them for the whole distance as I had an appointment at 11am. Thankfully though the plan was changed to a ride to Narsapur and back as most people that were to join the ride had some other commitments during the early afternoon. A ride to Narsapur and back would mean that the trip distance would more or less remain the same around higher nineties.
It has been more than six months since I’ve done my first century ride towards Vikarabad with Krish and I longed for a second one. So, to ensure that this would be that second century for me, I started at 5:07am and rode to Gachibowli although, the group planned to pass through Miyapur at 6am. This would mean that I’ve added another 9km to the distance that the group would do to ensure that I complete a century.
I reached Gachibowli sharp at 5:30 where Karthik and Matt were already waiting. We waited for another couple of minutes for Shay to join and started towards Miyapur where Samrat, Sunil and Sudanshu would join us.
We headed out on the road towards Gandi Maisamma where we have to take left to be on the Medak road. Sudanshu had a problem with his front wheel wobbling and touching the brakes which was slowing him down considerably and tiring him out. As the rest of the guys moved on ahead and nowhere to be seen, I stopped to help him remove his wheel and align it properly.
As we approached Gandi Maisamma we saw Shay, Matt and Sunil coming back to meet us. That’s one of the many things I like about riding with this group. The ride leader always tries to keep track of even the slowest of the riders and brings them up to speed even if it means riding back and forth for kilometers together instead of just waiting. It just makes you feel more secure because more often than not we tend to ride in exploration mode exploring unknown areas and discovering new trails.
We stopped briefly at Gandi Maisamma and took left to get on the Medak road. Our next stop was at Dindigal Air Force Academy where some of us had a banana each from those I brought along in my panniers and gulped some water. It was 7:10am and we are on schedule to reach Narsapur around 8am and take the route to Patancheru from there.
The route mostly passes through a huge forest reserve. Apparently many movie shootings take place in those Narsapur forests. What it is more famous for though is the huge number of monkeys that vie for your attention on the route. You get to see monkeys of all forms, sizes and shapes. From tiny to the huge; from red faced to red based; From suave looking to extremely mischievous. They were visible all along the route; sparse at places and in hoards at some.
We stopped by at a small Hanuman (The Monkey God) temple on the way and posed for photos. We tried desperately to use the hand pump that was there to draw water to wash away the grime on our faces. For all our efforts, it was just giving water in trickles but we managed with that and moved towards Narsapur which was now about 2km away.
At Narsapur we stopped by a small Udipi hotel and bought some water to fill our bottles. We inquired there on the routes that would take us back to Hyderabad. When the route suggested by the local guys agreed with those on Matt’s and Shay’s maps, we took left at a junction to be on the route towards Sangareddy.
A couple of kilometers into the route towards Sangareddy, Shay had a flat tire. We all stopped as Matt and Shay replaced the tube. Out of nowhere, Ed appeared. We thought he dropped off the trip as he had to take a con-call but here he was joining us after 60km of non-stop riding as the call concluded earlier than he expected. Amazing bunch of guys with amazing passion for cycling.
In the meanwhile, a person stopped by on his motor cycle and was quizzing us about our whereabouts. Apparently he is a journalist from Eenaadu, the largest selling Telugu daily. After fixing the tire we posed for him and off we went.
For most of the time, I was trailing the group and I had a chance to move ahead when the Sunil, Shay and Ed were riding back to make sure everyone of the group is on track. I was mentally chiding myself for not riding better and determined not to slow others down anymore, I began moving at decent pace and steady cadence. Only Karthik was ahead of me and I expected Shay and others to go past me any moment.
I was so engrossed in the thought of maintaining a steady pace that I saw the sign post that read ‘Patancheru 22km’ but failed to note the arrow mark pointing to left. Even when the mind was saying that the others were taking too long a time to come in to view I was trying to silence it by telling it that I was getting better with my pace. Karthik got a call and stopped to take it and I foolishly took it as an opportunity to go further ahead. After about 5-10mins I got a call and it was Sunil who called me to say that I missed the left turn and went ahead. It was he who called Karthik too asking him to turn back. Now my mind began to ridiculing me for not listening to its warnings. I tried to ignore it and turned back to ride for about 10-15 minutes to reach Sunil and others who were waiting at a stall having their refreshments.
I checked on my Nokia sports tracker and it was reading 78km at that point. There was a board reading Patancheru 22km which means I would complete a century by reaching Patancheru and Miyapur would be about 12km from there. Not bad I thought. A little bit of breather and we started again. This time though I made sure I had at least one rider in my vicinity. Samrat was riding with me all the way till we reached a school 4km from Patancheru where Matt and Sunil were waiting for us swarmed by a group of curious school kids. We bought some water there took some pictures with the kids and started out again.
As I rode past a toll gate at Patancheru I was pleased to note that two wheelers and more importantly bicycles were spared. I was pleased that I managed a century by reaching Patancheru but it was already 11:05am by that time. I was late for my appointment already. I decided against any breaks and began to ride steadily when Samrat joined me as he needs to go by Miyapur too. I bid him adieu at Hafizet junction and reached home by 11:45am around 45minutes late to my appointment. I was tired but immensely satisfied for managing a 113km ride in a reasonably good time.
For me riding with the group has been much fun. I get to meet lots of people and get to learn much from them while having fun cycling around in scenic locations not worrying about getting lost.
The new people I met on this ride were Karthik and Samrat. Karthik was on comeback trail after being away from cycling for 6months due to a fracture from a freak staircase accident. He comes from Jubilee hills area which means he must have completed well over 130 km by the time he reached home. What a come back ride! Samrat is another guy I met for first time on this ride. This guy apparently went to Enduro last year along with Sunil and others; by the way he rode on this ride it appears he is ready for this years addition too. Sudanshu rides at a steady pace. It seems he doesn’t mind any distance and rides on his own terms.
Sunil is a cool guy with a maniacal passion for cycling. Ed comes across as someone with a great sense of humor and more often than not his jokes are on himself. He is also one of the fittest. Matt is a kind hearted gentleman although he competes in Iron man contests and looks every bit of an Iron man. Shay, Shay baba as most of the guys at HBC call him is an amazing person; seems silent but is very witty. Looking at my hawk, he told me that he started out with a similar cycle and that it took him 5000 km and 1year to realize that he was serious about cycling. That was 21 years ago and he is 35 now. Its not even 21 months since I started; in fact not even an year. Amazing bunch of people I get to ride with. I am loving it!!
Here is the link to the photos:
Photos From Sunil’s cam: http://picasaweb.google.com/HBCSunil/LoopAroundNarsapur?authkey=Gv1sRgCPH2lLmZiOKYIw&feat=email#