The Bulldog Meets Nandi

…And Survives to tell the tale 🙂

Hmm.. Nandi!? Not So Sure!
The legs were a feeling quite tired after the yesterday’s run. I didn’t run for almost 6 months and went out and did a 5k as I didn’t go out and ride. I actually walked for most of the distance. But still the running muscles were making their displeasure known.

The plan was to join Deepak for a ride to Nandi. After the run, I was not so sure about today’s ride. Yesterday, I almost sent out a message to Deepak saying that I would join him another time. But stopped and told myself that I would see how it would feel in the morning. The situation was not all that different when I woke up at 4 am. But I decided to get on the bike and ride anyway.

I wanted to see how I would feel after reaching the base and then decide if I want to try the climb. I went to Nandi on my motorbike three weeks back just to get a feel for the climb. I was pretty sure that I would be alright till about 5 km. The last two would be tougher. So, I wanted to climb just 5 km if I can.

As I made it to Hebbal, another rider (Anil Kadsur) joined me. He was looking to do a 100k on Bellari road. We rode together for a while before I went ahead to reach Nandi base. Deepak and his better half Shalini were already there unpacking the bikes and getting them ready for the climb.

Okay! You want to climb!?
I made it to the base at an easy pace of around 22 kmph. I was feeling alright. So, I decided to see how the climb would go. Since I didn’t want to beat my legs to pulp after how they felt yesterday, I’ve decided to take it as it comes. I wanted to go only as fast as I can with out my heart rate climbing faster than me.

I just wanted to survive. But the Bulldog was excited to be climbing again. It misses the hills after all the climbing it did in Vermont. It started climbing. I was just trying to stay in the saddle and watch the heart rate and breathing.

I didn’t want to stand up and push as it would bring the heart rate up in no time. I was glad that I put on clip-less pedals on it today for the first time. When I was in Vermont, all my climbing had been with toe-clip pedals which I didn’t tighten. So, I couldn’t pull up on the pedals and ended up mostly standing up and mashing whenever the gradient got tougher. Now, I could stay on the saddle and push on the pedal with one leg while simultaneously trying to pull with the other leg. I thought it helped me stay in the saddle and not get tired easily.

I was just looking at my front tire and about four feet ahead and didn’t want to look too far ahead. From the Smugglar’s Notch and Bethel Mt climb experiences where I struggled, I knew only too well what the sight of a long climbing road would make to my mind and thus the body. Although the road was winding and did not offer the view of the road too far at any point in time, I played safe and avoided looking too far ahead as much as I can. But, I turned my head sideways a few times to catch a few fleeting glimpses of the amazing views as the Bulldog climbed. Beautiful scenery bathed in the morning sun. I had to stop myself giving into the temptation of wanting to take out the phone and take photos.


It was like meditation with an attempt to keep the breathing steady. I didn’t want the breathing go heavy but as I approached 5 km mark, I missed taking an easier line on the hairpin bend and ended up unclipping just in time. I stopped. Hit the lap button on the Garmin and it was 28 mins 25 secs for 5.31 km (checked later). I regained my breath and started immediately again. The hair pin bends and elevation becomes a bit more challenging from here on. But I tried to stay in the saddle as much as I can.

I had to stop another time as I was approaching the last hair-pin bend as the heart rate was going haywire. After a few seconds, regained composure and started again. Within no time I could see the arch and felt elated. I was surprisingly feeling fresh. May it was the elation of having surprised myself. May be the strategy of not bothering about the time it took and just looking to survive worked.

What!? A Second Time!?
As I relaxed and took a few snaps at the top, Deepak made his way up. He was surprised that I could make it up there. I was just happy that I survived. “Want to do one more time?” He asked. “Well, I feel quite alright now but I have another 66 km to get home”, I said. He then offered me a ride home and that sealed the deal. The Bulldog was raring to go. It flew downhill in 12 mins and 10 secs. I was applying brakes to control the cadence whenever it was going off the charts. It was a fantastic decent as well.

The second climb was more painful. I followed the same slow and steady approach by staying on the saddle. I again had to stop at almost the same spot around 5 km mark. With the sun now fully up, I was sweating profusely and the muscles were showing signs of stress. I almost gave up and sent Deepak a message that I am giving up and going down to base from 5km. Then after I regained my breath, I decided to try it anyway. I had to stop more than a couple of times after that too to catch my breath and drink water. It was almost impossible to stay on the saddle with tired muscles. So I stood up and mashed. As I fought my way back to the top, Deepak did two and half climbs and was relaxing there.

I ran out of water and was spent. I’m glad that I did it again. It was well worth it.

As we descended, we met Shalini who did one complete climb and half of it a couple of times. She is getting better every time she rides. Why won’t she? She’s got a great husband for a ride partner and to guide her. Thanks for the company and the ride home guys.
The elevation profile from the ride: The Bulldog likes the happy ears 🙂

3 thoughts on “The Bulldog Meets Nandi

  1. Girish, the elevation is consistantly around 6% gradient till about 5 km into the climb but gets steeper there after for the last 2 km. The 4-5 hairpin bends in the last 2 km coupled with steeper gradient and traffic in makes it difficult to find the right line to climb.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.