Montra Tour of Nilgiris – 2012 – Day Five – Rest Day in Ooty

Gorgeous blue skies all through the day!

From Breakfast to Lunch to Dinner..:

The curse for the most cyclists is to wake up early even on a rest day. It didn’t matter that yesterday was one of the toughest days of the tour and I slept late finishing up the blog post for yesterday. I was up and about by 5:30am. Once the morning ablutions were done, it was time to wash all the smelly cycling clothes of the last four days and dry them out in the morning sun. With one of the most important tasks for the rest day completed, I was ready for the most important task. Eating, of course!
When we were told that the breakfast would be served only around 9am, Tirath Singh, a chef by profession made some batches of Maggie to hold us till the breakfast time. Mohan, Gautam and I joined the Delhigang of Chetan Gupta, Varun Sanon, Amar Gujral and Abhishek Gupta and finished it off standing outside and enjoying the morning sun. When the call for breakfast came we were also one of the first to raid the food.
Courses Aplenty..Stories Galore..:
Since we did not need to run out for the ride immediately after the breakfast we were chatting along leisurely and sharing stories while licking off multiple servings of broached eggs, idlis, poha upma, pongal, toasted bread with jam/butter, cornflakes and payasam.
Story of the Day: Love Lost and Found:
All we bikers know how much we fuss over our bikes and how much we love them. One of the interesting stories I heard this morning was about Naveen John’s bike. The Specialized Allez bike that he rides now is one of the basic road bikes from Specialized range. But it is quite special to him not only because it is the bike he first started racing on four years ago in the US, but also because it was stolen two years ago and found him again after five months in pristine condition. Apparently, after a training ride in winter he came home and left the bike covered in snow and mud in his second floor balcony for cleaning. He found it missing after an hour.
NJ’s specialized Allez.. Photo from his first race after coming back to India..
He was quite understandably distraught. He printed posters and distributed around the neighborhood and all the bike shops in the area and even in surrounding states. But as months passed the bike was no where to be found. After around five months when he completely gave up any hopes of finding it, he received a call from a friend who works in a bike shop saying that he found his bike. He initially brushed it off thinking that his friend was kidding. But when he went to the bike shop, it was indeed his bike and in perfect condition.
Apparently his friend recognized the bike when he saw that it was being ridden by a guy and followed him into a coffee shop. When he made sure that it was indeed NJ’s bike, he confronted the guy who was riding it. That guy apparently bought it for $300 four months back and immediately gave the bike up unconditionally when he understood that it was a stolen bike. That is the same bike he still rides and wins races on. Although he is most likely to be racing on a new specialized carbon bike that he’d get from his team, this bike always remains special to him.
Laughing Away The Time:
After listening to a few more interesting stories at breakfast tables, I moved out into the sun to enjoy the sunlight. There was a stand up comedy act going on with the ever lively Ashwin Bhatia where he was describing about all the new things he learnt on the tour like pedaling with the arms, levitating one inch above the saddle to avoid saddle sores among other similarly helpful tips. After our facial muscles and stomach muscles got a great workout with all the laughing, we managed to silence Ashwin for a while and asked Prasant Tidke to share his Paris-Brest-Paris ride experience.
Rider of the Day:
Prasant Tidke started cycling in Jan 2011. With in a short span he completed all of the 200 km, 300 km, 400 km and 600 km brevet rides and qualified for Paris-Brest-Paris(PBP) Brevet ride of August 2011. He was one of the first 15 riders from Indiawho participated in the prestigious PBP, which is a 1230 km self supported ride that needs to be completed in a cut off time of 90 hours. Unfortunately he had to give up after riding 1100 km due to a knee injury that he developed during the ride did not allow him to move further. He was quick to learn that it was the lack of proper training that did him in.
Prasant.. killing it in a competitive section.. Photo: Chetan Ram
He now trains more regularly on the bike and also does a ride and hike workout every Thursday with his Pune friends. He says he is at least 25% fitter this year than when he went for PBP. No one who saw him climbing yesterday on Ooty can doubt that. He did the Ooty climb in 1hr 18 mins which was the second fastest time in Master’s category. The 62kg diminutive rider is going to turn 50 next year and wants to do less but more focused riding in the future and may be try to appear for PBP-2015. All the best Prashant!
End of The World or The New Beginning?:
After spending the afternoon pulling the Apple fanboy, Sapeksh Madan’s leg with jokes on Apple products and teasing the race leader Shailaja Sridhar about her obsession with pink(she even has a bright pink bike box), we got ready for rider photoshoot.
There was a surprise waiting for all of us including Usha Prasad when Ashwin Bhatia decided to address her allegation that his earlier proposal to marry her was nothing like it is shown in the movies and was pretty unromantic. So, he went on his knee in front of the whole TFN gang and gifted a ring asking her to ride with him for the rest of his life. What a romantic cycling couple they make! The entire TFN gang wished them a great ride ahead with thundering cheers!
21-12-2012… End of the world they said.. A new beginning he said.. 
It was a rest day well spent that ended with a romantic bang. Tomorrow is a big day with a tough ride in prospect. 

Check out the preview of tomorrow’s ride to see what is in store for us.

Also Read:

Day 1: Bangalore to Mysore
Day 2: Mysore to Madikere

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