TFN – 2012 – Day One In Preview.
TFN – 2012 – Day Two In Preview.
Madikere to Sultan Bhatery:
In Madikere you would be staying at hotel Venkateswara that is perched up on a nice hill adjacent to the road. The hotel is relatively new and very nicely maintained. You have to get all the rest you can manage since day three is going to be a bone shaking day. Get ready for a total body massage that goes bone deep, probably like you have seen never before.
For those who rode TFN-2011, part of the route would be familiar. Remember the amazingly scenic but bone shaking roads we took from Madikere towards Kannur? Well, you would get them and some more. In TFN-2011, we went to Kannur from Madikere(Day 4) where we had a rest day. We then went from Kannur to Sultanbhateri. This year, we will be directly heading to Sultanbhateri from Madikere. The route is going to be around 130km of which nearly 60% would be Paris-Roubaix type roads. One of the most scenic routes, more scenic than the next day’s route to Ooty in my opinion. So, be prepared to be astounded by the scenic beauty and also to be shaken to the bone by the P-R type roads.
The markers will be having a very busy day to ensure that people won’t lose their way on this not-so-direct a route.
On the route is Virajpet which is one of the largest manufacturers of honey in Asia and also has huge coffee and spice plantations. After taking various twists and turns passing through Virajpet and Ponnampet, we skirt the Nagarhole forest area and enter the Kerala border to ride through a beautiful forest. A must stop is a Unniappam place by the roadside where you get delicious Unniappams and soothing lemon tea. We will have to ensure that there is adequate marking on the day so that people don’t miss this place. This is a must try on the tour.
The roads through the forest are quite well paved and marked but they are quite curvy and not that wide. One needs to pay attention to the oncoming traffic as it is after all the notorious territory of Kerala drivers. After this beautiful stretch, a few kms of more bad road takes you to the last 30-35km of excellent roads until the destination for the day, Sultanbhateri. The entire route is quite rolling and seldom completely flat.
There is no competitive section for the day. You just need to survive the Paris-Roubaix type of day and be ready to take on one of the biggest climbs of the tour the following day. Be sure to enjoy the scenic beauty on the route.
During TFN-2011, a person came up to me and asked, “Venky, is it true that you were 92kgs once?” When I answered in affirmative he went on with his investigation, “How much are you now? I cannot believe it! How did you lose all that weight? How many kms did you ride? Does cycling really help?” etc.. etc.. and ended with something like, “I too want to lose weight. I will also start cycling.” Over the next few days he had a few more questions and in the process of interacting this enterprising guy with a jovial demeanor, I felt that he could actually act upon his plans and won’t stop at just by being ‘inspired’. I was not wrong.
|Srinath in his cycling avatar.. photo courtesy: Siva Sai N|
Srinath Nelavai, was there in TFN-2011 as one of the sponsors LeapSky and was there driving Siva’s support car. Looking at all the riders in TFN he got so charged up that he wanted to start cycling as soon as he went back to Singapore. He took a couple of months to act upon his plans but once he started cycling in March 2012, he took the fast track. From March till date he raked up a mileage of 7,600km riding in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. In the process he also lost 10kilos.
He now weights 68.5kgs as opposed to 78.5kgs around the same time last year. He is another example of a rider super charged with the dream of riding the Tour of Nilgiris. Inspiration may look like it is coming from other sources but it actually springs from within and so should the action that brings results. All the best, Srinath. Looking forward to seeing the new you!
To understand the importance of their presence you have to just have to talk to all the participants of TFN-2011 that owe the completion of the tour to Spectrum’s Dr. Dhanajeyan. You would end up talking to almost all of the 70 participants. The importance of the excellent support of the Sita Bhateja ambulance and emergency services was seen first hand during the 2-3 crashes on the tour last year, be it Vandit’s crash on day3, Vineeth’s crash on day 4 or Rajesh’s crash on the all important day7. The team even helped save the life of a road accident victim who was in no way related to the tour but was seen by the roadside as the tour ambulance was passing by that way along with the riders.