Mysore to Madikere:
Last year the destination of 3rd day was Madikere which now becomes the destination of 2nd day. Last year the tour went to Hassan from Mysore
on the second day and then from Hassan to Madikere
on the 3rd day. This year, Hassan did not make it onto the tour and we go directly to Madikere from Mysore. As I remember from last year the road conditions are pretty good. The route goes via Bilkere, Hunsur, Periyapatna and Kushalnagar.
While Hunsur and Periyapatna are predominantly tobacco harvesting towns, Bylakuppe
is more known for its Tibetian settlement and monasteries. Just a short distance after Bylakuppe we approach Kushalnagara where we cross the beautiful Kaveri river. I vaguely remember seeing dashes of yellow in the form of sunflower plantations on the route.
Competitive Section: Suntikoppa- Madikere:
Just outside Suntikoppa
, known for its coffee and pepper plantations, our first climbing stage of the tour begins. It is a 10km climb after you ride about 100km for the day. Last year, we took this on after riding almost 170km but most of still did very well. Provided you pace yourself well and keep yourself well fed and hydrated during the 100km to get there, one should be able to tackle it well.
The 10km climb is not as fearsome as it sounds because it is not a continuous climb with terrifying gradients. It actually has quite a few flat/downhill stretches that give respite to the legs. That helps you to keep going hard with a few seconds of respite in between. The flat/downhill stretches in the 10km with 300m of elevation gain meant that it is not a steady 3% gradient and the climb gets slightly steeper at a few places.
Those downhill stretches in between were also very winding and technical. You could gain a lot of speed in these stretches and need to be careful to watch out for debris and/or potholes on the road. Last year, Vandit had a bad crash as his rear tire hit a small stone at great speed resulting in a pinch flat which sent his bike fishtailing for a few meters before crashing badly. His tour was over that day although he finished that stage on a borrowed bike.
I think it is again not purely a climber’s stage as such although climbers like Jeff Schmidt started showing their true colors with this stage last year. Mark Anderson finished 12 secs ahead of Rajesh Nair in this stage last year.
Madikere is the capital of Kodugu(a.k.a Coorg) district of Karnataka. It is a popular tourist destination in western ghats with numerous hills and valleys offering idyllic views. It apparently got its name Mudduraja who ruled Kodugu from 1633-1687 and was formerly known as Muddu raja keri which means Mudduraja’s town.
You can hike around the beautiful hills and valleys or go visit historical places like Madikere fort etc. I heard that tea starts to taste better from here.
For those of us who rode the tour last year, Shailendra Goyal is better known as super supportive father of the 14 yr old Rishi Goyal, who rode the tour last year. He paid for the tour not to ride but to be there and support his son who was riding. He also showed that he had a great eye and clicked great clicks of the riders and the beauty on the tour. Having seen his son and other riders ride the tough tour, he got inspired to take up cycling himself with the aim of completing the tour one day. This father-son duo seem to be inspiring each other.
|Shylendra Goyal.. Pic from his FB profile..
He took up cycling, began regular training and signed up for the tour this year. But it looked quite unlikely that he would be able to come to the tour when during a morning ride, a pothole sent him flying on the road and straight into a 35day bed rest with a fractured leg in August. Fortunately he was able to recover well and got back to training again. So, his dream of completing the tour would become a reality this Dec 23rd when he completes the final stage of Montra Tour of Nilgiris 2012. All the best Shilendra!
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