After an epic day riding around Kalasa on day 4, the longest day on the tour was on offer today. The ride from Kalasa to Agumbe goes through the beautiful Kudremukh National Park!
Kudremukh National Park!
The 48km stretch that spans the entry and exit of the National Park was the timed race section for the day. It was set to test the endurance of all of us with a fair bit of climbing and descending thrown in.
The long segment struck fear in the hearts of all the riders. Pacing oneself for such a long effort becomes tricky. It is easy to go overboard with intensity at the start only to pay the price and struggle later. I decided to take it a bit easy and just get through the day.
The segment started with a short climb followed by a descent. It was followed by a series of climbs as we passed ghat after ghat. Thankfully, they were gradual climbs with mostly single digit gradients.
The descents that followed the climb were exhilarating and with very little traffic we could take them fast. I was keeping Yuvaraj in sight and could see him on most of the climbs but he would disappear on the downhills. Having someone in sight was helpful mentally in such a long effort. As we approached the finish line, I caught up to him on a climb and just finished a couple of seconds ahead of him.
We rested for a bit at the finish line as we were quite early for lunch that was arranged about 8km from there.
A traditional lunch was arranged at the home of an elderly gentleman in the region by the name of Achyutha Bhattaru. The house is called Doddamane(The Big Home).
Among other things, his Ash Pumpkin Halwa is quite popular among the GMC riders who were there before. Once we got there, we had to remove our footwear, wash our hands and legs before we could get started with the traditional fare.
Every item on the menu was simple and extremely tasty. It was the highlight of the day. It was the the first time I touched a sweet on the tour and it was definitely worth it.
After feeding us with delicious food, they also provided a sheet for us to lie down on and take a nap.
It was difficult to get up and get going again after such a nice lunch and a sound nap. But, with another 30km to go to reach our destination, Agumbe, we better get going.
It was beautiful ride to Agumbe through the internal roads. Once we got there, we quickly freshened up and visited the famous sunset point. Unfortunately, there was no sun to be seen as it just rained and it was still overcast.
Very near our hotel in Agumbe is the house where Narayanan’s ‘Malgudi Days’ was shot. It is now a tourist attraction in the region and most visit for the fans of the famous television series of the yester years.
Day 5 in video!