The final day of the Great Malnad Challenge was an easy ceremonial ride to Kundapura. After having spent 6 days in the Western Ghats, climbing and descending some majestic hills, it was time to reach for the oceans.
From about 650m of elevation where Agumbe is, we descend to Sea level as we ride into the coastal town of Kundapur.
Before we started descending, most of us got together at the famous sunset point in Agumbe and took a group pic, digitally commemorating our ride together at GMC 2019!
The descent was full of hairpin curves and lots of traffic. We probably didn’t see as many vehicles in the entire 6 days of GMC as we did on the 7km of descent today. It also speaks volumes about the almost zero traffic we saw through the entire duration of GMC. Kudos to the team iCycle for such an amazing route.
Finishing on a High: Fun trains and Pace lines!
Once the downhill was over, I joined Aijaz, Yuvaraj and Mani for a fast paced pace line. Once I began to set pace, only found Aijaz on my wheel while the other two dropped off.
After 30k into the ride, Aijaz decided he needed a break and we stopped for fresh coconut water and waited for others to join us.
After a quick refill of bottles at the support station, Kishore, Mani, Yuvaraj, Aijaz, Sunil and his friend along with me formed a seven man pace line with me and Kishore taking charge of setting the pace. We decided to take 5 min pulls at a steady tempo to keep the group together and complete the remaining 30km as soon as possible.
After a couple of turns each from Kishore and me, Mani went to the front and set a blistering pace that broke the group up. Only Kishore, Sunil and I could follow him while the other three got dropped.
Now the steady tempo flew out with the wind and the pace became super hot. With about 10k to go, at one of the many rollers, Sunil got distanced as well. Only three of us remained and we were dropping the hammer.
We continued hammering it until we made it to the road that ran along the beach and got mesmerized by the loud waves that drowned out our own panting. We eased a bit as we rolled into our resort, ‘Coqueiros Beach Cottages’.
Competitive segment results!
In the open men category, Kishore from team Trailblazers took a comfortable win. Kiran Kumar Raju (KKR) who was leading the category withdrew from the tour after day 4 to take care of an abscess that was troubling him from day 1. He rightly put the recovery from it ahead of the result here so that he can be in top shape for the Nationals that are coming up next month. BVCoaching athlete and Spectrum Racing development team’s Manigandan finished as first runner up while iCycle’s Sunil took 3rd.
In Master’s category, yours truly took the win while Aijaz finished as first runner up followed by Dr. Prabhu Allam as 2nd runner up.
Great Job by Team iCycle!
The credit for the incredible experience we have had in the last 7 days at the Great Malnad Challenge goes to the entire team at iCycle.
The beauty and the diversity of the route they have designed is the highlight for me. The superb mix of challenging climbs, remote country roads with zero traffic along with some of most lovely trails that the region has to offer, made the route extremely enjoyable.
The route marking was exceptionally spot on with zero misses with not even one rider losing their way even in such remote routes and trails.
I honestly feel that this is an event that needs to be experienced by many more people and I hope that team iCycle could expand to take on more riders in the coming editions. Obviously readily available and agreeable accommodation will be a challenge given the remoteness of the destinations that GMC takes its riders to.
However, maybe that should not be a limiting factor for those who want to experience cycling in remote areas. Case in point, the tented accommodation at very popular events like MTB Himalaya. One might have have to forego luxury when one wants to be cycling so close to nature. That is something that might need to be explored by the team if they want to expand and service a much larger rider base.
Thanks again to team iCycle for a great experience and for all the riders on GMC for the great company!
Here is a video summary of the final day at GMC 2019!