The 12th edition of the Tour of Nilgiris was flagged off this morning from Mysore!
It saw 60 riders and 40 volunteers coming together to explore some of the best routes in the region. The first day’s destination was Hassan.
Once the tour was flagged off, riders quickly picked up the speed, eager to get going through Sunday morning Mysore. Even as we were getting out of the city, the Royal palaces bid us goodbyes while smiling brightly in the morning sunshine.
I started riding with Venkatesh Sivarama, lovingly referred to as Wheelsports Venky. A much loved and respected figure in the Bangalore Cycling community. He was riding a beautiful classic Colnago steel lugged bike. Both the bike and Venky were part of the very first TFN in 2008! Both of them have long history in cycling. It was a pleasure riding along as shared tidbits from his younger days spent racing at Nationals and races like Bombay-Pune race etc.
Sahyadri Classic Duo!
Dr. Aditya Ponkshe and Dr. Avinash Phadnis have done TFN in 2017 for the first time and fell completely in love with the tour. They came back last year and went back so inspired by the experience that they wanted to recreate that experience even for just a day. They came up with an unique and challenging event called the Sahyadri Classic which had it’s first and successful run last month. When two classy gentlemen conceptualize a classic race inspired by a classy event, of course, it’s going to be awesome. Wishing the one day race a great success in the future editions too!
Dr. Avinash was in his hospital seeing patients till 8pm yesterday and made it to Mysore at 3am to join his partner in crime at the start of the tour that they both love so much.
Riding on with DP, Venky, Mani and Kshitij
The race segment for the day was a short but not so sweet 9km section of rolling terrain. Short segment just means people are forced to go that much harder. I started out hard and tried to keep going hard but it was difficult to keep pushing on the downhill portions. 7km into the race section, Dipankar, who started about 30-40 secs behind me, managed to catch me. I tried to keep him in sight and keep the pace going. It felt good to be able to push again and not feel completely pathetic while doing it.
School Lunch Break!
Right after the race section was over, the lunch was arranged for us in a big school campus. Although it was a Sunday, quite a few curious kids made it there to watch and interact with us.
They even posed for pictures with us alien looking beings.
After a yummy lunch of freshly cooked Akki rottis and other delicious dishes, we started riding again towards Hassan.
Fun Challenge! But, Tougher Than Everesting Challenge?
Kiran Kumar Raju who was back from taking part in the South Asian championships in Nepal, proposed a challenge to Dipankar, who just finished an Everesting on Nandi by climbing it 22 times in about 17hrs. He suggested that DP should do 20 pushups each at each of the support stations on the tour so that he can cross 500 pushups during the 8 days of the tour. I guess for a cyclist with puny arms, a push-up challenge is going to be a Himalayan task for sure.
DP however, didn’t take the bait. Maybe KKR himself is going to get started on it and get others started on it.
A happy bunch of riders at Ashhok Hotel in Hassan!
In Under 45 category, KKR, quite unsurprisingly, took the win on the day. Dipankar Paul finished 30 secs in 2nd place. Manigandan took 3rd on the day. Impressive ride by the young man who bet his coach by 1 sec. 🙂
In 45 and above, Tarun Kumar took the win while Murali finished 2nd. Dr. Avinash Phadnis took 3rd on the day in the category!
In Women’s Category, Dhanashri Bapat from Pune took the win. Avanti from Pune to 2nd while Mukta Kumar finished 3rd in the category!
Day 1 always reveals for everyone who’s strong and who they are competing with. It makes the races in the coming days more exciting!
Tomorrow is a 95km ride to Chikkamagalur with a 10km competitive section. It is going to be a scenic route which passes by quite a few temples of Hoysala architecture.
You can watch the day 1 video that’s uploaded on my YouTube channel here: