An easy day in the saddle yesterday, on Day 2 of TFN is followed by three back to back epic days. First of those was today’s ride from Chikkamagalur to Kushalnagara! The ride of 140km through rolling terrain is made all the more tougher by some really rough stretches of road.
The ride was flagged of by friends of TFN from Chikkamagalur, Javed Parvez, Dr. Kaushik Sargod, his brother Prateek Sargod along with Dr. Nikhila and Wheelsports Venky. Dr. Nikhila was part of the TFN family as a volunteer 2 years ago.
As we started riding, the morning chill was slightly alleviated by the raising sun.
Best Anniversary Gift Ever!
Kshitij Mapuskar and I started riding together. The asset management consultant from Singapore who is originally from Mumbai apparently came to know about Tour of Nilgiris through this blog and it stayed on his bucket list for a while.
Early this year he hesitantly proposed to his wife about his idea of participating in TFN. He very much expected a push back since their 10th anniversary falls during TFN.
But, to his surprise and utter delight, she readily agreed and encouraged him to do it, fully knowing that he loves cycling and he had been wanting to take part in TFN for a long time. Yesterday was their anniversary and he feels that this was the best anniversary gift he has received from the love of his life!
From Being A Big Guy to Just A Guy with a Big Heart!
Kshitij had always been a big guy. He loved his food and it showed. And how! He used to be 123kgs until 2015 and used to struggle with quite a few medical issues that tend to accompany obesity.
Wanting to finally break out of the cycle of gluttonous eating and frequently falling sick, he decided to start eating healthy and exercising. The following eight months in 2015 saw him stay on track with his no carbs diet. In the process, he lost all the flab until he reached 78kgs that he is currently at.
He has been cycling for the last 3 years and loves to push himself to the limits on the bike. He says being at TFN this year has been the best cycling experience he ever had and that he is definitely going to come back next year, probably with his wife next time.
The Race Segment:
60km into the ride we had the race segment for the day. The 10km segment starts with a 3km downhill followed by a bit of a climbing and rolling terrain.
As I started the effort in the race segment, I immediately felt the need to keep the pace under control during the downhill. It was not only technical but the tree cover and the resultant shadows made it impossible to spot the potholes that were in plenty.
Told myself to keep calm and stay on the bike and get through the bad downhill section. Once the road started looking up, my power and heart rate also automatically went up. I dug in deep and pushed as hard as I could, to make up for the lost time.
Some guys had close calls on the downhill but no one has any serious issues. However, Mehir Anant Joshi hit a pothole hard and immediately punctured. A few villagers surrounded him and provided moral support while he changed the tube and pumped air into it. One guy even helped with pumping towards the end.
After the race segment, we rode to lunch point that was less than a km away for savoring the freshly cooked meal.
After lunch we still had 70km to cover and we started riding without spending too much time off the saddle.
We formed a nice group with, Ravi Konda, Rahul Nair, Pradeep Nair, Mihir Joshi, Howard Millar, Murali Ramakrishnan, Nikhil Badwe, Kshitij, KKR and myself.
Although with the bad roads, drafting was almost impossible, we kept moving at a steady clip and moved from support station to support station.
KKR was beginning to feel the stiff shoulders with his pushups at the support stations and wondering why he ever started them. But, it doesn’t seem to be affecting his riding in anyway. At one point excited to see some smooth tarmac, he increased the pace so much that only I managed to stay on his wheel. It felt good to be able to hang on.
After a long and tough but beautiful ride, we made it to the Purple Palms resort in Kushalnagara to end the day.
In Women’s Category Avanti Biniwale took another win followed by Dhanashri Bapat at 2nd and Mukta Kumar at 3rd. Khushboo stays at 4th.
In Under 45 category, the top 5 positions remained the same with KKR and DP being top two. I’m at 3rd overall. Mani and Kshitij have just 28 secs difference between them and continue to fight a good fight.
Unlucky for Mihir, his flat lost him a major chunk of time and moved from 8th in the GC to 16th in GC.
In 45 and above, the top positions remained same with Tarun taking the top step and Murali taking 2nd with Avinash Phadnis at 3rd.
Day 3 Video Below
Tomorrow we head out to SultanBhateri from Kushalnagara. It is another long day at 140km distance with a 12km after riding 120km+. The elevation profile resembles a saw edge with the road constantly going up and down. It is going to be a pretty long day.