The first three days at TFN we had completely new routes that have never been done in the last 11 editions. Out of them, the ride from Chikkamagalur to Kushalnagara was the most tiring.
Both the ride to SultanBhateri and to Ooty from there, after familiar to those who has done TFN before. They are killer rides on their own. However, when you put them after three hard days of riding as day four and five, it’ll push their difficulty level up by a few more notches.
That’s what makes TFN special and challenging for even riders who have been on the tour multiple times. It’s never easy and you can never be complacent.
ECG graph On The Road!
The ride profile of the route from Kushalnagara to SultanBhateri reminds one of an ECG graph with the road constantly pointing either up or down with very little flat sections.
Everyone is worried about the Kalahatty on day 5 but to get there one needs to deal with the ride that delivers death by rollers.A few of us knew it’s going to be a long day and hence decided to keep moving without wasting much time at the support stations.
Of course, KKR still got his pushups done at the support stations and got the other riders and volunteers also to join him.
Thankfully, it was overcast and cool until noon. But, by the time we completed lunch, the sun came out in full glory. It quickly became hot and was quite taxing.
Enjoying Unniappams on the route! PC: Manigandan
The steep kickers seemed never ending. The same old doubts of ‘what will I do tomorrow on Kalahatty if I’m struggling on these kickers!?’ come to haunt the mind.However, when we got to the Unniappam shop on the route, we forgot all the fears and savored Unniappam and lemon tea before heading to the race segment.
To add to the difficulty, the race segment for the day comes right at the end, after riding 125km of rollers. The 12km CS segment is a series of 3 small climbs followed by 3 fast descents.
I started out very ambitiously and hit the first climb hard. The plan was to recover on the downhill and repeat hitting the next hill hard again. However, by the time I got to the last hill, it became impossible to keep the power up. The legs were cooked.
I somehow managed to get over it and tried to make up for it on the downhill to the finish line.
Watch the days video here
Cycling Volunteer Couple!
Three years ago when their son wanted to ride a bicycle to school, they were worried for his safety. Chaitanya, who’s a solution architect in an IT company, found a solution to alleviate that worry.
He picked up two bikes, one for his son and one for himself. He wanted to ride along with his son to ensure his safety until he gets used to riding safely.
While his son got pretty adept at it, Chaitanya got hooked to cycling for good and started riding longer on the weekends. His son sometimes joined him. His wife, Rajeswari didn’t want to miss the fun and started cycling one and half years ago making it a family affair with cycling.
Apart from taking their son on the bike rides they both started taking part in brevets and completed 200km and 300km brevets.
Chaitanya regularly volunteers at Bangalore Cycling community events including the BBCH races in Bangalore. His friend, Ashok who volunteers at TFN got him to volunteer at TFN last year as part of the race timing crew.
This year both Chaitanya and Rajeswari are volunteering at TFN.While Chaitanya is part of the timing crew, Rajeswari, who runs a recruiting firm, is heading the hospitality division at TFN this year.
On days like today when everyone is super tired, Rajeswari makes sure that everyone is super comfortable with everything running smoothly once they reach the hotel.Thanks to volunteers like these two and the 30 odd others that make Tour of Nilgiris as awesome as it is. Thank you, guys!
The day’s ride saw a lot of riders missing the cutoff and ended up being out of GC. However, the top positions in the GC for each of the catogories remained more or less unchanged.
For anyone to change positions now, there is only one chance on the climbing segment on day 7 in Ooty. It might be difficult to put too much time on a short climb but for thin figures like Mani, who’s just 51 secs away from podium in Under 45 category, it’s possible.
In 45 and above category also the last position on the podium is possibly up for grabs with the gaps between 3, 4 and 5 being less than a minute.It’ll be interesting to see if the 4km 7% climb on Ooty is going to help these people climb on to the podium.
The mighty Kalahatty is what’s ahead. Enough said!