Tunga seemed to be filled with millions of shiny diamonds as it shown in the morning Sun.
The reflections of those shiny diamonds followed us for a long time and ushered us into the green cover of the Badra Wildlife Sanctuary.
The million green hues of the waking forest began to come to life as the thin sheet of fog lifted and began to fill our hearts with joy.
Flow When You Can!
The flat terrain and the butter smooth tarmac of the Badra Wildlife Sanctuary brought out the inner cravings for speed from a bunch of us.
The big peloton that formed as we got out of Shimoga quickly broke into smaller groups that stretched into single file formation and began to unleash some speed.
We were enjoying the speed and the single file of riders felt like a raging river jumping about from sudden torrential downpour up stream.
Until The Dam Stops You!
I was enjoying the spinning legs gaining steam, tucked away towards the end of the train. Suddenly, I felt my crank jamming up. It felt like the chain got struck somewhere. Thankfully, I had a bit of speed to carry and quickly signalled the riders at the back that I’m stopping. Rolled to the left of the road, coming to a stop as the train took off.
The dam that stopped my flow was a jammed casette. I must have been a little too delicate while installing the rear casette earlier this month. The lock ring on the casette came loose and got struck, locking the freewheel up.
If I get to choose to get stuck somewhere, the spot in that forest would definitely make the list. Once I realised that I needed a casette tool to tighten it, I tried calling the support staff. But, of course, there was no signal in the forest.
Thankfully, a fellow rider, Abhijit, stopped to help. He had a support car following him and he offered to have me driven back to find the organizers. But, when I decided to wait at the spot, he left the car and the driver with me in case I need help. He rode ahead and called Chethan Ram to inform him that I need help as soon he got into the range of a cell tower.
Cadence90 bike support, Bala, appeared within 5 mins and saved the day by sorting my wheel out.
By that time my Shimoga Sri Meenakshi Bhavan Dosa eating contest partner, Kiran Venkatesh, got there and waited for me.
We had a blast of a ride the rest of the way to the breakfast point with Kiran and I putting those Dosas to good use and turning a tiny portion of them into sweat.
Boarding The Rapha Train!
After breakfast at 34km mark, I joined Ashwin Gururaj, Arun Shankar and gang for the rest of the ride.
Ashwin apparently earned himself a nick name as Rapha among his cycling friends as he unwittingly ended up spending an ungodly amount for a single Rapha jersey along with paying a bomb for customs for the same.
It is fun to see them chanting ‘Rapha..Rapha!’ every time he gets out of the saddle and disappears up a climb.
Aswin used to be a 93kg heavy weight back in 2011 and decided to shed all the sedentary kilos he piled on. He started working out in gym but it was when he picked up running in 2013 that he started seeing big results. Triathlon bug eventually caught him with Goa Tri and that’s when he picked up a bike in 2019. Since then he has put in a ton of mileage on the bike and has become stronger and faster.
The way he loves to smash up every hill, I’m sure he will get even stronger with time.
He says he enjoys coming back to TOK every year because of the laid back nature of the event and lovely friends he gets to ride with in beautiful routes.
The Hot and Humid Coastal Plains!
We reached Agumbe and started descending down the steep ghat. There were a few trucks struggling to get up the steep hairpin curves as we snaked through the struck vehicles and made our way down the ghat.
As soon as we completed the descent and reached the plains, the difference is quite palpable. The sweltering heat and the sweaty humidity was almost unbearable after a couple of days spent in a much cooler altitude.
We made it to the lunch point (107km) at Seetanaadi and devoured any cold beverage that we get our hands on. Thankfully there were some fresh lime sodas to be had and it helped immensely. After a leisurely lunch, we started riding towards Udupi which was another 40km away.
After lunch, in the sweltering heat, every uphill felt taller and longer. Every bit of shade a tree offered felt like a blessing. Of course, we eventually have to get out of the shade and move on if we were to get to our destination for the day, Udupi. We made it to our hotel in Udupi by 2pm and immediately enjoyed a cold shower.
Father Son Duo At TOK!
Vishnu Bhatt did his first Tour of Karnataka in 2016. That was the 2nd edition of the tour. From then he never missed an edition of the tour.
This year is his 6th TOK and it is a special one because he is joined by his 22 year old son, Vishwa Bhatt.
Vishwa has always been active in sports but endurance activity like cycling is new to him. Having completed his BTech recently and having joined a start up, he readily agreed to join his dad when he suggested doing TOK this year.
In the months leading up to the TOK, he got a bike and started his practice rides. Today’s 148km ride is his longest ride. The youngster seems to be loving it. All the best ahead for the dashing duo!
After sweet ride of the morning and the sweaty ride in the heat of the afternoon, we were treated to an amazing local art form of Tiger Dance!
Tiger body painted artists danced their hearts out to the upbeat local drum beats. Most of the riders joined them in the festive dance and enjoyed a second sweating for the day!
Tomorrow, on day 3 of TOK, a 100k ride from Udupi to Puttur is on the cards. The rolling terrain along the coast means that it is going to be another hot and humid day on the saddle. But, the rumour has it that the views make up for the heat.