The sun was peeking out of the clouds and checking out his reflection in the waters of river Udyavara!
The fishing boats were lined up on port and made for a colorful spectacle framed against the never-ending backdrop of the sea.
A few locals were trying their luck from the banks of the river, probably fishing for their lunch.
As we rode on, flanked by the coconut trees on either side, the calm river on one side and the gurgling sea on the other, we could hardly believe our eyes. Oh man! This is heavenly!
Picnic on The Banks of River Udyavara!
Then we were stopped by the organizers for breakfast. But, the dream wasn’t broken. Only changed. For the better, if that was possible!
Who would complain when you were offered breakfast on the banks of a river in such a scenic setting!
We were served Kotte Kadubu, a Dakshina Kannada dish made of idly batter wrapped in jackfruit leaves and steamed to yummy perfection.
For me, if the day ended there, it would still have been worth the price of entry for TOK!
This was an amazing start to day 3 of TOK. And we were only 11km into the 114km ride from Udupi to Puttur.
Wanted – A Compass That Works!
Deepak Sailor is an Naval engineer that spends most of his time on the sea. He has a tattoo of a naval compass on his right calf. Every time you ride behind him, it is makes its presence felt, moving up and down with every pedal stroke.
We were riding together yesterday as we were entering Udupi and navigating our way towards the hotel. I was ahead for a few meters and when I turned back he was no where to be seen. It was so hot that all I cared at that time was to get to the hotel.
As it turned out, Deepak apparently missed a turn and ended up riding towards Malpe beach. Clearly, the compass on his calf isn’t working.
Even at the start of the day today, instead of taking right out of the hotel, someone lead the whole lot of us on the wrong route by turning left.
Maybe, it’s not just Deepak that needs a working compass after all!
Sultry And Not So Hot!
After breakfast we got out of the beautiful road flanked by the river and the sea, and entered the back roads leading us towards Puttur.
The sun that was peeking out of the clouds hesitantly went back under the covers and left us to ride in a cooler weather. But, the humidity of the coastal region was enough to make one sweat just standing.
The route was nicely covered by greenery as well. So, as long as we were moving at an easy pace the breeze ensured we were cool and comfortable.
A Pandemic Baby in Cycling!
If babies born during the pandemic in 2020 are called pandemic babies, Vivek is a pandemic baby in cycling. He took up cycling during 2020, just four months before TOK last year.
He signed up for TOK last year and used the four months leading up to it to prepare himself for the tour. The tour became his motivation to get out and ride.
He continued to ride after the tour but the opening up of travel post the second wave this year got him traveling a lot and his training took a hit. But, he did not want to miss the tour at any cost having loved being part of it last year.
Lack of training did not deter him from making it to the start line despite his last 100k ride being the one he did on ToK last year.
He’s taking one day at a time and riding himself into some cycling form while having a ton of fun with friends on the tour.
He joined Satish and me on our ride today from about 20k mark and struck to us.
High on Elaneer!
We stopped for a tender coconut water (Elaneer) break at about 35km mark and downed a couple of tender coconuts each. The water was super sweet and it gave a nice high of renewed energy for the three of us.
Right after the break, high on Elaneer, we missed a road sign to turn left and kept going straight. Nithya Kiran, who saw us going ahead straight on the wrong path gave me call to alert us.
Thankfully, we were just 1km or so on the wrong route and quickly course corrected thanks to Nithya.
Even a proper working compass would not have helped us when we were high like that, I guess.
At 60km mark we stopped at a nice little house by the road side where ‘lunch’ for the day was set up. We were there by 10am. But, when there is Holige along with Vangi bath and Masuranna, call it lunch, brunch or whatever you want, we won’t let it go!
The sweet and soft Holige was the highlight for me and I sent down a couple of them in a hurry.
Sultry And Burning Hot!
After our brunch, we started riding again. The cloud cover stayed for a little longer than anticipated and we were quite happy riding up and down the never ending rollers in cooler weather.
But, around 11 am, the cloud cover disappeared and Sun started staring down at us with full power.
Some of the rollers were so steep that we were just about crawling up them. Many were even walking.
When you are going at a fair clip, the wind helps cool the body down and we tend to not heat up too much. But, when we are crawling up a climb, the body tends to heat up from the effort from inside as well as from outside from the sun. Since we move so slow, the wind won’t be there to help cool down as well.
We felt the engine heat up on a few particularly crazy steep climbs. On one such climb, we wanted to find the volunteer and answer his question in the choicest of words. His question was if we were ‘loving it?’, spray painted on the road.
Thankfully, there was a support station right on top of that climb where we were able to dump some ice to cool us down.
The rest of the ride to get to Puttur only got hotter and we had to make another stop by the road side to buy some cool water more to dump on ourselves to cool down rather than drink.
We were pleased to see the welcome board from the city municipality of Puttur and finding a cold shower at our hotel.
Cycling Together And Smiling Together!
Madhu Iyengar has been cycling since 2012 and has found it really helpful with his health and stress management.
His wife Vidya got interested in cycling and started joining him for rides in 2015.
She even joined him for TOK 2016 but a serious cycling crash that year put her cycling on the back burner.
It only during the pandemic she started riding again and has now become more regular than Madhu.
This TOK both of them are riding together and having a blast! The ever jovial Madhu and the ever smiling Vidya light up the day everywhere they go! Here is wishing them many more miles and many more smiles on the years ahead.
Tomorrow is the last day of this edition of TOK. The 100k ride to Madikeri has an 18km climbing TT section which is the only competitive segment on an otherwise jolly tour.
So, those who are inclined to push their limits and give their best on the climb get a chance to do so tomorrow.
18km and 850m of elevation gain for the climb is going to be a challenge for the best of us. Looking forward to it with a bit of appreciation and excitement.