Monday, November 28, 2011

Cam rides : Part 2

CAM ride#2 : Sep 24 and 25th 2011 Sirsi – Lushington falls – Shivaganga falls - Siddapura

If you have not read please click here - PART1

Unlike the previous ride the journey was a long one as we were heading to Sirsi. This north Karnataka hill station is popular for a large number of waterfalls. We were put up at Hotel Madhuvana. Again for some personal reasons i wanted to use this ride as an oppurtunity to ride hard.

Highlights and pictures of Day#1 :

The plan was to start at Sirsi, go to Sonda and reach Shivganga falls - Quickly. Though I was the first to reach the falls, i didn't feel alone. There were lot of monkeys who greeted me and ran away. I shared my chocolates with the rider who finished second and took his dry fruits. After some time I had lunch that had come with the canter and waited for my wife. On the way back to hotel i decided to ride slow and stay with my wife for some time. It was during this time that we got down to a stream, spent some time in the water, took some snaps. After some time i started pushing myself and reached the hotel early. I had a good time talking to few others in the hotel while drinking tea. After some time my wife arrived. I was really happy to see her complete the day1 ride without getting swept by the support vehicle. Day1 ended with a quick bath and a quiet dinner.

Day#1 route map

Shivgange Falls

Lunch time
 Manohar D.C from CAM team fixing a rider's flat
 That's me
 Green Aisle

 Bright Sunny Day
Cycle Engine
 Pee Break

 Green Frog

Highlights and Pictures of Day2 :
Sirsi - Lushington Falls ( Unchalli falls ) - Siddapura

I started on time for the Day2 ride and i didn't stop for breakfast. Thanks to Mr.Vasu who offered me banana's i was able to ride hard. Both of us were together for sometime exchanging the lead position. After some time I started mashing on uphills. I desperately wanted to be the first rider to reach Lushington falls. A funny thing happened on the way. Since i was riding hard, i didn't had any other rider immediately behind me At one point i took a left and i think Mr.Vasu didn't take it. I was on the wrong route and i was going on and on and on. I couldn't find anybody. Finally i got a dead end. There was right and there was left too. I didn't know which way i should proceed further. Fortunately there was a board. But there was no reason why it was existing there. I couldn't read anything on that board.
Black Board with Black Letters

But fortunately i saw Mr.Vasu coming from the right side and i joined him to use the left road. After some time i got separated from him by riding hard and fast and reached the falls. I was at the gate and i didn't dare to go further. As i was tired i just sat on a concrete bench.

Road leading to Lushington falls
 1st to reach :-)

Finally the Lushington falls, The roaring beauty

After some time as expected Mr.Vasu arrived. We both had tea and biscuits. After some time few more riders reached the falls. On our way back i saw my wife as well as other riders. I wished all of them and left for siddapura. I started riding hard and this was a rolling terrain. Out of my previous cam ride experience i knew that 2nd day ride should be quick else i will be picked up by the support vehicle. The hot sun was out and i could feel it. Adding to it the boredom. I was riding alone constantly under the fear that some animal might cross my path.

On the way to Siddapura

Finally i reached siddapura and i was happy that i finished first. After 30 minutes Mr.Vasu arrived. After few riders the bus arrived with the rest of riders. The canters arrived with cycles too. Only 4 out of the 30+ riders were able to complete the 2nd day's ride. As usual everybody had their lunch and boarded the bus. It was fun to watch the 1992 bollywood blockbuster cycle-drama movie - Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, staring Aamir khan. It was nice to see people shouting and cheering the protagonist during the climax.

CAM rides - Part 1

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. – Ernest Hemingway

True Indeed. I felt it when I registered for a cross country cycling ride organized by a bunch of passionate bangalore based cyclists-The CAM group.

They truly deserve a lot of appreciation. Right from the time we registered online everything was handled professionally. The Payment receipt, Pickup/Drop points and route details,briefing about the ride rules, the hotel bookings, food delivery, fixing flats and replacing worn out brake pads etc.

Just get into an ultra luxury bus that picks you on time and sign a indemnity bond to declare that you do understand the risks involved and you will not hold anybody reponsible for any untoward incidents that might happen during the ride. This is just a process. So don't bother too much.

CAM rides are FUN.I could see riders from different spheres of life.There will be people who don't even remember when was the last time they had cycled and then there are those who are regular riders. There will be couples (I call them Cycling Couples) and retired senior citizens.

CAM rides expand your friends circle allowing you to meet people whom you know but have never met. I am talking about our FACEBOOK and DAILYMILE buddies.

CAM rides are FLEXIBLE. Each rider has an option of choosing his category from several routes. Some are short and some are long. Riders ride at their own pace sometimes leading others and sometimes trailing others. Just a word of caution for those who think they can ride category#1 route. Never underestimate the ride going by the total distance. There will be tough climbs bigger and better than your weekend nandi hill climbs. Towards the end of the ride just be sure that you don't get sweeped by the support vehicle. Nobody is expected to ride after dark and the cam team does not want anybody getting lost or hurt in the dark.

CAM rides are DIFFERENT. Normally a rider looks ahead and rides. But most of us were looking left or right. Every now and then we would get down to capture those foggy hills,those pristine silent streams, those tall lush green trees under a big blue canopy with white cotton candies.

CAM ride is a CHALLENGE. Its a ride that you do without waiting for rains to subside, when the dew is on the grass, when there is fog in the air, when there is dirt and muck all over the place, when there are landslides waiting to embrace you. Get ready to get down and carry your bike to the other side of a stream. And all this when blood sucking land leeches attach to your feet anytime.

CAM ride is a SPIRITUAL experience. I have personally seen people completing their first day rides quickly to freshen up and drop into nearby temples/mutt to come back refreshed/rejuvenated.

CAM rides brings a CHANGE. Many people use a rented cycle as they don't own a one. But once the ride is over they say that most of them get one for themselves. I have personally seen 2 cases.

And CAM rides are for those who want to spend quality time with their family members by going out on a vacation and at the same time just want to burn some calories so that they can come back lean and mean.

CAM ride#1 : July 2nd 2011 - Makkandur-Mandalpatti base-Mandalpatti peak-Kalur-Madikeri

Regardless of the distance any journey will be a short one ( if you get sleep ) and sweet one ( if you get a good dream ). On a dark drizzling windy pre dawn we all landed at Makkandur a small village 5 kms away from Madikeri. Riders were shivering and rubbing their palms against each other while crickets were rubbing their wings and legs making that scary and strange noise from the bushes.

We walked a few meters and reached makkandur home stay that was surrounded by beautiful green hills.Rooms were alloted quickly and everybody got freshened up. The ride started around 8 AM.

Have a look at some pictures where i have tried to capture nature in all its glory during my ride.
Day#1 ride map 
Misty mountain on the way
 Inviting stream and Wet Cottages
 Pee Break
 Green is the theme of the day

 Landslides What next ?
 Merida on Mountain
 True Offroad
 Foggy tree and a Calm Lake
 On the way back found another stream

Riding from the base to the peak of Mandalpatti was the best part of our ride. Fortunately we didn't get the usual visibility problem while climbing though there was FOG at the peak. Its a 600 meter high point with steep hairpin bends. A rider can sit and spin using low gears or get up and mash to work against the force of gravity. But there are other better options. You can get down and push. Or you can give up.I saw all this happening around during my ride. Some riders failed unreasonably and some riders succeeded inexplicably. This experience makes all riders humble.

Once we came down we were served with lunch beside a tea stall at the base. It is the support vehicle (canter) that gets the lunch on all rides. During rainy season riders tend to apply too much of brakes during downhill riding to control their speed and thus the brake pads get worn out. Those tiny pads make some noise and that's when a rider realizes that it's high time it gets replaced else it is the rider who will be making a different noise later.

Post lunch the riders started again with a sense of accomplishment but their happiness was short lived. The real fun started now. The riders were expected to come back to makkandur home stay via kalur and madikeri. The kind of uphills they faced was too much. I saw few giving up and sitting on the road waiting for the support vehicle. It was getting DARK. And i was in no mood to get swept by the canter.

It was getting darker and my wife was riding at her own pace and i slowed down and waited for her. We reached madikeri and had to get into the canter along with our bikes. There were few more riders in it. I felt embarrassed. Once i reached the homestay i took bath and got ready for dinner. Post dinner I saw that some people preferred tents and some rooms. Mr.Vikrant was helping folks to setup the tents. What an amazing guy he was. Inspite of managing so many things with so many people around he was still as cool as an iceberg.

My day1 ride was more of taking snaps, riding casually with others and fixing flats. Day2 ride was the final ride and i had decided that i will ride hard no matter how the terrian is or how the weather is.

Cam ride#1: Day#2 July 3rd 2011 - Makkandur - Madapur - Kushalnagar - BylaKuppe

The 2nd day ride was a short one in terms of distance. We had to reach BYLAKUPPE - A Tibetan refugee settlement. There are a number of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. This small town is famous for its Golden temple. For more info please refer

Remember CAM ride is NOT a RACE. But its a race against yourself. You can always use cam rides as an oppurtunity to improve your average speed, stamina or cadence.

The 2nd day ride had some nice uphills between makkandur and madapur. This was a non-stop ride for me and i enjoyed spinning uphills and coasting downhills. On the way i overtook a few riders who were leading everybody. I reached Bylakuppe and i had finished 2nd. Some of the riders were swept by the canter as it was getting late for lunch and departure. Note that the 2nd day ride has to get over soon by noon. Everybody had their lunch at a nearby hotel and got into the bus leaving behind nothing but pleasant memories.

Cam ride #2 contd: