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300+ km night-out bicycle ride

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A short poem and a sketch capturing the spirit of sleepless, full night-out, bicycle ride experienced on a self supported, 310 km Bangalore - Hiriyur - Bangalore brevet ride, covered in almost 17 hours, with about 14 hours of riding. Adding the commute distances from the start/end point to home registered a total of 346 km on the day, my longest ever.

endless highway, complete pitch black
a dreaded deep stillness, so pervasive so expansive
this darkness a void, an indefinite pause in time
like everything else had stopped, only the pedals kept spinning


The experience in short:

23rd June' 2012. Excitement filled my heart to fullest, when I left home around 9:00 PM, to witness the longest ride of my life. 10:00 PM, MG road, the moment began. An initial chocking traffic at MG road, then the long confusing flyovers of  Yeshwantpur Railway Station, finally into the butter smooth NH4, a roadies delight. An irresistible rush of adrenaline, low aero posture, hands on the drops and eyes fixed straight ahead, speeds scaled up like a bullet just fired from a gun. 55 km, a stop at half closed Kamat, near Dabaspet, water bottles refilled, moved on to Tumkur. Thereafter, except some lorries and a few cars, no street lights, no road side shops, no civilization to be seen. Dark endless, lifeless road lay ahead. Deadly, scary, exciting, interesting. Power lights installed on handlebars of the bike and the white strip on the edge of road to follow, being the saviour of the night. Soon, 107 km, a stretch break near Karajeevanhalli toll gate. Weather surprisingly pleasant, a gentle flowing breeze, pitch black darkness,  clear skies and a full array of stars, the little embedded diamonds, shining with radiant brilliance, it all seemed to be a different world, a world cut off from our world, a world of solitude, of true heavenly freedom.

4:30 AM, some stiffness in lower back, shoulders and neck, an urge to sleep, almost dozed off a couple of times while riding, still kept the momentum. Another water break. 5:30 AM, 162 km, Hiriyur, the turn about point, went looking for the control ATM. 6:15 AM, stopped at Idli point, to find no Idlis available, settled for a coffee, some biscuts, a good leg and back stretch, then started off, back to Bangalore at a lower pace. Little after Sira, a stop at Kamat, a good breakfast. The fatigue and soreness magically vanished, moved on. Sun showed up quite well, soon became hot, pace reduced, fatigue increased. Midday, a big lunch near Dobaspet. The heat of the day being quiet intense by now, ridding became difficult. Bums burning on the saddle, hands numb on the handlebars, back stiff, leg muscles tired. Last 30 km left, gathered some nerve, continued, slow and steady. Several streams of sweat pouring from face, last 10 km a struggle, reached CCD, Hesaraghatta, the end point, bicycle parked. Dumping myself on sofa, a big mug of grande cappuccino coffee in hand, some chit chat with other riders, the story got an happy end, and i felt awesome in return of the effort.

A couple of hours later, cycled back to home, and slept within minutes :)

Some Pics:

the route: point A to B to A
one hour before the ride

installing water bottles, air pump, tools, new tires, lights, food etc

The bike is all ready for the trip
midnight the reflector jacket is working

submitting the time stamps at the finish point CCD
the finishers
a sun burnt happy ending :)

The leaving note:

Thanks to IISC Randonneurs and all co riders. It was one of the best rides, the night ride part being the favorite :)



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