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My first longest bike ride
It was a long break from writing! 

 Finally, tapping my keyboard for a reason which doesn't involve my office work; Off late, doing the things which I missed in my younger days and finding solace in them.

 I started running and cycling. I participated in one of the 10km runs and have just begun to improve my timings. I will publish a detailed blog on how running changed my perspective towards life after I achieve my personal target (Hopefully soon!).

For now, let me keep myself to cycling and other great opportunities life is throwing at me. This post is about my first 150km+ ride.

A year or so ago, cycling flu hit my friends and each of them got a bike. I wasn’t initially interested and considered waste of money to invest on a bike. Although, I was persuaded often to buy one myself, I laughed at them saying it would just rest in my home and not on roads.

I still remember the day. The day that changed my life! It was July 23rd 2014. I was sleeping and when I woke up to 6 missed calls from a friend of fine. Generally, my friends don’t call up early in the day. I returned the call and asked him if everything was alright, he told me that a particular cycle was on clearance sale and they were selling at a throw away price. Initially, I got mad at him for waking me up for a stupid reason. After a while, I thought about it and called him again to en-quire about the price. 

We, Indians are very good at this. We fall prey for anything that’s available for free or at a lower price. Well, Yes! I fell for it. There was almost a 40% discount on the bike. I went to the store and bought it with no idea of specifications of a bike (After reading many blogs and being part of many groups, now, I understand how seriously people look into the specifications before buying one).

My first ride was from the store to home, which was around 10km long and I took an hour to cover the distance. It was damn hard to cycle and cursed myself for wasting money and was thinking of a possibility to resell it. Few days passed and my cycling enthusiasm grew day by day. I started cycling everyday to the park where I run and then went on long leisure rides on weekends and fell in love with this great friend and slowly cycling turned into my passion.

One of my friends shared a cycling event post on facebook. It was a 150km ride from Bangalore to Mysore. After doing a few 60 to 80km rides, I felt probably this was the right time to take the big step forward. The constant posts by the organizer on the event page and introduction of two gurus of cycling made my desire grow higher and stronger.

Finally the big the day came! We planned to start at 4:45Am and as is always the case with my group, we were late. We started at around 5:30Am and thus began our first long journey.

We started from Rajarajeshwarinagar and paced towards Kanakapura road, we assumed that all the riders would have passed and we had little chance of meeting them unless they are late like us. On the way, we passed the thuralli forest; cool morning breeze welcomed us. I love the trails in the forest and we remembered a few incidents of our rides in the forest.

We hit the kanakapura road in an hour, we were riding at 15kmph, after which we decided to increase the pace to reach the breakfast venue on time. Here, we met a few more bikers and got to know many were behind. This lifted our spirits up. We were not the only lazy ones :-).

It was a good ride as the sun wasn’t up yet. Well, two of my friends were behind and myself with another guy in the front. When we were about 6 to 8km from the breakfast point, I couldn’t keep up the pace and dropped behind. I was damn hungry and then realized the famous quote “Drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry”. I utterly failed to use this logic and decided to stop over when I find a place to eat. I found a few places but the organizer’s post which mentioned about mouth watering dosa wouldn’t let me compromise and somehow slowly pushed myself. I cursed myself and my friends for not starting early and not reaching on time.

This sight almost brought tears in my eyes. Finally, food!! I jumped around, went to the counter and ordered a dosa. True to its publicity, it was really mouth watering. 

After this I had another plate of rice bath and then kesari bath and then a cup of coffee. After a moment, I remembered that the ride doesn’t end here but a long way forward. I realized now that in a ride, you must eat before you are hungry but not so much which makes you unable to ride.

By this time, we had covered 50km in about 2 and half hours. I was wondering if we go at this pace, we should be able to cover the remaining distance in another 5 hours. Sun came up to greet us.

 The next 50km ride to Malavalli was an uneventful ride for me but my friend had an issue with his bike and had to change it but he wasn’t comfortable with the new one and had to get back to his own bike. There was a problem changing the front derailleur to final gear. His passion was too much to worry about this and rode the next 100km with this problem.

 I made a terrible mistake of adding more electral to the water which made me thirstier whenever I had it. A sincere advice to amateurs is to mix the electral or any salt agents in the right quantity. I had to soon refill more water and make the mixture even. 

The roads were flat and not much terrains; it was a ride more like a song on a single pitch. The scenery around was calm and beautiful. I was bored to pedal at the same pace.

 I laid my hands upon whatever I found on the streets, be it coconut water or cane juice or a small shop where we get biscuits. It’s a myth that you have to keep eating to endure a long ride. I learnt this lesson the hard way. It made me more tired to ride eating so much. 

(During one of many stops)

Once we reached Malavalli, there was a hydration point and thanks to whoever organized this, it was bliss! I could refill my water and rest for some time. We had more or less maintained the same pace and reached this spot in around 3 hours.  Stage 2 completed and felt happy about this milestone and a few pictures clicked to show off on facebook. 

Stage 3 and the final milestone of 50km greeted us. My bums were aching whenever I stopped and took a few minutes to get adjusted to the long routine again. I seriously wonder how the brevet guys manage this issue. I was thinking of a bean bag/sofa to ease my pain. These thoughts only aggravated the pain and my saddle enjoyed the show. 

Flat roads again, now, I really started to hate flat roads. I loved up hills and down hills but the sight of flat roads infuriated me. Whenever there was a flat road, my friend used to over take me and during terrains, I used to overtake him. This game continued for a while.

 Soon, we were greeted by many kids and villagers. Answering their questions and curiosity of the villagers made us feel more proud about feat we were going to accomplish. 

Now, we reached a town and I got sick of the sound of horns. It was so peaceful a ride so far and listening to sudden honks from some idiots made me damn angry. I don’t understand why people honk for no reason.
I abused a few and soon realized that this is the story of my daily life in the city. A few hours away from the city makes you realize the value of peace. I so badly wish that honking is banned in our country. 

The sight of Go green cyclists group always brings a smile on my face, proud to have such a group in our city. I am sure they will continue to promote this eco friendly culture.

Once I passed this little town, I was at solace again but was wearied down because of the constant peddling on flat roads. I reached the next hydration point and rested for a while. This was a strategically well planned location. Again, thanks to you, Sir. 

The time was around 2pm and last leg of 13km left. 4km of ride and finally the first true up hill. I have done quite a few like this before but a hill like this at the end of a long ride is always pain in the ass. I somehow peddled up and emptied my water bottle. The last 9km ride was the pride ride, every km passed made me feel great and I stared etching this in my memory as one of the best achievements and a story which I will talk about for the rest of my life.

We reached our destination at around 3, probably I could have saved an hour or so if not for my often pit stops, nevertheless will learn from this and improve. We had a big lunch, went in time to see the elephants entering the palace and took our bus back to Bangalore. Hopefully next time, we would ride back.

A sincere thanks to Go green cycling group for allowing to use their pictures.

My fellow riders, just their sight was enough to motivate me to move ahead. 

A special thanks to Anil, his team and the guys who organized the hydration points.

Last but not least, my friends Bhargi, Nitin and Vinay for being there for me, Always.