Monthly Archives: December 2016

Maggan, Satan & Devil

Day 2 –  Jaipur – Bhilwara, 18th Dec 2016

Both me and Dev thought that we were little fast on Day 1 due to excitement or we being fresh  so we decided that we should ride real easy for 2-3 days now. So we begin our day 2 ride slowly. We were riding at a comfortable speed and then suddenly I hear someone saying something in Hindi, but with a strange accent and I see Maggan (A journalist who has come all the way from Sweden for G2G and knows a bit Hindi) passing us. She and Gaurav Wadhwa were riding together and they pass us and I keep looking at them. I tell myself – “Let them go, we are riding as par our own plan”. I am still looking at them and thinking that they will slowly disappear ahead of us. After a few minutes, I can still see them and I increase our speed a little and soon we get close to them and I think maybe they are not riding that fast and it can be fun to ride with them and we can work together and not get tired even at a faster speed, so to hell with the original plan, I accelerate with full might and soon catch up with them and pass them. But to make my intentions clear that I am not really competing with them and want to work with them, I slow down and let them come in my slipstream.

Dev aka Devil and Maggan at our Coffee Break

I could see that Dev was behind me and Maggan probably behind him, judging from our shadows which I could see easily on our sides without turning my head. After riding at front for sometime, Dev comes at front and after sometime Maggan says, she will take some of the wind, so she starts riding at front and I get into her slipstream. Dev is still behind me, but I can’t see Gaurav. Maggan is riding really fast and I try to stay with her, it was not easy but it was fun and thrilling to ride with her. After sometime Dev fades away from behind and I decide to stay with Maggan. Me and Maggan kept taking turns at the front and another hour just flew by and I wanted to stop, so I tell Maggan that maybe we should stop for a coffee and she says yes. Soon we see a restaurant and stop, Dev it turns out was not really much behind and soon joins us as we were getting off from the bike. Maggan compliments me for my riding and asks my name, I tell her, my name is Sachin and she obviously doesn’t understand it at first, so I tell her a few more times and I hope she understood. But later I actually found out that she didn’t and in her mind she kept referring to me as Satan and to Dev as Devil :-D.

Waiting for Aloo Parathas

We ate some biscuits and Dev and Maggan had black coffee and since I wanted my coffee with milk, I had to wait as there was no milk at the shop and we had to stop for more time than we planned as milk came after a long time and finally I got my coffee. We left together after coffee and Maggan again set a fast tempo and we followed, after sometime Dev told us to go ahead as he was having some issue with his knee and wanted to ride slow. Me and Maggan rode ahead and after sometime probably coffee kicked in and I felt an energy surge or maybe it was a favourable wind pushing us and I really started enjoying riding fast with Maggan. But this lasted only for a few KMs and we had to turn left to bypass Kishangarh and go towards Chittorgarh. I caught a glimpse of Shaktivahini volunteers at the junction, they were clapping and cheering for us. That always helps on such long rides so big thanks to them. But as soon as we turned left, I found out that it were winds which were propelling us and now started punishing us. Also the route was lumpy now and we slowed down considerably but this section of road was really quiet with hardly any traffic and we could also see some beautiful mountains to our right, so that was nice. Still I was tired but kept pedalling without thinking too much. On such rides sometime you just need to keep pedalling no matter what. After some time it was almost 12 PM and I started feeling hungry and told this to Maggan and she also wanted to eat something so we started looking for a place to eat and soon came across a dhaba in front of a beautiful sandy mountain and we stopped.

Dev, Maggan and Me at Bhiwara

We resumed after having some aloo parathas, soft drinks and wafers, after riding for another 20 KMs we saw Chiro and Poonam waving us down at a dhaba so we again stopped and had some Roti and Daal. We filled our water bottles, got some Wild Water (It’s really refreshing) and Whole Foods energy bars (Probably the only energy bars which don’t taste awful) to carry with us and proceeded ahead. We took another coffee stop and a rest stop before we finally entered the Bhilwara city. We were asked to stop at some resort and we freshened up there. Dev and Anurag rolled in after sometime. After having hot Pakodas and tea, Chiro took us to main city where lots of local cyclists and district magistrate welcomed us. Manoj and Divyesh also joined us there as they have reached before us and were resting at hotel. We rode through the city with local cyclists and then went to a hall where Lions club of Bhilwara and Vivekananda Center felicitated us and we all shared our experiences with the people present there and after that we finally rode to our hotel and had dinner and went to bed. People from Bhilwara were nice, but I still would have wanted to reach hotel as soon as possible and go to bed a little earlier to be fully rested for another long day to come.

G2G Day 1. Delhi – Jaipur

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Day 1 – Delhi to Jaipur (275 KMs), 17th Dec 2016

Today was the big day, when this epic journey will finally begin. I was happy to get some good sleep as we went to bed early. We still had to wake up at 3.30 AM to be on time. Our alarms rang and both me and Dev were up. Dev got ready quickly and I took my usual long time. Due to some confusion last day, we couldn’t submit our bags to be taken to our next stop. There was a little tension and some frantic calls were made. Chiro was already at Gurgaon and he couldn’t help. As a last measure, I shared our predicament over our G2G WhatsApp group and thankfully Arko responded and offered to take our bags in his car next day. We were relieved. THANKS AGAIN ARKO.

So we got ready in time and came down with our bags and bikes by 4.30 AM. Slowly bikes and riders began to trickle in and energy began to build up near The Bike Shop. Arko came as promised and took our bags and assured us that they will reach our next stop. Now it was almost 5 and nobody was making a move. We were new and didn’t know the route to India Gate so we waited. Suddenly Mona Budhraja appeared on the scene and said – “Come On Guys, we should go” and everybody got on the bikes. Her husband, Gaurav and elder son Yash were also riding G2G with us. We reached India Gate around 5.15 and were greeted with band and garlands. We were wished luck in traditional Indian way by Tilak on forehead and were offered some sweet as it’s considered auspicious. Mona cut a cake standing in front of India Gate at 5.15 in morning, as it was her birthday.

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Chiro (Event Organiser) gave us briefing about the route and finally we were flagged off by Himanshu Kumar (a para-cyclist who had earlier done the Mumbai-Delhi by cycle with his prosthetic leg) and an official from Lava Mobiles (Event Sponsor). Some Delhi riders rode with us till a little beyond Gurgaon. After that we were on NH 8 and it was straight highway, from then on. Me and Dev were riding together. It was 11 degrees when we started from India Gate but mercury kept going down till around 8 AM I think, where it went upto 8 degrees and then started finally rising. Thankfully I had a baselayer, jacket and leg warmers on.

My plan was to try and ride at a speed of <25 KMPH and maintain HR <150 so that I can be comfortable on all 6 days. Atleast that was the plan, I tried to stick to it for first 20-30 KMs and then suddenly Manoj and Divyesh from Surat (both Double SRs this year) passed us by. I decided to accelerate a bit and maybe take advantage of their slipstream, so I latched onto them. It was good riding with them. Manoj and Divyesh were taking turns ahead. I didn’t want to be selfish and wanted to work with them, but so far we didn’t know each other well, so I just kept riding at the back with Dev. They stopped at some 50 KMs and we stopped with them. After sometime I wanted to move ahead but Manoj was waiting for their support car so me and Dev moved ahead. However soon they came from behind and passed us. I again started drafting behind them. I was feeling bad taking all the advantage so I decided to move ahead, so I passed them and slowed down so that they can ride behind me. However there was no clear communication among us till now, I am not sure they understood it or not. We hardly went a few KMs ahead and saw Maggan, Yash and Anurag having some breakfast at a Dhaba. I stopped but we soon found out that our scheduled breakfast point is a few KMs ahead, so me and Dev rode on.

At about 70 KMs, we found Chiro and Shaktivahini (social service partner) volunteers waiting for us with packed breakfast. We had breakfast and pedalled ahead. It was getting warmer so I took off jackets and baselayer after riding for some more time.  Somehow we kept pushing through pollution, crazy traffic and unending series of flyovers. We stopped for lunch after doing some 150+ KMs at a Dhaba. After riding for a couple more hours, we stopped for coffee and then continued but very soon, we again spotted Shakitvahini van and our official Ambulance parked. We again stopped to munch on some snacks and another cup of coffee. Why waste any chance to take a break and have some coffee right?

Some 60 odd KMs were left for the day and we were excited to finish off the day now. We kept riding and soon could see the Jaipur city which we bypassed and continued on the highway and finally reached our stop for the day at around 7.15. We changed, washed ourselves and waited for others to arrive. At around 9 PM dinner was served and we ate whatever we could and soon retired to our rooms. Both me and Dev were very satisfied with first day and we thought to ourselves that we should go a little easy next day to preserve ourselves for remaining days.

But could we follow the plan and finish rest of ride comfortably? Find out in posts which follow.

G2G Here We Come!

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It was in March this year that Delhi Randonneurs announced India Gate to Gateway of India ride, a ride which would start from India Gate, Delhi and finish at Gateway of India, Mumbai after covering a distance of 1450 KMs in 6 days. Ride was planned for mid December and they announcing it 9 months ago, gave lots of time to train and plan. I was not sure that I should do it or not, but then fellow rider from Nagpur, Dev called and said that he wants to do it and wanted me to accompany him. After some discussion, we agreed and registered.

I knew I had to build up my endurance so I did multiple brevets, got my first Super Randonneur title and also did one multi-day bike event- Tour of Aravallis. I also tried to do 100+ KMs rides whenever I could, once a week minimum and sometimes twice or thrice a week. I was not really confident about Dev’s practise and kept pushing him to ride more, but he had his own plan, which I was not very sure of.  I was feeling confident about my endurance after doing 400 KM Brevet twice and 600 KM Brevet once.

Maximum we needed to do on a single day during G2G was 270 KMs. So I knew I could do it if I take it easy and mostly ride in my endurance HR zone. Still I needed to recover at night and be ready next day to repeat this all over again. So I decided that I need to reach Delhi with some good sleep reserves and also try to sleep early during G2G. Beside that I was really worried about saddle discomfort, from doing this for 6 days continuously. I decided to invest in some good bike shorts and also bought some Chamois Butter for the first time. From our G2G WhatsApp group I came to know that some riders are using Infinity seats (seats with more hole than seat) or real comfy seats for saddle comfort. I was not sure about any of those, so I decided to not really experiment with my saddle.

I also changed my cassette and chain some 15-20 days before the event as you should not change components just before the event. I wanted to avoid punctures so I switched to Continental Gatorskin tyres. I also bought a Cateye Volt 50 back light to provide me good visibility even during daytime.

We packed our bikes in boxes on 15th December and flew Air India (They don’t charge for oversized baggage) and landed in Delhi on 16th December, morning. We had 2 bike boxes with us so our plan was to hire an Ola SUV. Network congestion at terminal resulted in very patchy internet on my phone, but after sometime I was able to book the taxi and we reached the guesthouse where we were staying without any problems.

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We unpacked and assembled our bikes, had some lunch and then joined 22 other G2G riders at India Gate for some photo opportunity in our official event T-shirts. After that we again came back to our guesthouse.

Ride started next day at 5.30 AM from India Gate and we were asked to reach by 5 AM, so we had an early dinner, had a short walk and went to bed by 8.30. In my future posts I shall cover each day of riding in detail, so do watch out for them 🙂