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.
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.