30 May 2011

Month-end Ride to Anchetti

Rode to Anchetti yesterday with a number of bikers from Bangalore. Anchetti is a small village in Tamil Nadu, just across the border with Karnataka. Its claim to fame is a beautiful waterfall very close to the town, and picturesque roads that wind through the dense forests of Krishnagiri district.Beware, though, that the excruciating climbs and the undulating terrain don't catch you unawares...

Scheduled start time. A forgotten helmet and a broken headlamp delay our start till 5AM. There are five of us riding. A fast descent to Merida Junction by 6AM. This entire stretch from K.R. Market has been a pain- insane crowds, interstate buses (mostly private) combined with Metro construction. We pick our way through the muck and rubble and get onto Kanakapura road.
A welcome change. A steady downhill all the way, greenery, the cool early morning breeze, we're making good time. The road has some narrow sections where it actually runs over the bunds of small tanks and reservoirs which attract a lot of avian visitors. Other than a small deviation by the team's bird watcher there is no interruption till we reach Harohalli, the breakfast point. The venue for breakfast is a tiny shop called Jayaram Canteen. When we finally locate the place we are rewarded with hot Idlis, lemon rice, bondas, and of course, excellent coffee.

A quick look at the cyclocomputers worries me - we have averaged just 20kmh till here. This is not a good sign - with the downhills and cool morning I think we should have made it much faster. After a bit of relaxation we start off again, via Thalli. The roads are very nice - good surface and all - but more than that the surroundings are fantastic. I can see some mountains in the distance but I am told the 'deadly climbs' are still about 20Km - I'm worried we'll hit the climbs with the sun overhead.

A few more hours of riding through really beautiful roads like the one in the photo above - there is a lake on the left - and we take a short break here. We have still done only about half the distance to Anchetty. Within the next few km the climb starts. Not very steep, but unrelenting. GPS logs will later reveal that its a climb of almost 250m in 15km. The lake falls away to my left; and I notice boards that say Bannerghatta National Park. Perhaps this area is administered by the Bannerghatta folks.

After the climb ends there is a superb descent. Notoriously deceptive - on last years ride two riders had broken bones due this descent. We all descend carefully without incident - only to be faced with another climb. Then another descent, then another climb. Its getting pretty irritating now. The sun is up, but luckily there is some cloud cover. Its still not breezy enough. Spinning legs on the low gears can get terribly hot. A mere breath of wind at the tops of the hills feel so sweet and refreshing. After a seemingly endless series of ups and downs we hit a village where we stop for refreshments and refilling water. The residents tell us its just 20km to Anchetty and its all downhill. We take off again, soon crossing the border into Tami Nadu. Its probably in my mind, but it seems to have suddenly gotten really hot. On the way we find an old farmer who offers to let us have a mango from his tree. Finally reach Anchetty. An extremely dirty little town. Seems to be overrun with ruffians. Much unlike the gentle rural folk we're used to seeing. None of the usual small, clean eating joints are to be found. Finally grab a bite at some dosa place.

Lunch is over. After a short rest we are starting off again. The intention is to stop at the bathing pool but no one knows where it is. I am initially at the head of the pack when I notice the pack splitting up. I slow down and fall back with Sree. No sign of the pool so we just keep riding till we hit the deadly Ghat section. Some deadly climbs here - the last of which is a set of switchbacks seen in the photo on the left.

After the Ghats we find a nice shady tree to rest under. Half an hour of rest and we're off again. Almost non stop to Denkanikottai, and then on to Hosur. Now I'm feeling a bit tired - maybe since all I've had since lunch is a couple of Bananas and some biscuits. But I dont feel like eating anything. So I use the last of my supply of glucose to power an uneventful run back to Bangalore.

22.30H: Back home with a successful 200 debut and a memorable route to clinch it with...


The Deviant Bird Watching Cyclist said...

Nice photos, although no birds in the photos :)

The Psychelist said...


1. This route is not suitable for road bikes or racing bikes. Thin tyres are prone to punctures on some stretches of bad road. Thorns and other debris also litters the road in some places.

2. Carry lots of water, electral, and food. Although you can buy stuff at the villages en route, make sure you have adequate reserves.

3. The Anchetti waterfall, I am told, can be reached via a trail that goes off just after the big climb after Anchetti towards D'kottai.

Abhijit Kshirsagar said...

We never went to Thalli. The exact route can be seen in the
GPX posted by Alex.

Kallivalli said...

Awsome reporting. Kindly forgive me as I took some of your photos for my blog.
thank you/