09 August 2014

Gauribidanur 200 Brevet Preride

This was the first Non-ACP Brevet by the IISc Randonneurs. The plan for a brevet to / through Gauribidanur had been simmering for nearly a year before Sourav and Shaunak teamed up to put it together. Shaunak, Rishav and I rode the pre-ride since we were volunteering for the actual event. The route can be summed up in one word: scenic. (Don't try it in the heat of peak summer, though)

Just after Gauribidanur

All brevet rules apply to pre-rides, even for our non-ACP events, which meant we had to signing each others' cards and a customary bike check. We made good pace on the empty roads till Yelahanka. Somewhere on SH9, Rishav pulled close to me and said "we'll pull till Doddaballapur", which I took to mean "We'll pull you..." but it turned out to be more like "we're going to take off, hang on if you can" - and in a few minutes they were gone. With both roadies far ahead I rode mostly alone till just outside Gauribidanur - keeping the pace well above 25kmh (it's nearly all downhill).

Rishav and Shaunak were waiting for me at Gauribidanur, and we had a quick breakfast at the bus stand. The ATM was not working so we took selfies and got out.

Rishav broke a spoke on his rear wheel shortly after Gauribidanur, but we managed to re-tension the remaining spokes to keep the tire from rubbing the chainstays. I was slowing down, and there was no question of even trying to keep up with the other two. I rode mostly by myself until just before Shidlaghatta, stopping only to take photos at the climb at Chikballapur, and for lunch at a small village eatery.

Looking back at the valley

The hills are carpeted in green after all the rain
Rishav and Shaunak were waiting at Shidlaghatta. I took my ATM slip and we set off again. From Shidlaghatta the road is flat, with sparse traffic and fairly smooth till all the way till Hoskote. On the way I fielded a variety of questions - "Where are you going?", "Why?", "Race-aa?". I met a young man riding to Hoskote for Cycling coaching. He said he was in college, and worked part time in some factory. Weekends, he told me, he meets his coach in Hoskote.

I caught up with the roadies at the expected place - the Darshini at Hoskote. From here on we rode together till Bagalur - partly because the roads were bad and partly because (I think) I knew the route well enough not to need the cue sheet.

We were still making very good time, and we were at Baglur by 16:30. With just over 20k left, most of it on NH7, I was confident of a great finish time. Perhaps even 11.5 hours?

Alas, no. Rishav sprinted on ahead and Shaunak rode with me. By the time  reached Yelahanka there was an enormous cloud bank rolling in from the west. Unfortunately the rain front hit while we were on the flyover. It came so fast were soaked to the skin within a minute. Visibility dropped to under 100m and the wind picked up. It was risky to continue riding so we dismounted, and just walked along the edge of the flyover. For nearly half an hour it poured, and we walked - teeth chattering in the cold. The rain stopped as suddenly as it had begun, and we donned our reflective vests and made it back to campus - heading directly to the "Pavillion" for some hot tea and snacks.

The IISc Rando Jerseys
As it turned out, Rishav had just missed the cloud - he had barely a drizzle near Mekri! Did I mention this was the debut ride for the new IISc Rando Jerseys we got?

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