BSA-TFN 2010: Day 2- 155 km Day and a 9 Year Old Rider – A Child’s Play!

Rishi Nair: The 9 Year old Marvel at BSA-TFN 2010 (Credit: Neeta Shankar, http://www.neetashankar.com)

Somewhere between the leisurely morning tea and the newspaper in the local tea shop, in the regular day’s activities of Kollegal, a tiny city of Karnataka, was this proverbial storm in the tea cup as the 100 lunatics of BSA-TFN 2010 stormed out into the city roads to commence the day 2 of the ride.

The mood was upbeat after the 1st day’s 185 km’s Herculean effort of each rider as they embarked on a somewhat shorter day of 155 km to Bandipur, a small town in the foothills of the Nilgiri’s darling Ooty. The route for today was through some enchanting village roads with lots of undulating terrains. The promise of a scenic route made for a joyous start. The occasion was more than joyous for Haresh Amre who celebrated his 40th birthday.

However, the ride started in a terrific tempo as Roopak, Paul and RACF’s Managing Trustee and TFN’s very own Ravi Ranjan brought a dramatic very early break off from the peloton.  The group stormed into the excellent National Highway’s tarmac in a formidable pace-line that was averaging above 40 kmhr! It was a treat to watch the serious riders turn on the heat and the best moment came when these guys drafted behind a bus for a little over 3 minutes covering 3.5 km at an average pace of 65 kmph! Hats off to you guys, you have muscles of steel!

Ravi Ranjan, Roopak Suri and Paul. Missing from pic - Rajesh Nair!

Roopaj Suri: On attack

Ravi Ranjan- One of the most respected bikers in the group (Credit: Neeta Shankar @ http://www.neetashankar.com)

The ride continued on rolling hills and undulations. The smooth highway was flanked by tall trees and with greenery around the riders had enough inspiration from mother nature. Speaking of Inspiring figures, the ride saw a mother son pair of Rishi Nair (9 years old!) and Rosanna Nitti ride together. It was a brilliant sight and everyone was all praise for the “Junior Nair” (son of legendary racer Rajesh Nair who had to miss out the tour because of Visa issues). With Rakesh Nair also holding the Nair flag high, the TFN looked like Tour of Nairs 🙂

Rakesh Nair (Credit: Neeta Shankar, http://netashankar.com)

Rossana Nitti (Credit: Neeta Shankar @ http://neetashankar.com)

The 1st Support Station came up really quick at 45 km from the start line. It was perched right besides a sugarcane factory that produced jaggary and sugarcane juice.  That generated a lot of interest in the riders and some went all the way to learn the tricks of the trade. One such guy was Vinay Bhatia, who went into the factory probably hoping to get them to sign an MoU or something! At the same time, a fresh coconut water vendor had himself swarmed as riders opted for the natural revitalizer.

Sugercane for energy (Credit: Neeta Shankar @ http://www.neetashankar.com)

Vinay Bhatia with jaggary maker (Credit: Neta Shankar @ http://www.netashankar.com)

The cocnut vendor was much in business and the riders flocked him

The Support Stations are important nervous centers for the tour command as each rider is required to sign against their names so that the tour directors can keep track of the progress of the riders and their last positions. The tour has a plethora of volunteers on motorbikes and cars to keep track of all riders and their safety. With the safety assured, the riders ride at their favorite pace and enjoy the tour to the fullest.

Support Station Drill. You are not going anywhere without signing that paper. (Credit:Neeta Shankar @ http://www.neetashankar.com )

Also the Support Stations are a point where riders engage in a bit of in-ride socializing that ranges from light hearted banter to giving massages to each others to even grooming each other. The camaraderie between the folks was a heartwarming thing and more so when you contrast the friendships with the most frequent question in the tour “Hey I missed your name, it’s kinda hard to keep track of the 100 names….”

massage, grooming, chit chat- story of support stations

Post the first Support Station, the ride took a dive into the back roads from the billiard top of the National Highway. This brought about two changes. First, the route’s scenic quotient went up many folds as now it was steep ascents and descents of short length on a route that was punctuated with several ponds and water bodies and second, the surface quality dropped dramatically and now included a bit of broken tarmac and packed gravel and soil. To make matters a bit more challenging for the riders, the sun was out in full blast and it got from warm to hot to burning by the mid day.

The backroads for riding on Day2. The heat was on as the sun beat down hard. The ride was however on a refresing natural patch

 

Was the route beautiful? Oh yes!

By midday, the riders made it to the 2nd Support Station which was pitched by an enchanting water body. It was a great hang out place. The place exploded with laughter as Kavitha was leisurely applying some ice over her shoulders when someone remarked “It looks like you are posing for the Lux soap advert”. Yeah it had all to make it a soap advert- A babe, a water body except that the bar of lathery soap was replaced with ice!

 

However, everyone was not smiling. Nitish looked a bit off color from his usual upbeat self and we got to know that he had dropped his Garmin Forerunner  somewhere in the way 😦  Dr. Kumaraswamy’s problem with not smiling was however caused by a fall from the bike that needed a few stitches on his lips.

By midday, the ride was now going on under an unforgiving strong Sun. However, it still brought out some cool gestures from people and the riders. Vishnu and Pramod had stopped for a small hydration break and struck a conversation with a local who was so impressed with BSA-TFN story that he invited them for a stay at his home and promised to provide local site seeing! Somesh, on the other hand, was offered with an option by a local motorcyclist to trade their machines for some time so that the guy could try out Somesh’s sleek bike! But the top honors went to Rohitash who laid a lavish buffet of biscuits to a crippled puppy.

A perfect snap for PETA folks! Should marvel the photographer's eye as well (Credit: Neeta Shankar @ http://www.neetashankar.com)

The lunch was served at the 3rd Support Station, 55 km from the Country Club, Bandipur, and the final destination of Day 2. The lunch was well received by the riders but our friend Randall Bernard’s stomach did not agree well and that meant some dumping of some natural fertilizers for some impoverished flora. The only thing this dude lost, which he rued, was some precious glucose water (you know for what purposes,  right?). The riders were exhausted by the heat, suffering from the surface quality’s erratic nature but never short of enthusiasm. That makes a rider, isn’t it?

Ride with a Smile (Credit: Neeta Shankar @ http://www.neetashankar.com)

or ride with a style (Credit: Neeta Shankar @ http://www.neetashankar.com)

or ride with grimace

or ride with grimace (Credit: Neeta Shankar @ http://www.neetashankar.com)

but ride after all..... (Credit: Neeta Shankar @ http://www.neetashankar.com)

The Day 2’s monster laid its teeth bare after the riders crossed through the Bandipur National Forest gates. A monster gradient of 10-12% for the last 10 km or so made a bad breaking climb after already pedaling through 140 km! The mountainous terrain meant an early darkness and the sweeper vehicle picked up a few riders in last leg of the climb. Those who escaped the sweeper vehicle by a whisker had that cunning smile on their faces that said “yeah…beat that!”

just before the end- its all smiles (Credit: Neeta Shankar @www.neetashankar.com)

The dreaded Sweep Truck- Your time is up! (Credit: Neeta Shankar @ http://www.neetashankar.com)

The Country Club, Bandipur proved as an excellent final pit stop for a hard laborious day under a scorching sun. The riders were greeted with great food and a well deserved break.  The day’s elevation-distance stats looked like this:

The Day 3 of the BSA-TFN is supposed to be the hardest and the most scenic of all. The riders are supposed to do a 90 km day with a 40 km unbroken climb to Nilgiri mountain’s crown jewel Ooty. It promises to be an epic as the climb is monstrous. Expect more drama, more heroics, more show of character from the 100 lunatics. The 9 year old kid Rishi Nair showed today that all the things that are considered difficult and perceived as impossible are actually a “child’s play” if one is willing to hang in and deliver the best. It will be a serious test of character on the long laborious Ooty climb tomorrow.

Go for it guys, you rock!

One of the many road signs that the Marksmen put. The Marksmen get out on road at 3 am and mark the whole way for the riders. What a tough job! (Credit: Neeta Shankar @ http://www.neetashankar.com)

-Manasij Ganguli

manasij.ganguli@gmail.com

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9 Responses to “BSA-TFN 2010: Day 2- 155 km Day and a 9 Year Old Rider – A Child’s Play!”

  1. ajay Says:

    nicely captured, very good photos

    just felt that ‘lunatic’ is being used a too much (I guess 2-3 times in last post) and here too start with that

    • manasij Says:

      ummmm its in continuation with my blog on the riders’ into which was captioned “100 Lunatics”.
      Ok, I will change it to delinquents, madmen, nutcases etc in the next versions…LOL 😀

      Neeta is behind the pics. She makes me wait and wait and wait to get the pics she wants, but boy isn’t she good at her job?
      Check her website for more pics of TFN- you will love it!

      Cheers,
      Manasij

  2. Mark Says:

    Are Day 2 pics up? I’m sitting here waiting for dinner. I just got quiet so maybe it has been served?

  3. Varun Says:

    Like the captions! And pictures no doubt are awesome! Looks like the riders are having a ball!

    Small suggestion – I know it is extremely hard to cover the whole day in few lines but Is there anyway you can probably cut short the length of the post?

  4. rekhammenon@gmail.com Says:

    thanks… good write up ! where do i access the rest of the pics that neeta took that arent up on the post ? i know she took mine and i want to show off to family a bit 🙂

  5. Ranjan Says:

    Loved it…. Hungry for more.

  6. Saibal Chatterjee Says:

    Manasij please can you find out if the load in the midsection of Vinay Bhattia is an over load of jaggery or Vinay natural stockpile of natural energy producing lipids. Saibal

  7. Varinder Says:

    Blog was good, but where were you? I didnt see you riding?

    • manasij Says:

      i am out of biking for a few weeks as I am nursing a knee injury. will get back on saddle in february and then you can see my ride stories.

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