Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kodachadri Solo - One day run


Finally I get a whole day off. Can leave early morning and come back late in the night. But just a day no more. Thought I will just do a lazy ride around BR hills and checked up with the guys. But no favorable responses. Arun said he might join if I start a bit late. But I wanted to utilize the whole day. That’s when Vicky unraveled his plan to ride upto kodachadri and beyond. Suggested me to join em making a run for it. I knew this was a tough ask. With the conditions here, we had, atleast I had never come back home the same day with 300+ kms remaining post 4pm. It was to be my longest solo ride as well. If at all, I had to do it with very less breaks and ride at good pace. Din really think about it much. Over the next day I couldn’t really come up with any other place that would be nice for a whole day! Still much undecided din make any preparations for the ride. Wasn’t decided till just the night before. Filled up the tank just in case. Called up Nidhi and he was leaving with his noob friend and take it easy as they had time. Thought might as well join em and ride till wat ever possible and get back. Could not sleep properly. Was tensed. Almost had a heart burn. Was imagining myself crashing every where! Yeah I was scared. I was thinking like a commuter. 16 months of commuting can do that I guess! And finally I can have a ride here. But what ever, I did not want to giveup on the ride. I was in a fix. Finally compromise prevailed. Said to myself that I will take it easy and turn back if I felt it’s getting tight. Plus I have ZMA this time. Depends on the mood on the alarm. Lightened up, then I went to my happy place and dozed of.

4.40 The James Bond theme music wakes me up. Well it’s the alarm on my fone! Am I going? Don’t think just leave! Din even call Nidhi as I had no time if I want to see koda. Get up brush my teeth wash my face no bath. Got ready in a jiffy. Rain suit and gaiters already in the bag and in the last min dumped clutch and f'brake levers in the bag. What else do I need? Don’t think just leave. Was out by 5.10. Went to the atm looted some cash and now what ? Don’t think just leave. It’s towards shivmoga I guessed since questioning was not allowed. Started at 5.25 am. Went to Kanakpura road to catch up with the NICE road. From there all the way to a lil before Nelamangala on 4 laner. The cleaned up wiser goes dirty in no time. Thanks to the insects that do jay flying on highways. These insects are crazy. Get to tumkur highway just at day break. Stop a few kms before the Toll to catch some warmth from a cup of hot coffee. 40 mins and 40kms not a very desirable speed. Yup long way to go. Got mineral water bottle. Gulped a bit cleaned the visor with it and since I did not want to carry more weight. Spilled some there. Then this Coffee vender stares me with the 'Rich daddy's spoilt kid splurging money' look. But hey he did not have spare water! Removed my rain jacket thinking sun's gonna be up and I don’t need it. Big mistake. It was cold alright and my Mesh jacket not really helping. Get to the toll and whip the throttle. Gotta make it fast else I might endup turning back from Shivmoga or worse from the base of Kodachadri! 100-110-120 always on the speedo. But it’s cold. I had no food. The discomfort is creeping up. Should I stop to wear back the rain jacket? Sun may be up any time and don’t think just move. With just 150 kms my lower back starts hurting. WTH! How am I gonna ride all the way? My bag had just rainsuit and gaiters. Tad weighty but not enough to buckle my back so soon. Lifted back pack in one hand and aaah the relief. Yeah it’s the cold, no food + moderate load on back = one hurting back. Should i turn back? Don’t think just move! Heck how on earth could in not stuff in bungee net. I got truck loads of em at home. Y din I get the Tank bag? To lazy to hunt it from its hole and put stuff in it and it might scratch my new bike's tank! Wat crap. Really missed the bunjees. Even thought of searching for one in the next village! Yeah right. In all this commotion forgot to enjoy the ride. It’s supposed to be fun. My first long ride on my new ZMA. It had achieved dream bike status in all these years of ogling at its type. Why am I doing this? Wasn’t the warm bed at home much bettor? Missed a winter morning hot shower too! Enough I just had to stop. Found a neat looking empty stretch. Jumped of the bike and cool down or rather heat up. To distract myself pulled out my new toy. The cam. I got a real cam this time. Spent a few mins with it. Sun's coming up. Atleast something’s going my way. I miss bunjees. Back to saddle. Wanted to have food directly at Shivmoga. Din wanna stop for food before cos it would be discouraging progress. And whip the throttle to max. After some time i see a lone biker ahead on a Bullet traveling at his pace. No time to socialize here. He prolly was riding at 70-80 with all the time in the world and zip past at 120. I felt instant adrenalin rush. Wat was that? Was it because there was fellow biker on the same road? Or the kiddish satisfaction that I am faster than him? Or is it the realization of the pace I was riding? What ever it was, was quite a shot in the arm. Hey I gotta take all I get here. Then on it actually started getting bettor. Coming from riding the CBZ, 7.5k rpms on the ZMA seems like 5k on CBZ. Thought will give it a try riding at 80-90. Did try but failed. Forgot the speedo and just rode at the comfortable speed. It’s important to ride the speed that keeps u occupied. Any thing less ....well... Ok enough of self justification. And just move on. Cross a railway track and I knew its bad roads now. But surprise its new roads this section. Getting nearer to shivmoga near Terikeri smooth road was giving way to odd pot holes. Well I wanted some thing interesting to ride right. Needed to bang on one pothole to teach myself to slow down. Smooth roads are behind. I adapt and the roads get only worse. It gets on to offroads. All this with Breakfast... err.. I mean shivmoga just a few KMs away. As it gets nearer the roads get worse. The roads deceptive got better nearing the town and throttled. But there was this one last pothole how could i miss that. Banged it so hard that front forks bottomed up and thought the mags might have even bent! How did i manage to do that? it was a specially pothole spread to the entire width of the road and it was of the same colour of the road. But i luckyly managed to hit the worst part of it :D Finally I am in shivmoga. Catch the by-pass stop at the first road side small eatery at 9.45 am.

That’s 300 kms in 4hrs 20 mins. Ok now I gotta give myself a break. I am almost on schedule. Tad over. I needa fill up myself to brim. Idly wada and Buns. Buns? Never seen it before. Looked bulky so ordered it. It was sugary, mass'y and Wheaty. Perfect compact organic fuel for self in this situation. Like more food goes in, in less time! Let myself of the hook and leisured with a hot cup of coffee. It’s all gonna be slow ride from here in the forest reserves and mountains. Call up Dad. I am in Mysore with 3 other guys! Din wanna get him paranoiac especially after getting the advice "u traveled 140kms in quick time, ride slow it’s been long since us rode"! Hey wat he doesn’t know don’t hurt him:D. You gotta do what you gotta do. Call up Nidhi. They still at tumkur. Might as well book rooms for them at k'top. Call up Vicky. He says "Yaawn! got up just now, howz the weather? You carry on will catch up at k'top!". Call up Arun. He says He says "good that u went; some work landed couldn’t accompany you even if u had waited." There, I just got relieved of the guilt of not waiting for a friend to ride along. It’s almost an hour now 10.45. Enough food must have digested to give energy. Gottu do something about the bag. Improvised and tied shoulder straps to the extension hole on the right side foot peg bracket. It’s falling short on the other side. When else will the saree guard come in handy. Good that I did not remove it yet. Now the bag in secured on the bike. From now on it’s going to be fight for seat space between me and my bag! But atleast it’s off my back. Fuel up and I here this noise in chain. Yup the chain is damn tight. Needs oil and adjustment. Just at the dead end of by pass to where I was supposed to take a right. I see Hero Honda show room. WOW. Just as I went in. It was flurry of activates. They don’t get too many ZMAs there I suppose. My bike gets pampered. Clutch adjusted. Chain lubed. Cleaned with cloth. He even opened the front sprocket casing to lube! With half the workers supervising one another to get it done properly. wow. Offered service but I had not time. Wats the charge? No charge! Please sir its ok it seems. Was even advised me of a short cut that would same me 20-30 kms. That is taking a left from EInooru to Hosanagara instead of from Anandapuram. So nice of them. Heck its 11.15.

Its bright and sunny may be I won’t see rain this time. Reach Einooru and I see a Board saying kodachadri 92 kms to the left. I wasn’t really enlightened about a secret shortcut, was I? The roads here on are narrow and trees on either side. Some times even got to ride under the canopy with sunshine escaping between the leaves. Had to watch out for blinders with road not wide enough to maneuver around the opposing traffic. Some straight narrow stretches where I could even manage 120! Really enjoying the ride now. Cross HosaNagara. Saw a truck collided with wall of a narrow bridge. But there is space to pass. Too many ppl around. Din wanna invite stares pulling out the cam there. Terrain gets undulating now with threat of rain drops. It still seems bright in the direction I needa go so throttle on. After crossing nagara only dark skies lay ahead. So stopped to wear the Rains suit just when the rain drops got heavier. Cam in a leather waist pouch. The rainsuit pant over it and then the jacket over it. Should be safe enough for the cam. And barely few hundred meters and heavens opened up generously. Rain riding from now on. Is that what you got? I am ready :D. Though the rain is hindering my progress its fun too. It 12.45 and I am still not at the base of kodachadri. Couple of times i thought may be I over shot the deviation. But it was still ahead. After taking a couple of deviations at the main road reach the base of kodachadri by 1.15pm.

I knew its going to be wet but hoped it least it won’t be raining on the climb. And my prayers were answered. Rains stop a bit. Based on my last trips memory. I have to cross some initial sections with soft slush. After that though the terrain is rocky it won’t be slippery. Or so I thought. Crossed a few sections. But they still coming on. Was reminding myself. The bike has to carry you. you cannot carry the bike. I had to take proper lines not to slip. Even had to dodge 4wd jeeps. Seems lot more of them this year. Boy is this place getting popular. The inclines with slippery slush, these guys relay on momentum and can’t stop if they want to! Heard honking once. I thought a jeep's coming from below and thought will climb up the incline before it comes. But half way through it’s the jeep coming from above appears from a curve. He gets surprised and its bit hard for him to stop. Hardly any place for the bike to go aside some how manage to cross over but not before having to listen to the rants of the driver. As in, why do you come here in bike, we can’t stop mid way like this, jeep will tumble. When you hear the horn u should stop!" ok so that’s the protocol. When the driver is approaching tight sections he honks. The first to honk gets the right of way while the other has to keep away from the narrow stretch. The path now is like in W shape. I have to be in one of those tracks. Hope I don’t run into another jeep in more precarious stretches. I could see slush quite up the climb! Later I came to know that they are in their slow road building process and have put the first layer that is red mud from the nearby mountain itself! Pherrrrfect. Now there is slush all the way unlike last time. But thankfully Michelin tires don’t let me down. Infact I just had one wheelspin when I took the wrong line. Pass man jeeps again. Got the stares as in "May u r great getting the bike here, Hero! What r u trying to prove?, U R Nutz, Is it possible?" etc etc. Stop at the plain area enroute for some clicks. It’s Misty all around. By now I am getting really hungry and rains picking up too. Finally near Inspection Bungalow by 2.30 pm. I am cutting it tight here. Yes like I said to my self last night, when it gets tight I will turn back. hmmm... 3pm was my dead line and thought or pushing it to 3.30. It begins to pour again. I went near the IB to see if I can book room for Nidhi but it too crowded I suppose. Lots and lots of people there. No one seems to have any idea of where to get food! Get one guy to take picture of me in the rain. Then asks me did you bike climb up? His friend: how did it get here if it did not climb? Not the first time to get that reaction. Then I take my bike below near the temple. Head to the priests home and sure enough there is lunch. Nothing like a cold rice and sambhar in this cold rainy weather! After I had food I asked why they don’t heat food stuff. Comes the reply "Could have asked before only know!" yeah! Why did I not think of it before? But atleast I got a hot cup of coffee. I am happy now:D Check out the office for room but just not possible too many ppl. Its 3PM and still have to visit k'top on foot. Decided to trek up till where ever I can till 15 mins and then come down. Tired, heavy tummy and steep climb with riding gear under the rainsuit and an oversize shoe gaiter is hard stuff you know. It’s still misty every where. I can hardly see 30 feet ahead forget the distant mountains. I looked really funny among the people there carrying the helmet around! Used a plastic cover to protect the cam and click in between rain drops. Time to turn back and not before posing for a couple of pix.

Get down is even harder on the knee. Man depletion of glucose reserves just before a ride home. Get to the priests house for another cup of coffee. Put my head on the table and had a powerful power nap for 5 mins. I so wanted to stay back but have to leave. And I start by 3.35 pm. I needed to take very less breaks and make good time. Still unsure if I would reach home the same day. Now that I am crossing the deadline. Just as I near my bike the mist clears up a bit and I could see the green mountains a bit. Could not help but play with the cam. Hop on my bike and after the first turn I saw a guy on discover approaching. Asked me How far to the top!! My big biker ego melted! And what I saw the next turn humbled me ever more. 4 guys, 2 each on a CD100 and a splendor climbed up all the way. The guys were exited about their accomplishment and their faces were beaming. But hey, they were well built ppl who could literally carry their light bikes, unlike me with a bulky bike and lot of way to Bangalore ;). I knew decent would be harder as I would be deprived of front brake. Was saying to myself "you have no front brakes". After some distance I come to spot where there are bikable track on the hillocks beside the road. I don’t have much time so check out the smaller hillock opposite to the one I tried last time. It was fun alright. Quite windy and mist/fog/clouds floating around. I could spend hours there but had to leave soon. May be some other time with more time.

Heavens opened up again just when I was about to start and now the fun begins. Yet to cover the long decent. Thought of taking the least slippery path at the center. Can use the flowing rain water as guide! Jeeps begin to approach 1 by 1. This time I also honk when I am in narrow place. If I heard the honks, get of the path and stay put till they pass. Once again say rocks are much bettor then slush. It felt like never ending. Just when I was prematurely celebrating that I did not have fall, the rear wheel slips and I drop the bike. Luckily I was in a V trench when it happened could the lift the bike. In a hurry to get my foot over it, I scratch the tank both sides! Wat crap, no scratches from the drop though! Dunno y I din swing my leg from the back of the bike. May be I couldn’t it was on a decent and I was already tired. With my muscles all loose have a couple of scares before getting off the off-road stretch. Phew! But we are not home yet. Its 5Pm and 400 kms to go and its raining. Am already 1 hour behind schedule. Nidhi calls up that we could meet up at Hosanagara for a chat. They seem to have halted for the day there. With rains constant company it was slow progress. But the enjoying the pull when I whip ZMA's throttle. Lot of acceleration and decelerations. Feel as though somebody spoiled the roads after I left in the morning! Did not remember so my irregularities on the road in the morning. After a couple of call update I am in HosaNagar with Nidhi. He invites me to stay over for the day but I have leave though. Its just 6pm. And shivmoga was all I could think. The road seems to be blocked for big vehicles cos of the truck crash in the morning. There was heavy equipment next to the truck to stabilize it. I had to duck under the heavy chain with the help of people to cross the narrow possibility and roll on the shatterd glass. Man i hope it does not cause a punture. As i pass through the various towns on the road, the dogs on the road instead of scampering off the road they got startled and froze in the tracks and i had to break hard to avoid hitting! this happened like 4-5 times. I guess dogs in this part the world unlike bangalore are not used to bikes approaching so fast! Still raining. Y oh Y? Even the HID lights not effective to the full extent cos of the wet roads. I was in a state of fun, hurry, frustration all at the same time. Get myself to shivmoga by 7PM. After loosing some time finally track down the bypass road and stop for fueling up. Clean my visor and it looks like a dry run from here. There I get a call from Arun and I update him. Suggests me to follow something to avoid hitting the odd pot hole. Call up Dad and tell just leaving Mysore!

Remember the bad roads just before shivmoga? Its not gonna be fun without some rains is it? It’s not good my visor gets dirty in no time. Rain lets go but had done enough to dirty by visor and I had emptied water that was in the bag. I was getting hungry now. I knew if I don’t have food then I may feel sleepy. But did not want to waste precious mins. If only I could fill my tummy as quickly as my bike's:D. Even after the offroad sections i was searching for the 120kmph roads. Which i seemed to manage in day time at the same place. Compared to morning this is where I as accelerating and decelerating frequently. The response was awesome while over taking and all. The approaching truckies dip their light troubled by my HID expecting my reciprocal. Some even switched off! But why should I? I am the one traveling at 80+ and that guys traveling at 40-50kmph has 400 Watts of light. It’s unfair. I knew that would get than angry and they would blast all lights just when I am about to cross them.

9.40pm at Arsikere. Found just wat I wanted an eatery beside the road that would save me time. Bakery it was. By now my back, knee, butt started hurting. Have a cake and couple of buns. Clean the visor and the head light with water. This was a 20 mins break to balances my senses. The roads are reasonably good now on. I wait for an escort. The escort vehicle has to be faster then me without an escort. Was maintaining good pace above 90. And no car overtakes me to latch on. I close in on a Pajaro and that guys thinks I am giving a chase and starts to rip at 100 110. Now that’s wat I call an escort and start following him at a distance. I even switch off the HID to normal halogen so as not to irritate my helper in the RVM. It was fun following the pickup at 100-110 on wide curves. After a few KMs he realized that I was using him and slowed down! Ok thanks for nothing! Over took him and back to hid. Man i need a High beam HID. Only low beam can be surprising at times. The night ride sure was fun with ZMA power. All the time my reaching home getting delayed by more minutes. Thanks to the food I had taken I am not feeling sleepy but the necks hurting bad. With center lane painting I could ride at a bettor pace above 100. I am at Tumkur by 11 pm. Not the cozy four laner yet. I have to cross the tumkur by pass. This was one annoying stretch with odd potholes and the timing of me approaching one was coinciding with an opposite vehicle blinding me. I almost last it ones. Finally at the toll booth of the 4 laner. I had to take a break. Vicky calls me up and says good man u will be in home in an hour. Call up dad that we are leaving in maddur now!

Buckle up and cross the toll section in a jiffy and get off the highway to the NICE road till Mysore road. As I was nearing home Vicky calls up, "Man you dad called up". Since I was 10 mins late to update. He seemed to have unwitting told dad about my day out. Man I am busted big time. Just that din want his disapproval. 12.45 In the parking lot of my flat complex. I put the center stand and was euphoric moment due to a personal achievement. Couldn’t believe I did it.
That’s 813kms in 19.5 hours which included the tough offroad sessions. Went home all dirty and with no much talk, straight to bed with a tired and satisfied self. Ofcourse I was too tired to even to sleep. Was broken all over. Took a couple of days for the bodily pain to relieve. But sweet pain you see.

PS: did I get busted? Well next day I just told that since Vicky dropped out we were teasing him with our extravagant plan :D

PPS: I you have managed to read till here, Do spare a comment :)