Exactly two years ago on this day I completed my first 200 k brevet with my WCCG madipakkam chapter friends. Missed 300 k due to my cousin brothers death and completed 300 K at Pondicherry. Completed 400 k with our team again. My first attempt at 600 k ended in me and my friend quitting at 520 k unable to control sleep despite having sufficient time. After quitting from my maiden attempt at VPV-600 in mar-2020, within a week whole country was under lockdown due to covid-19 and all our practice came to halt including daily rides. My cycle was lying idle for six months time. Initially I dusted every week. Later spiders occupied and then for drying clothes etc., There was no lime light when brevet activities would resume and our fitness levels started dropping despite working out at home daily. I started gaining weight again. Looked out to others and started running inside home. My weight increased despite running 1000 kms in two months during jun-july. Even that too came to a halt during august. Hopes of completing SR within the year too kept distancing. However kept talking to SR aspirants and kept the hopes alive. For we would not repeat the mistake of quitting again. We endured the long wait during the covid-19 lockdown at its peak till august. Conducting brevet rides in india resumed from mid-september. By now we all are carrying extra packages around our waist. Trichy randonneurs announced Auroville-600. However subsequently Madras Randonneurs announced Roadhammer-600, saving us from transportation and journey.
Started riding at the beginning of sep-2020 after a gap of six months. We assessed our fitness and found we can pull this off. Coupled with non-stop daily rides -thanks to WCCG madipakkam chapter friends for giving company in all daily rides. Completed 3000 k in sep-oct and slowly returning to normal rhythm. Did my first 100k in last week of sep-20 and one more 100 next week followed by 200k next week.
Previous day Preparation
We started hydrating one day prior to the ride start which helped a lot. Charged all our batteries, battery bank, packed all things required for the next day ride. A good night sleep followed by afternoon nap on ride day helped a lot during night ride on day-1.
Day-1 (4:30 PM to mid night)
Seven riders commenced the ride from JBC Velachery at 4:30 pm on 30th oct. Four time SR Sudhakar sir sir took lead and I followed him leaving others behind. We stopped at 85 km for a small bite. Control point was only five km away. Rudhra caught up with us there and flying ahead of us. Again we overtook him and clocked 65 kms in next two hours. A coffee break at 140 km to refuel made me feel better. Sudhakar sir sir was carrying rice and having few spoons every half an hour. I haven’t planned that much for nutrition. A lesson I must take from this experience. Speed increases once we fuel us with right food at right time.
Day-2 (midnight to next day midnight)- day of surprises
Reached second CP at 1:00 am exactly. We took photo and posted in the group. Soon the organisers responded- We are at CP-2 and where are you. It was a manned CP. Luckily we just read the message and went to A2B ullundurpet on the opposite side of road. Mr Prasanna was waiting fr us there. Had a delicious coffee again with some sweet bun. Refilled water. Took half an hour break. No one has joined us. So me and Sudhakar sir sir proceeded expecting to reach u-turn point by 6:00 am in the morning.
We rode another 40 km. It was 4:20 in the morning. Had a meal top up and a coffee to keep awake and rested for a while. We were actually choreographing photograph of nap to post in group. Once done two of us started again. Hardly we could pedal. I know its not because of tiredness but due to the rising elevation after the perambalur. A consolidated 1000 m elevation is awaiting us in the next 60 km. Since it is about to dawn we were not feeling sleep also. Reached U-turn point at 7:30 am in the morning . A solid 6:30 hours for the third 100 k. There were no shops open even to refill water. However due to constant food recharge at night, helped in combating elevation without break. It was a rolling terrain , so the same climbs have to be done on return also.
A small nap for 30 minutes, bath, breakfast(idli vadai), and then resumed the ride by 9:30 am. Just after two km saw rudhra toward check point. Told him over phone that u-turn is near and went ahead. No trees on the way even for a shade and a very hot day. Only sun god was testing us. Wind god didn’t help us nor test us. By 11:30 am we were at 355 km. Had an egg omlette, refilled water and proceeded again in the impartial hot sun right at 12:00 mid noon. Rode for another 1:30 hours. Found a hotel near ullundurpet. Had vegetarian meals instead of usual biriyani.
My co-riders tube got punctured. Fixed it and then within 15 minutes tyre got burst. Replaced the tyre. The reason was liner had a twist and so we had to remove the liner. All memories of puncture did not haunt me. Quickly on to the wheels, we reached 400km at 4:42 pm. Had a quick food recharge at A2B ullundurpet . The break was for more than 30 minutes. Since we had sufficient time at our belt we could afford. Another coffee break after vikravandi toll at 7:30 helped in recharging a lot. By now karthos got fired up and moving steadily still 70 km behind us. At 10:15 had dinner at vasantha bhavan at 470 km. When we came out saw rudhra having juice. Three of us rode together to the next check point at Only coffee, silavattam.
Around 12:45 we reached the CP. Still 80 km to go in 8 hours ,we decided to take a nap. A two hour sleep helped a lot. Started at 3:10 am in the morning, saddle soreness inflicted me. Took a coffee break near chengalpet and then slow ride since we have to see map and enquire at each turn, verify again. The route via kayar was very sceneic in the morning with mist, mountains and forest. Finally reached JBC-velacherry around 8:10 am in the morning with just a 20 minute gap and greeted by karuna , waiting for me at JBC. karthos reached by 8:30 with no spare time. No words to appreciate karthos who rode without sleep and alone for 500 km. A man of great mental strength and will power. Me karthos and rudhra got our first super randonneur . Sudhakar sir completed his fifth title. The moment we waited for eight months had finally come to fruition.
Lesson to learn – Under estimation of the route (elevation)
Comparing the route with VPV-600 we assumed it is simpler. No loops. No headwinds. No bad roads. But still in for a surprise elevation twist. However much better than the ullundurpet stretch or the vandavasi stretch. The elevation at the last 60 kms was very deceptive and tricky. Literally no water for the last 30 odd kms. The route starts from JBC-velacherry and the through kayar leads to GST at Chengalpattu. From there straight to samayapuram toll at Trichy and return is same all the way. There were two CP on the way and two on return. Except the under-estimated elevation at the last 60 km everything was easy.
Distance: 616 km
Elevation gain: 1904 m
Moving time: 27:34 hours
Elapsed time: 39:40 hours
Avg speed: 22.3 kmph
Max elevation: 143 m
Thanks to organisers, madras randonneurs for conducting the event and helping us complete the SR. Thanks to coriders . A big thanks to WCCG madipakkam chapter friends and Vinoth, arun and Vignesh, Karthik seenu for constantly following up with us. Thanks all for the motivation and support.
Its a late post just by two years. hahaha.