Bumpy Trail Bicyclists at the T3 Gurgaon 200km Brevets
ravikiran gunale and kp Pranam getting set for the early morning start. (photo from facebook album by taran j singh)
Gurgaon-Sohna-Nuh-Taoru-Hodal-Palwal-Sohna-Gurgaon0530AM: leisure valley parking, gurgaon:
bicycle silhouettes gathered in the dark. wheels being assembled. huddles of helmets. the hood of a scorpio lit up by a headlight lamp. i find ravi and pranam, and stand in line. they are doing the event on bicycles they have never ridden before; they purchased their helmets only yesterday! someone flags me in and i get included in the first group. jaskaran and i - who had done the 100K run together - start off around 6:10.
the sun was rising by the time we crossed the gurgaon urban sprawl 0634 AM. ravi kiran (from noida) and jaskaran 0641 AM.
in most of my longer rides, i tend to go easier than i can, just to be on the safe side. today, i intended to push myself a bit. so at some point about 15km down, i started speeding up.
i drafted this truck that was going at a steady 32kmph for about 4km before Sohna. For a while, several of the lead group cyclists also joined in.
long line of trucks filling up with earth at rewasan 0723
32km into the ride (photo from facebook album by Taran J Singh)
group of cyclists behind me, 0731 AM. possibly, i was in the lead for some 25 km after sohna (you can see the peloton behind me in the picture above). during the ghati climb however, everyone overtook me :(
control-point-2 0818 AM. harjot, a class XII student, climbing to Ctrl Point 2 along with some other riders 0844 AM.
a waterlogged ganesha looking fondly at a little heron. about 10km past nuh, 09:24 AM.
a flock of 30+ black-winged stilts at a jheel near Ujina, 09:27.
pied avocet with up-curving beak, foraging along with the group of black-winged stilts. my species first sighting for this winter visitor.
about 20km after nuh, ashish and i were riding together when we came across a busy intersection with the road on the left saying palwal. i thought this must be the turn, and we took it. a little later, we had misgivings, because the road was rather small and very rural - the 3d pit-stop, a cafe coffee day, was extremely unlikely in these environs. but we couldn't find anyone to ask for a while. eventually, we determined that we had turned way too soon, and that hodal was still 21km from that turn. as we turned around, we saw armin david, who had followed us into this path... so that was another 4km of wasted pedalling.
a little after getting back on the road, i was surprised to hear the sound of children's voices from inside a dense copse. there was just this little hut with a porthole window on one edge of the copse...
lunch break: biriyani at islam's near the village of kot. kids materialized within minutes even on this desolate stretch of road. Islam offered me a pull on his cool-looking hookah, but I had miles to go... 10:24 AM.
indian pariah kite taking off. it was sitting on the border of a field, and a group of egrets were harassing it, possibly to protect a nest. 10:50 AM.
puncture at palwal 1253 AM. my bike is notorious for punctures - i was the puncture champ of tfn-10 (nine in a week); but things have improved a lot since i cut up a strip from a tube as a rim liner. i must have lost practice, for this tube took a while to replace. the kids (and adults) were impressed with the pump and its pressure gauge...
why indian highways are in such bad statei perked up a bit after reaching the sohna-gurgaon highway, where i encountered a strange mode of transportation...
this tractor sped past at about 40kph, noisily dragging a huge block of wood. i managed to shoot this when it slowed down to turn along some earthy roads to a village. 15:16
jyoti punj worked at the home station morning to night while we were enjoying the changing scenery...
most of the volunteers in the t3 events are avid bicyclists
route map and descriptionCue Sheet prepared by manas arvind of team t3 (abridged plaintext version). the T3 team is organizing a series of brevets. the 400km brevet came up after this (nov 11).
amit mukerjee for the bumpy trail bicyclists oct 2011. feedback: mukerjee [at] gmail