Anchetti ride , Nov 5 2011

Date : 30th October, Place : Siva’s Road,Bangalore

My 1st trip to the great Siva’s Road. Gana , Kiran and me were plotting a long ride, drawing inspiration from Gana and Major Srinivas’s recent trip to Mullayangiri.
Me : Anybody interested to go to Ooty.
Ganapathy : Done already not interested. Lets go someplace where I haven’t been. How about Kodai?
Me : May be too far, would that not be 400 one way, tough to do in a span of 30 hours or so.
Kiran : Of course not, we drive to a place close by and then start climbing.
Me : Ahh, makes sense
Ganapathy : I have a carrier, what we’ll do is to drive to a place closeby , start at about 3/4 in the morning, spend some time atop , come back and then drive back.
Me : Sounds like a plan.We should be able to share driving duties and sleep in the car.
Kiran(probably more to himself) : Yeah man, I need to get riding on the saddle every week. I’ll surely join.

So I fortify the plan in my head and let my family know that I would be disappearing on Friday night and coming back on Saturday night. Wifey points out that it ain’t no fair that I go out like that. I reason that of course night riding makes sense since I can spend more of the weekend with the family. And also ,wondering as to where I am picking up these new found friends from. My social circle must be beginning to feel more and more lunatic to her.

Date : Nov 4th, Build up to the night.

Back and forth messaging on FB revealed that Ganapathy had a defective car,so that was a no-go. I suggested since I’ve a car, a Thule 9103 should fit. If not,we can hire for a day( was planning to inquire Pedals & Wheels , Velo Village and Tapprs to try and rent a carrier) So finally at about 7 pm called Pedals and Wheels, and it turned out they did not have one for rent. Called Gana by phone and a small conversation followed.

Me : What carrier do you have? A Thule?
Ganapathy : No its a BSA one,and it would fit only a sedan.
Me : Are you sure? Shall we try and see if it fits my car ?
Ganapathy : Hmm, not sure let me see. Wait, the package cover does show a hatchback,so maybe you could fit it.
Me : Okay ,you know what, I’ll come over and we can try and fit it. If it does , our Kodai plan is on.
Ganapathy : Okay, let me update Kiran. He’s still at work.

So I move over to his place along with my son.We go down and try to attach the carrier in the rain , find a shade , park the car, fiddle with a torch and finally nail it. Came back to find vedant being entertained by Gana’s mom. She got a little apprehensive (to put it mildly) about the last minute plans. I also helpfully let in that I would have to go home and confirm my plans. So in an atmosphere of eerie excitement, I go home, after finalizing the plan with Kiran on the phone as well,instructing him to get home and get ready. Rough estimate showedthat we would be ready by midnight,reach Batlagundu by 7 and start on our way up.

So I got back into my car and drove home. Got a call from Gana as I was driving , and we had a 3 way chat.

Ganapathy : Hey Chiddu, just been thinking about our trip. It may be a little tight. Just talked to Kiran and it looks like we may not have extra time to account for any unforeseen incident.
Me : True, I guess, if we have tobe back by 3 am on Sunday, we have time for dealing with 2-3 flats on the bikes, but none on my car.
Ganapathy : Okay so lets go on a local ride, around Kanakapura road.
Me : Okay , are you guys game for a ride to Anchetti. Its about 180-190km.
Ganapathy : Yeah , anything you say.
Me : Its going to be an intense ride with a lot of uphills/downhills, plus there is a stream in the middle. Let us start at around 5:30 am, should have enough time to then come back by daylight. Night riding can be difficult on the rural roads.
Kiran : 5:30 tough for me, can we start @ 6.
Me : We need to start early,it can get very tough if the sun comes out. I’m going to sleep now and get up early, let us start at the earliest. Try to get to Merida junction as early as possible.

The conversation ended on the unfinished note , and I went home. Duly informed wifey that the Kodai trip was cancelled. Short and sweet conversation

Me : We decided to cancel the trip , had a chat on my drive back home. Was cutting it too close.
Wifey : Good, you cancelled the freakish idea.
Me : Ganapathy’s mom was quite apprehensive.
Wifey : You men are all the same, he doesn’t regard mom’s advice, you don’t regard your wife’s.

Soon,put my already asleep kiddo into bed, checked some mail and tucked myself in ,setting the alarm to 4 am. I get up, do my morning ablutions , get ready by around 5:10 , got my things in place, and got my phone to check wtih the twosome, saw a couple of pending messages.

Ganapathy : (11:34 pm) What’s the start time and where is the meeting point?
Ganapathy : (12:08 am) Looks like only you and I for this ride. What time do we start?

For somebody who was looking for some good company(Ganapathy is a strong rider), this was a bit of a setback. Figured he might be asleep since I hadn’t replied. Minor setback this,but I felt a bit irritated for not responding. Pondered a few options, fast paced thoughts running on my mind. Almost like two entities talking to each other

Thought 1: I’ll go to Mysore road, maybe Mysore and back.
Thought 2: Might get bored,let me just ride till I get bored and head back.ChennaPatna, or maybe even Maddur.
Thought 3: Let me go to Anchetti all alone. Its raining,so may not be hot too.

Came out of my reverie, and decided to text back.

Me : (05:13 am) Whenever you are ready.

Went for another round of coffee and some bread. Refreshed and streched while I mulled my options.Was determined to do at least a 100k ride. Tried another message.

Me : (05:31 am) Are you on?
Ganapathy : (05:39 am) Didn’t get ready because I didn’t know the timings last night,Will be ready in 5 mins
Ganapathy : (05:45 am) What say?
Me : (05:45 am) Ok

Called him, had a quick chat, decided to meet at the Konankunte junction on Kanakapura road at 6:15. Eventually we met at 6:30 am. Further down the road, met Balakrishna on his roadie,doing some pre-TFN practice with 2 of his friends. Once we crossed Kaggalipura, Gana started exulting on the beauty of the road.

We reached Harohalli at about 7:45 and continued towards Maralvadi.Spent a while photographing the rainbows.

Rainbow beyond Harohalli

Gana by now seemed to have been bought over by the ride,and seemed to be enjoying the scenery. I told him to wait for about 5km after Maralvadi, at the start of the elephant corridor. And also told him that eventually one loses track the number of uphills/downhills. Need to record using a GPS and count later on. We reached the fairly big dam at the start of the elephant corridor. We took up to the dam and took some photographs . After being here for a few trips, this was a first for me. Generally ride steady with minimum breaks at least till Anchetty.

Rainbow beyond Harohalli

Saw a silk cocoon on the road, that looked like it had fallen off some basket. Lucky escape for the silk moth, photographed it and left it on the side of the road.

The cocoon
Normally the goal is to reach Anchetty by mid-day , reach the stream by 12:30, have a frolic and leave by 2 , so we reach Anekal by 5:30 or so. But we had to take a few breaks. Gana’s tyre needed some air, we took a couple of photos at this spot. The steepness of the climb is visible in the background.

A view of the climb

Picture below , us taking a break for Gana to pump some air into his tyres.
Break enroute, me comfortable on the road
Break enroute, me comfortable on the road

Sun came out for short stretches with a bit of intensity. Having missed packing sunscreen, bought a few satchets of Coconut oil from a shop in a hamlet a few km after Kasivanahalli. (Forget the name now)

We actually reached Anchetti well after 1pm. Gana told me he’d not be eating out, so I tried finding something.

Anchetti town, our bikes parked

Went to a bakery and ate one egg-puff along with a small Appy pack, and a cup of tea. I had packed 2 liters of juice and 1/2 a liter of water.Still had about a liter of juice left. Figured that might vanish in the next stretch, culminating in the steepest part, with the 2 hairpins and the 100m uphill stretch after that. Gana was amused by my habit of sitting on the side of the road at every break.

Finally we reached the peak of the tour. Heard the waterfall, but could not detect a path to it. I tried creating one, but could not , and made it back. Pleaded with Gana to try, and he seemed to have found one possible way.We parked our cycles behind the bushes. Dark clouds loomed, and we were having 2nd thoughts on the feasibility of getting down to the stream. Eventually adventurism won over safety, and we crouched down through the undergrowth , clearing some space, fighting thorns with sticks picked up from the ground. I was amazed at the force in the falls,the best I’ve ever seen. Went about swimming, and jumping into the water, the usual routine.The current was too strong, and my attempts to reach the base of the falls was quite futile.

Gana pointing to our cycles parked

On the side of the stream

Here I am trying to clear some pathway to get to the stream.
Do you spot my head

The stone is the prominent marker, if you reach this spot,you have gone too far.

The marker at the end of the stretch

The stream itself

By the time we made our way down, it was already 2:45 pm or so. By the time we made out, it was close to 3:30pm. After a good massage from the water, we made our way out. And discovered that there was a very easy pathway out. We started and made our way out to Denaknikottai. Had to take a break 1st ,despite being the better fed of the two, though I rationalized that it could be because of the swimming and diving into the water. Gana advised me on reducing the load on my backpack the next time. Food for thought,maybe I need a pannier on my MTB, and a bottle cage, to carry a bottle ,so I don’t have to carry a backpack.

The next break was forced by Gana, who got exhausted at the curve next to the Agro-Forestry institute, despite my advance warning on a steep climb approaching. He had acquired a pack of GluconD( in leiu of the regular gatorade) at Anchetti. He got it out,and refilled a little. Assured him that this was the last of the killer uphills,and we continued. Reached Denkanikottai soon, I had my 1st decent meal of the day, at Hotel Saravana Bhavan: Pongal with a Wada, and a little helping of a sweet. The sweet was part of the mid-day meal, and it looked like they had made it in excess. The freebie I presume was in lieu of being a Bangalore Cyclist frequenting Denkanikottai. Gana just bought another liter of Mango juice, but I felt much better with some solids in my stomach. Despite knowing that the meal takes a while to digest, psychologically I was feeling much better and leading the way soon. We took another break at Hosur( we decided to head via Hosur instead of Thali since it was 5:15 when we left Denkanikottai)

I had to take breaks twice now, despite being the betterfed , Now I started feeling sleepy , washing my face twice did not help, so forced a break under the Bommasandra flyover, went to a bakery and gobbled up a malai sandwich, an apple juice and finally a cup of tea. Gana’s eyes gaped open at the unusual combo. My explanation : 1st two for the sugars, and the tea for its caffeine and its refreshing ability.

The rest of the trip was non eventful, save for the painful traffic on the BTM stretch. I took my leave from Gana at Bannerghatta Road, and headed home. Gana was a real superman to ride the entire ride on a semi-fast mode.

Here are the entire set of pictures I had taken, on the ride.

Here are the pictures taken by Gana.

An extremely satisfying ride , the last time I had been to Anchetti was on Oct 23,2010 with Vishnu and Subin, via Karadikal. This ride was a long time coming, and was itching to go again.

Riding this ride, I could’t help feel about my 1st long ride on BBC.
That was before I had met Yogesh, and a whole lot of folks. The meticulous planning that went to the original ride was just fun to watch. I had just joined the forum, and was just watching with a drooly mouth the discussions in BBC. Two names stood out, Georg Leuzinger and Yogesh Rao, both of whom I hadn’t met. I remember the ride for the stream, and the uphills.
Here is the entire discussion that happenned during that month.
Anchetti fever, Aug 2009

I had to walk some of the uphills around Denkanikottai. And I rode all alone in pitch darkness between Denkanikottai and Thali.

The mail train after the event, a bunch of still-in-awe cyclists posting on the net. Here is the link

Here is the photographs taken by Yogesh on Aug 30,2009 :Yogesh’s pictures

If you have come this far, chances are that you are not really bored.I wasn’t really intending on blogging about my cycling , but I thank Gana for prodding me. And for Opendro who told me that I was one of the guys who inspired him to take up biking. So a thought that maybe a post about one of the most beautiful routes around Bangalore (if not the most) might inspire someone to take up cycling. Here is a ride that seems to have everything that you would like in a day. A long ride. (194km is not a trivial distance), lots of hills, some mild climbs, some long moderate climbs, a few killer climbs, and some looong downhills. Greenery, lots of it. And if the sun comes out,hot, very hot. And to top it all, your own non-chlorinated swimming pool. I am actually surprised that more people don’t go here often