Christmas eve ride to Panchapalli dam

Basically , after last week’s brevet ride, wanted to try out a new ride on the following weekend. Didn’t want to lose the habit of doing weekend rides,just because of a 300k ride. Panchapalli dam has been on my to-do list. I had chanced on a blog sometime back, and have been thinking of this place.Located this place on the map, and given that it was a little off our regular Anchetti route, decided to give it a try. My 1st instinct was to just ride off over there all alone , but of late, folks from BBC have been requesting me to post my rides. So figured , why not? Generally , this means taking along a bunch of guys with varying speeds, and while being used to deal with newbies, the prospect of additional time spent on the road and less with family, had conspired to stop us from announcing regular long rides on BBC. This, incidentally is the 4th Saturday of the month,and the last full weekend of the year. I pronto announced the ride on BBC 3 days back, and waited for the response. I was surprised to get a response of 8 potential riders.Eventually a total of 6 riders other than me started on Saturday morning. Rajanikanth wanted to go to Anchetti, but I told him that it couild be a backup option, and I was quite convinced that this route would be nice too. Talked to Manjula on a thread in Facebook, as she was not following up my mail thread on BBC. Initially had planned on a 5am start, but Rajani’s concerns about the distance from his house pushed it to 5:30. The push added to my laziness quotient and we started at 6:48 from Silk Board.
The following guys started

Chiddu -myself, probably an inveterate cyclist now.
Rajanikanth P – Strong and compassionate,as his famous namesake.
Ashutosh Tripathi – Young and energetic, planning to not buy a motorcycle, and keep cycling.Bless you ,the world needs more people like you.
Manjula Sridhar
-a) the sole roadie,who humoured us by riding at our pace,
-b) Prevented this ride from being an all-male ride, should be able to convince more women of the route
-c) Only current ironman on the ride today?
Vijay Appaji – Couldn’t finish the 200k brevet,but completed the ride in good time today.
Sohan Sintre – One of the brave just in time finishers of the brevet last week,and completed the ride despite cramps today.
Deepak Malempati – Self confessed newbie ,who as well,did an amazing job of completing a serious ride with a non-trivial climb today.

Yvr Vijay dropped out,I didn’t see Arvind at the starting point, and he had said *maybe* so I didn’t bother calling him.So the chosen seven started towards Hosur,in the *bloody cold*. The temperature was cold, and I felt a sudden big drop after crossing the Nice road. The initial plan was to go via Hosur, we decided to go via TVS road seeing the traffic on the main road.

Image of Hosur road as we start off early morning
Hosur road as we start off early

Photo of a rider,inthe amazingly heavy traffic
Photo of a rider,inthe amazingly heavy traffic
Mist- The Chandapura intersection. We missed the flyover in the mist
Mist- The Chandapura intersection. We missed the flyover in the mist

My hands were freezing throughout the ride on the highway and continued to freeze as we went off it. After passing Attibele, we headed towards TVS road, where we had a few trucks for company. Not a whole lot, just a few.

Off Attibele
Off Attibele

A tale of freezing hands

Photo location.Just in the early morning ethereal light. Before we enter TN, on the Attibele – Rayakottai road.

At the ‘Ramakrishna Lunch home’, 5 of the guys had breakfast, while myself and Vijay made do with tea. After a 20min break, we headed towards Denkanikottai.
Rajani mostly rode ahead, followed by me, tailed by Ashutosh and the rest of the riders following. The 1st timers told us that they were blown away by the route. Though a little surprised, I just guessed they have not gone to any of the more scenic routes around town, so getting off the main road for the 1st time ,they found it exciting. Also the Hosur – Denkanikottai is full of very subtle valleys where your horizon is vast, and then some gentle rolling hills. We took the Denkanikottai – Panchapalli dam route.For regulars around Denkanikottai, this is at the arch just opposite where Sankar’s cafe used to exist a few moons ago.

Insert random thought here – With the closing of Shankar’s cafe and Jayaram’s cafe, it feels like a mini-era of cycling in Bangalore has come to an end.

Anyway, nostalgia aside, we took the turn and awaited the loooong downhill. Turns out, map data can be misleading because they compress the experience of 15km into 1 cm of width. So yes, there are long downhills,but they are quite gentle, and actually interspersed by a few uphills. The steepest downhills were near the dam, and they were about as steep as the lower levels of Nandi hills, or more like the inclines near the Art of Living Ashram in Kanakapura road.
After the final long downhill, the dam comes into view , and man ,it is beautiful. As we stood there clicking photographs, Vijay and Ashutosh joined, followed by the restof the gang.

First view of the dam, my camera.
First view of the dam, my camera

First view of the dam, Vijay’s camera.
First view of the dam, Vijay's camera

Second view of the dam, me in front of the camera
Second view of the dam, me in front of the camera

Looks better in the real world.
Looks better in the real world.

Panoramic View.
Panoramic View.

We went down to the banks via a mud trail with our cycles, while Rajani stayed up on sentry duty to direct all down.
Once we went down, I and Vijay went to the water for a swim.The rest of the folks relaxed on the banks. Later on Manjula and Sohan wet their feet as well. Just before leaving the place, I went for a second dip and wet my T-shirt to reduce the heat on my back.
The dam is quite big, and amazingly, there is no habitation near the dam , save a temple and a function hall. The place is not commercialized, and I believe will be a big hit with cyclists. Amazing , not many have gone there, yet it is pretty close.I chanced on a blog a year+ back, and have been thinking about this dam for a while. The road till the base of the dam is roadbike worthy,though the stretch from the dam to the village is quite miserable. After a show of hands, we decided that we would head to the village to eat before starting the climb up. Some of the guys were apprehensive of eating and drinking from the hole-in-the-wall hotel in the village.I and 2 others had an onion Dosa from the morning’s left over dosa batter , and by the time we started eating, food became ready, and Rajani and Manjula duly tucked in to the mid-day meal.

Lunch at Panchapalli.
Lunch at Panchapalli.

Meanwhile, Manjula had to leave early and had asked her driver to get her. He was waiting at the dam. I was tempted by the idea of hitching a ride,butI wanted to complete the climb to Denkanikottai. My urge to climb was more than my dislike of the mid-say sun, and my urge to return home (since I had indicated I should be home by 3!). We finished the bankside rendevous at 11:30 and the lunch/brunch at 1:00. As I started the climb, I reached Rajani, and overtook him. I was expecting to reach a couple of other riders, since I believed I was the last to get out. After about 3-4km I guessed I might be ahead of everyone,since Rajani looked like the strongest climber and I was ahead of him. Basically I had put my head down and just wanted to complete the climb.Once the climb at the base finished,the rest was a breeze, even though you could guess that it would be an overall uphill. I reached D’kotai at about 2:08, and checked with Rajani.He apparently had a cleated fall and a bad bruise. He suggested waiting and relaxing at Denkanikottai.I waited for a few seconds, and got bored and anxious,not knowing how bad the fall was. In any case , the ambient temperature was pleasant but the sun harsh, so staying put was worse than pedalling.I just headed back and met Rajani and Vijay 3 km from the town. We exchanged pleasantries and Rajani showed his wounds. It wasn’t a major bruise but an oblong section skin roughly measuring.5 inch *2 inch had completely come off. We headed back to the town,had a cup of tea, and were about to continue when Ashu caught up with us. We could not reach the remaining two (Deepak and Sohan). We continued towards Hosur.I went ahead of the others.

Elephant being transported
Elephant being transported

Rajani caught up with me, when Sohan got into coverage mode and made a phone call. So I and Rajani relayed instructions on
a) Reaching Denkanikottai
b) Route to take reach home.

Kudos to Sohan and Deepak for continuing despite struggling with cramps.
Given that I had not showed up at 3:00 pm, got a call from home. Angry with myself with a little bit of guilt, I decided to speed up towards home.
We continued further, I stopped at our breakfast intersection and fed myself at a bakery, feeling really famished.I wanted to stuff myself to have a go for one straight run.Flagged Rajani and Ashu as well who followed after a while. After a 2 min rendezvous,bid bye to them and told them I’m going ahead.Home was about 45km and Silk Board 35km from this point. The guilt pangs worked such that I managed to complete the 30km distance in a little over an hour, and reached home by 6. Got a msg from Rajani that he had reached Silk Board at 5:52 , and another from Vijay Appaji at around 6:32, who could complete the ride this time,havingfailed to complete the 200k brevet.

Felt really good that had gone on a new route on a hunch after a long time,and that too, a route with a swim spot in the middle which generally rank up very high in my list of favourite routes. Awelcome break from the Anchetty stream,a wonderful dam, but less crowded than Manchinabele. Recommend this spot to the folks to head to. Given that this was a new route, was not sure how it would turn out,and whether the dam be worth it,whether the roads would be easy,etc. But all of us liked the route and the destination. A stright line trip from Silk Board is about 150km. A detour via Rayakottai would add another 15km. I am sure adding the Rayakottai – Krishnagiri link would push up the ride to above 200 for a brevet! Last observation, courtesy nudging from Sreepathi

PS :The climb part of the ride is not as difficult as Nandi or even Harohalli-Jigani , I would rate it slightly more difficult than the Krishnagiri-Hosur climb.

PPS : Ride stats : A total of 181.30 km on my MTB. My cyclocomp doesn’t record average speeds and riding time, so don’t have that information. Photos are courtesy Manjula,Vijay,Ashutosh

Link to Vijay Appaji’s pictures on Google Google web album Vijay pictures


2 thoughts on “Christmas eve ride to Panchapalli dam

  1. Chiddu,
    wonderful report….enjoyed reading it as usual, a follower of your reports for a long time…..good show buddy…..beautiful photos, that tells a lot about the event!!!!

    anil s kadsur

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