Starting the new year with not a bike ride, but two long drives in a car.Beginning of the year was a trip to Coorg. After borne the brunt of bad roads on the 300k brevet, decided to take a look at the roads of the 400k before deciding whether to do it on a roadie or an MTB. After missing my alarm clock, ended up about 45 mins late from my scheduled time. Mustafa and Nirmal from IISc took a few minutes to get ready as well, and we started off from New BEML road at about 7:15 am. The initial route out of the city was quite confusing and it looked like we took for ever to reach Hesarghatta. Took photographs of every landmark on the way. We reached the road to the west of the lake and then kept going till we hit a town called Madura. The roads so far were not great, but in the village/town, the roads were almost dug up and just dumped back on. The roads continued to be back till we hit the state highway. Had to take a right at some bus stop to go towards Madhugiri. From this spot till a point in the road where there was a diversion towards Dobbspet, the roads were just miserable to non existent, including an uphill stretch with loose gravel. Pretty tough on a roadbike I say. This stretch was bad enough to try and change the route, and I believe an attempt will be made.
From here, the road was great till we hit the highway at Dobbspet. We had breakfast, having driven the car at average speeds of 22kmph.From here we had to go towards Devarayana Durga, Korattigere and then Madhugiri. Beyond Devarayana Durga, road gets slightly bad, and worse from Korattigere. The stretch from Korattigere to Madhugiri was tolerable, and from there to Sira were quite horrible. Sira comes about the 180km mark in the Brevet route. One suggestion was to change the route with 2 ATMS in Korattigere as control.
We wanted to go back at Korattigere but decided to chart out the original route anyways. The stretch from Madhugiri to Sira was less than ideal. At Sira we joined the main highway , and for the 1st time hit speeds of 60+kmph on the car. A sudden burst of chug-chug-chug sound felt unusual. I stopped the car on the shoulder and opened the door to investigate. The smell of burnt rubber was unmistakeable. The driver side rear tyre had gone. We quickly changed to the spare tyre, and noticed that the inside of the original tyre had divested itself of a big chunk of rubber. We tried fixing this in a few shops on the highway but without success. We got out to the town of Huriyur at its 2nd exit. Found an ATM to the left, to act as a potential control. We wanted to fix the broken tyre , so asked the townfolks and found a tyre shop which unfortunately didn’t stock my size. The mechanic there opened the tyre . The tube was almost burnt and lot of burnt rubber flesh littered the inside. We kept trying and finally found a mechanic who organzed a used tyre and tube. While he fixed it,we went and had lunch. By the time we got out of town, it was 5 pm.
From here we continued towards Chellakere. The roads were good all the way through.
Road to Bellary
Even though the original route did not include the town, we went till the heart of the town and identified 2 ATMs, as a possibel change of route. We went back, and took the right towards Aimangala (that formed the original route). Found no ATM, so we took pictures of the signboards as possible controls.The last brevet required people to read Tamil, this one shifts the focus to Kannada. Can’t accuse IISc Randonneurs of Tamil Chauvunism.
For the control on the way back, we wanted to exit into the town of Hariyur , we were discussing this , sometime after passing the toll plaza , and realized that the town was upon us and the exit not in sight. We went back, deciding to take the 1st u-turn and decode the exit. We missed the 1st u-turn. the 2nd one did not come up ttill another 10km or so. Its extremely draining to search for a Uturn in the middle of a highspeed highway at night. Found an exit, took some photographs to check if it was the right one, but visually didn’t see where the exit went, and also realized it was a one way exit, so went back to the highway. Again we left town, and decided to chuck the idea of making riders take the exit(at night, easy to get lost).
Failed exit part 1
Failed exit part 2
We went on , and some time after Sira,we went to the Kamat there. The Kamat closes at 12 but another hotel next door.(Hotel Sagar) seemed to be open 24 hours.
Possible last official food station
After charting these spots,we just decided to head to IISc. reached there at 11:30.I took a break and a lemon tea. Left at midnight and was home at half past midnight.
Here is a link to all the pictures taken during the recce