Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kerala December 2011: Day One

When I woke up in the morning, the bus was somewhere near Mettupalayam. And the bus was going uphill. It was a really slow ride, and we wondered, if the bus were to take so long, when would we reach Munnar on a cycle? Finally the bus stopped, and we put our cycles back together. Ooty, or Udagamandalam on the boards there, was cold. Luckily we’d brought our jackets and were already wearing two layers inside.
Teja in Gear!

The first 2 km were totally uphill. We were already panting by the time we reached up one peak. We stopped here, loaded our bottles with electral, stuffed our ears with cotton, covered our mouths, put on the goggles and began the downhill ride.
The tip of the uphill ride

Swoosh!! The ride that followed had to be the best possible ride ever! Averaging at more than 40 Kmph, and touching 55 every now and then, we left all the motored vehicle drivers stunned. None of them were spared, all of them had to face the humiliation of being overtaken by cyclists. We stopped at Coonor, about 20 km from ooty, and we came that distance in less than 30 min. After an awesome authentic south Indian breakfast, we started off again.
The typical south Indian breakfast

The joy of riding downhill was so much, that we forgot, or should I say ignored to look around and appreciate the hilly beauty. You never start pedalling from the top gear, but here it felt the chain was always derailed! Not once there was a need to put an effort from our side!
The side of the road cleared all of a sudden and the view that it brought out was breathtaking.
The momentary distraction: Root of the first setback

First setback came along. Ajay’s bike slipped over from the edge of the road and he somehow managed to tear off the rear of his jacket, bruise his left ear and get a cut on the left temple. It’s difficult to picture how he’d have crashed, but the first time I saw him, blood was oozing all over from his temple onto his jacket. And his ear didn’t look any different from an over-fried bajji. It was a bad fall, imagine the Kinetic energy of a 80 kg object moving at 40kmph, being absorbed in just one impulse by the body. Ouch.

His vision after the fall was a bit blurry, so we had to slow down.
Till we reached the foothills, life couldn’t have been better. But reality struck us hard when we came down on the flat roads once again. Heat was high, the road was bad, and it was dusty, very dusty!
Ajay’s cycle wheel was wobbling after the fall, so we stopped at every cycle or motor repair shop on the way. But none of them had any clue on how to work on the imported bikes. We had no other option, so we kept trudging along.
The outskirts of Coimbatore were worse than a barren village in Rajasthan. Sand, dust storms, traffic, and the weariness from the journey concocted a really bad image about this place. We hadn’t had lunch, so located a KFC, and relaxed there for almost an hour. Once our tummies were full, we got a place to stay, and began planning tomorrow.
We had covered 95 km today, in about 5 hrs.

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