Channarayapatna 300BRM

Interesting sights and insights
My second brevet of this season the 300km brevet to Channarayapatna (NH 75 Mangalore highway) and back was successful, done in 14hr:40mins, my fastest until now. My good friend Mandar Aiya said that is just 1200/4 and wished me the best, whilst my younger son said ‘Oh just 300, no big deal’. Amazing confidence they have in me! To me, each brevet is interesting that starts with a murmur of trepidation and the excitement of suspense ahead, it is not just the distance.

Earlier in Jan this year, when I did the Shimoga 600km brevet, this section on the return (second night) turned out be real cold. I had to work very hard to keep my eyes open.In hindsight this served as a great practice ride for the chilly nights of PBP in Aug. So when this brevet was announced, I was keen to enjoy the chilly nights once again with warm gear that I had procured for PBP. The ride started from Airlines hotel on Sat(26-Aug) at noon to be completed by 8AM on Sunday at the same place. 

Rather than bore you with the chronology of events, let me share some interesting snippets:

1.Caterpillar crossing
Fifty kms out of Bangalore on a sunny afternoon on the highway, bright colourful fat caterpillars are crossing the highway. As cyclists, we ride on the edge of the highway within the white line and this is the first time I had to negotiate around caterpillars! I wonder what the probability of a caterpillar crossing the highway is. Wonder what data they process to analyse the risk of crossing, but these caterpillars sure must have a lot of hope to cross the highway. It was not just a singular instance, I did negotiate around a few. On a philosophical note, “are we all not caterpillars in this expansive world and therefore hope the greatest driver for us all?” It is these little sights and deep insights that make brevets interesting. 

2. Loud thinking
Riding alone, my music kept me company for the first half. Post the U-turn at 150km, I was keen to put the mild Zen to creative use to come with with a solution for an consulting assignment for a Japanese customer. And so I decided to talk loudly to myself, the hazy mists of the problem receding and clarity of solution emerging. The dark highway, cool weather, a liquidy gob of light in front aided the calm mind. A hour had passed and ~25km was done. The next hour was put to good use for ideating the contents of the upcoming webinar. Time to stop at the second control point. It is these moments of silence when I can chat loudly with myself that make brevets interesting. “Let your mind be still, then talk to yourself”. [Insight 2] 

3.Bike follower
A little after 225km around 10PM, my quiet reverie was interrupted by a biker who was following me. After a tiresome uphill ride, he was keen to chat, which I was in no mood for. I could not see his covered face, he was persistent and I become a little worried.I stopped, crossed the highway for a cup of tea. He stopped too, crossed and also came to the tea shop. Now I was more worried. I requested him to let me drink my tea in peace, with the shopkeeper urging him to do the same. He acceded and after I finished my tea, explained briefly what this was about. He was in awe and I realised that I had no reason to be worried. I would see him all the way until Bangalore frequently as he stopped a few times pushing his bike, guess he ran out of gas/had issues with bike. Every time I would pass him, he would wave and wish me well.  Well there are all kinds of people, “it is only when you remove the masks in your mind not just covered faces, that you see good souls”. [Insight #3]  This brevet was interesting as I did not stop for long enough to have a meal, it was only 4bananas/4biscuits/4chapatis with tea/soft drinks that powered the ride where I burnt 4400 calories. 

A brevet is not about doing the distance, or seeking another medal, it is a journey where you can discover yourself, to appreciate the little sights and be blessed with lovely insights. Enjoy the lovely pictures of the golden sunset on the way in and the full moon on the way out.

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