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Half Day Cycling Event to Hutri Durga

Aimed cycling to Hutri Betta, but got more:

I am not a rookie when it comes to endurance sports, have done my fair bit in swimming and little bit in running. Last time I peddled a cycle for more than a km was in 1999 when I finished my academics. I used to do 5-6 km to my college and back to my home in an old cycle with robust frame which used to weigh my weight (Pl note point of exaggeration is heaviness the cycle and not how lean I was 18 years back :)). Well that's my experience or memories of experience with cycling which is way below par in comparison with cycling enthusiasts like the general readers of this blog. I had (have) decided that I will not invest in owning a cycle not only going by the high prices, but also easy of it getting stolen (I believe Hiren doesn't mind me reminding this once again) ;). Nevertheless I wanted to test myself on one of those straight handled ones with gears which is something I had no clue so far. 

I immediately registered when my friend and colleague Hiren a BTC event organizer and adventure enthusiast, shared information about this cycling event. Fortunately one of my friend Jagga and myself got shortlisted and we got an opportunity to try our hands on (rather legs on) peddling our way from Bangalore to Magadi.

We got clear crisp notifications from admins Hiren and Dinesh on when-how-whereabouts of the event and accordingly Jagga and myself came to Deepanjali nagar bus stop at 6 AM. We were warmly greeted by organizers who were busy making sure we have the right infrastructure cycles, helmets. Also recording attendance of all participants, briefing about event, reiterating the rules of BTC events, safety tips and cutting jokes (Here I wish to mention that humour and fun just lasted throughout the excursion and the same lifted the mood of the gang). When I inspected a cycle which was appeared to be good for my height... saw 3 numbers on left handle lever and 7 on the right lever, I thought to myself "Oh boy!, this is a problem of plenty, 21 options to change gears" I decided I will simply not change any gears and use the default to avoid confusion. I felt extremely happy when a person (whom I came to know later as Pawan another fitness freak, I hope Pawan doesn't mind my language) asked participants who did not know to use gears to rise their hands, I am 6 ft tall, I made sure I reached out 8 ft  towards the sky without any shame :). He gave us simple rules which gave most of the rookies some comfort. He also gave us a caution that using gears the right way is helps a lot but using them the wrong way will be hell (most of the rookies got first-hand experience of both :)).

By this time we started shaking hands with other participants and more than friendly admins Hiren, Dinesh and Pawan made us feel like we are one team. Banana was distributed which is the right calorific lift and the event started. All participants went in a line... religiously adhering to the instructions of admins.

Good part was one of the admins led us and one trailed and made sure our pack was secure. The best part was arrangement of a backup vehicle, utility of which was exercised more than once by participants. I also understand the admins took care about spare tyre, spare cycle, tools to perform adjustments in the cycle which we were using.

We started on Mysore road and our first plan was to assemble at the place where we want to deviate from Mysore-road towards "doDDa aalada mara". On the way enough care was taken to make sure we are doing good and no one is left behind and boosting morale of team, reiterating safety etc.

This is the first time I was using gear cycle and initially I went with guidance provided which was of great help, however I was very conservative using the gears and stuck to 2 on left, I was doing reasonably good. Our journey on Mysore road was more flattish and it gave me an opportunity to try 3 on left... Wow! What happened next was something which was unbelievable, I am cruising at an unprecedented high speed ever recorded by me (another exaggeration, but seriously it was a lot more speed than what I have experienced on a cycle) in my lifetime so far... The joy was so much that for some time I even forgot the pollution and traffic of Mysore road. However, on an instance I had to brake and realized Spiderman film's tagline "with great power comes great responsibility" :) I stumbled and fumbled before stop and by this time with first-hand experience, I learnt another lesson about speed and safety of cycling, then I decided to tone down :)

Once we started on the deviation from Mysore road we had calmer but more challenging road which made us exercise the lower gears and was little more tiring. Btw I treat doDDa aalada mara as a bonus for us as I did not know about this till the event day :). We took nice and well deserved break and ate banana and started from there.  Point to mention here is the willingness and I would say assertion :) of the organizers to take care of the unlocked cycles which were parked outside the alada mara enclosure. 

Further on the way, there was a discussion on the route. The near one TippagunDanahaLLi route or the one which is more scenic manchinbelle Dam route. Decision was manchinbelle dam just because Pawan wanted it that way :) just kidding.... Idea was to experience more scenic beauty of the terrain towards manchinbelle dam and the decision was good. We had covered 25 - 30kms or so by then and we had more or less same distance to cover and at time was around 10 if I am not wrong.

Route towards manchinbelle was very beautiful and upward slope was talking a toll on our energy reserves. Once we reached manchinbelle, we stopped to appreciate the beauty of water with background of Savandurga, we ate chocolates and took photos and obviously rejoiced the downward slope the immediate path offered...

In fact Hiren was so overwhelmed that he went all the way down the slope and came back all the way up, he did not want to break the pleasure of cool breeze which gravity offered as a reward of gaining potential energy. 

When we started from manchinbelle we had to cover more challenges. Though it was July, Sun started to flex his might on us, occasional upward hill was asking for more muscle and lung power. But mother earth had a soothing surprise of a welcome sprinkling shower. It was for a very brief time but very enjoyable.

At this point I need to mention a funny experience of something called as 1... 1... on the gear system. This is supposed to be used in steep ups and I believe some of our route qualified for it. Since I am new to gear, I felt very awkward peddling 10 rotations to hit a meager 2 mts :) anyway I have a long distance to go before I get on top of gearing mechanism...

We took breaks which included finding shade to eating biscuits. I also remember myself lying flat on tar road along with another buddy Nachiket. After this incident I will be more considerate with my daughters when they pick something fallen on road. Till now I used to brandish them for such acts :) The sprouts, the chocolates, the final shares of the ration bound the team together.

Throughout the way admins were more than willing to take photos of the team at various instances, I really appreciate their energy. I remember Dinesh took a selfie snap as he was riding ahead of me in one of the calm and roads (organizers you ppl are really motivated and keep the participants motivation high :))

Admins decided to have lunch at a modest place near Savandurga, most of us were craving to gobble something and I did a job which I am more proficient with... i.e., eating

We went towards Savandurga after lunch and found a place to take an hr refuge close to foothill and after recording close to 50 kms cycling and exchanging experiences and feedback, we decided to come to Bangalore via Magadi by government bus. 

I have not still decided which most challenging part was, cycling or shared auto journey from Savandurga to Magadi. Anyway, we enjoyed every bit of the excursion :)

Thanks to the organizers and the participants... As the title says, we aimed to Hutri beTTa but got more

Written By     : Somashekhara Sharma
Organized By : Dinesh Yadav & Hiren J
Date of event : 22nd July, 2017
Place              : Magadi Road
Pictures          : BTC FB Page
Video              : Hiren
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