Friday, January 25, 2008

More practice

Last weekend we had cycled to the famous Purandar fort. It is famous for the war between the Marathas under Shivaji and the Mughals under Aurangazeb. The Killedar(fort keeper) commander of Shivaji, Murar Baji Prabhu fought valiantly against the combined armies of Aurangazeb's general Dilir Khan and Rajput king Jai Singh but perished in the ensuing battle. It is said that the Killedar was far outnumbered before putting up a brave fight. His statue rests inside the first fort entrance. Purandar is also unique to have a fort inside a fort. To take control, both the difficult forts would have to be breached. Located at the summit of the inner fort is a Shiv temple.

We had a completely different experience this time round. After cycling the usual long distance we came across a road that climbed a hill all the way to the top. To reach Purandar,we had to cross this hill. We had to drag our cycles along the road for more than an hour to reach the top before we came downhill the other side. We encountered long stretches of gravel road along the way which was tough on our cycles and slowed us down considerably. After reaching the base village we parked our cycles and started the trek. We lost our way a couple of times before reaching Dilli darwaza(entrance to the first fort). This area is now an army training camp. We had poha and nimbu pani there before the climb to the inner fort. We decided to go to the temple located at the summit after we reached the inner fort. This was a good walk along a ridge with steep slopes on either side. We lost our way again before we made it to the top. The view at the summit was fantastic! We could spot no other hill taller than us and we could see a 360 degree view of the horizon.

We descended quickly and then started cycling back under the blazing sun. Prateem's cycle got punctured along the way while he was negotiating a stone road just after a down hill ride. We got it fixed and decided to go on a different route that had a better road. Prateem had be careful as the puncture had also ripped a part of his tire. In spite of fixing the puncture, he kept losing air gradually along the way and we kept pumping it up once in a while. We reached home at 6:00 PM. I was extremely tired and this was the most tortuous effort for me up to now.

Tonight we guys are planning to go back to Sinhagad fort. This time it is an all-nighter with a lot of walking. We plan to only cycle 12 Kms one way before we start the walk of around 30 Kms to reach the base village. We would climb up and come down before we walk back 30 Kms. We would then cycle back to reach home hopefully by 6:00 AM in the morning!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Enduro practice

Enduro is nearing and we have started our practice sessions.

Couple of weeks back we had cycled around 40 Kms to the Sinhagad fort, trekked up 2600 foot, came back down then cycled back home. We started around 5:00 AM in the morning and returned home around 1:00 PM i.e around 8 hours of rigorous physical activity.

This was good for a start considering Enduro spans a continuos 24 hours of cycling, walking, rope river crossing, rowing and rifle shooting. According to a friend of mine, there used to be rappelling but because of some accidents was scrapped.

We have a team of three and are participating in the corporate category. Our team leader has done this twice before and his experience has kept us motivated and prepared.

Last weekend we had been to Neelkantheshwar temple located on a hill. This was more rigorous compared to the Sinhagad trip. We cycled 50 Kms which included many uphill climbs. The last leg of cycling involved dragging our cycles up a steep climb till we reached the base village that was located half way up the hill. We parked our cycles and started a very steep climb to reach the steps of the temple. We took darshan at the Shiv temple, had some Kanda Poha after which we started back down. From the base village, we cycled with a lot of braking down the steep path filled with stones and sharp turns along the corners of the hill till we reached the bottom. our cycles took a lot of beating in the process and I lost one of the bolts attached to my pedal. It was peak noon by the time we started cycling back home. This was a big effort for all of us and spanned 12 hours of activity from 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM. We have achieved the Enduro cycling limits with this practice.

Next week we plan to scale 2300 feet to reach the Purandar fort after 40 Kms of cycling to reach it. The fort area is very broad and it includes a 1 hour walk along a ridge to reach a temple located at the summit. This should test our walking skills as it involves around 4 hours of up and downhill trekking.

More on it next week.