It is 4:30 in the morning and I was frantically looking for my cycle pump. I had checked on my tires late last night and the tires were almost flat. Not been doing justice to cycling lately! I then remembered that I had given the pump to a friend during a previous ride. I could not get through his number though. It was also getting late. Our group from Magarpatta had to meet the Pune Cycle Pratishthan (PCP) group at Kothrud at 5:40 AM. It was already 5:15 AM and was desperately seeking solutions. Luckily a friend of mine had bought a LA Diesel yesterday. So I borrowed it and along with a couple of riders cycled furiously to catch up with the rest of the folks at Kothrud. The new bike needed adjustments to suit me. I could raise the seat easily but did not have the tools to raise the handle bar. I had to compromise on the seat height and raised it as much as my back would not hurt. My legs were never on full stretch and that was a big drain on my energy. We the latecomers reached Kothrud around 6:15 AM and the group was waiting patiently for us. This is a big lesson learn t for me. I should never have mixed up on priorities and ignored checking my bicycle the day before.
The group ranged from a young 10 year old to the young at heart senior citizens :) The wide variety of bikes around from Doodhwalas (Hero Jet / Atlas) to Trek 6 series were photo moments. There were first timers, regular office commuters, national and local racers and seasoned cross country veterans. I felt wonderful riding with such a group. We cycled from Kothrud to Shivne, crossed Peacock Bay before stopping for a break. The ride was scenic along the Khadakwasala dam's backwaters and the picturesque hills in the backdrop.
The trek up went fine. Refreshed ourselves with the cool water in the temple, took some more rest and then climbed back down to where our cycles were parked.
Trek downhillNow started the downhill ride on the stony trail. The bike and the body took a beating and my hands were all sore and bruised by the time we reached down. A stark reminder to wear gloves next time! We then crossed the backwaters on a boat. This boat ferried people across on a regular basis and had a very unique way of propelling. There is a rope tied between and the boatman pulls the rope and navigates the boat across.
After crossing over we had a pit stop to have lunch. Delicious poha with freshly grated coconut and coriander was served. There was also an abundant supply of bananas. This is where we introduced ourselves and was amazed to know the background of each and everyone in this group. I truly admire the enthusiasm and fitness levels of every individual in the group where age or skill drew no barriers.
We started cycling back towards Donje Phata, which is also the entry point to the famous Sinhagad fort. This route was unfamiliar to me and the very fact that I did not know what was coming drained me completely. I saw uphill climbs after every turn and this went on endlessly. We somehow made it after many puffs and pants. We were offered refreshments there and seeing our state of despair, Yulas was kind enough to offer us a ride on the support vehicle. However we felt that we had to give ourselves one final thrust and complete this. I would not get a good nights sleep otherwise. This is one route we had done many times before. Though circumstances were totally different now, we had to do it. So we rode and rode like zombies forgetting all about every nerve in the body that was complaining. We took a few breaks for water and to stretch. We saw some of the other riders breeze past us. I am in total admiration of their fitness levels. I had a bad experience with the Adidas Climacool Tshirt. I was sweating profusely inside and felt very uncomfortable. The Nike dry-fit pant worked wonders though.
We finally reached home after traveling 40/45 Kms back which gave us a feeling of tremendous satisfaction!