A short background about this trip. Some time back, I was on my way returning back home from a Trek when I saw three people cycling. They were CTC people doing the Nagala 300 loop. It is basically a 300 kilometer loop along the base of nagalapuram hills in the form of a full circle. Another interesting fact is that a part of this loop passes around a small stretch of a Canal called Telugu Ganga canal.
Telugu Ganga - This canal had been constructed long back to divert the waters of the Krishna river into the Poondi reservoir. From the Poondi reservoir, it is then fed to Chennai as drinking water. Interestingly, the complete stretch of Telugu ganga canal has a mud road on the side. This canal starts from the Poondi reservoir and completes a nice 80 kilometer loop around the base of the nagalapuram hills doing a 270 degree loop. All this got me excited and started making some maps and loaded it on the gps and decided to do a recce on a Motorbike!
I organized this motorbike trip for CTC through the telugu ganga canal. What was supposed to be a normal chilled out recce mission, turned out to be an awesome monsoon slushy offroad trip. We explored the Canal right from the Poondi reservoir till the complete 80 kilometer loop which was fully offroad! To add to the fun, there was rain and mud and clay which was totally fun to drive on. But there were lots of thorns as well. So it was not possible to go there on a cycle. Hence I put together a map with all the good stretches of Telugu Ganga and taking tar roads on the really sloshy/bad/thorny parts.
Okay Enough background, now coming back to the rockrider:
Here is the write-up written by me for the CTC blog:
There were seven brave people from CTC who ventured out with their cycles to witness and explore our magical world of Nagalapuram. Due to the excessive rains, the mission was renamed from Nagala 300 to Monsoon Survival Cycli[/b][/b]ng![/i]
Not one of them made any excuses about the rain. Nor did anyone show fear from the storm. With one determination of 300Km in mind they set off from the traffic and potholed city (read shitty) roads.
With the petrol (Idly and dosa) filled on Saturday morning, and pumping with energy, the riders mounted their saddles and got off the highways. Not one knew that this will be the last of the highways they will see for the next two days.
Their journey took them through the scenic roads in near Vengal. Good hard tarmac coupled with almost minimal traffic, the bikers upped their gears and raced their way towards the mountains.
The road covered with Eucalyptus farms and tree farms provided a good shelter to them for rest and peace of mind and share a quick joke or two.
The roads started getting worse and the hands and legs started paining. But everything was ignored when they saw the beautiful ranges of Nagala for the first time that day.
Refilled with energy from the destination view, the cyclists started again. Nature played its part and welcomed all the riders with flowers on either sides and a red carpet for a road.
And soon the road gave way to mud and water trails which was thoroughly enjoyed by the ones pedaling MTBs. Pretty soon Nagalapuram arrived where the late lunch was served.
Post lunch, Arvind, one of the riders had decided to end his journey due to some personal work back home and departed back by bus. There were 6 now and it was the devils number indeed. On the way to Nagala East where the camping was planned, the rain gods did not show any mercy. With the Thunderstorms and high speed winds, the drenched riders gave in all they had to reach the base of the hills.
After a bath in the Dam and 5 star dinner, they rested in the home of the god which gave them shelter from the rain throughout the night.
After a sound sleep and good rest, the journey took them to Varadapalayam through roads adjacent to infinite paddy fields. The riders were trying hard to concentrate on the road distracted by Nature’s beauty all around.
The tarmac was hard and perfect for some distance and all of a sudden, a section of the road was engulfed by the over-flooded river due to the recent rains.
This was nowhere close to break their determination. They ferried their cycles along with them one by one safely across the river. What seemed to be an impossible task was looked upon as an opportunity by these 6 to clean their cycles off mud.
After the lunch at varadapalayam, the route had to be completed through Telugu Ganga, a canal which drains water from the River Krishna to Chennai. They followed the mud roads on the side of the canal which was totally sloshed with water and even pedaling seemed to be impossible due to the resistance.
After completing the daunting offroad experience, they headed to kalangini reservoir which is the biggest reservoir to the West of Nagalapuram range. Enjoying the magnificent view, they munched upon the snacks and refreshments they carried along. Bidding farewell to the ranges dusk approached upon them and it was time to go home.
After all the six were saturated with an experience worth lifetime, they decided to head back home. All of them with happy memories and unforgettable roads retuned home on Monday to get back to their daily chores.
And in the end, on Monday night, some important lessons were learnt:
• Cyclists always travel in groups. We are a pack and we don’t split up.
• We ride for the love of cycling. Everything like Eco-friendly, save petrol, kilometers, competition, endurance etc., are secondary reasons. All we need is a cycle and the joy of jumping on the saddle and pedaling.
• Cyclists should never take the highways (State or National). The real joy is riding country side with the smell of nature and fresh air.
• The Kilometers are only a driving factor. The real thing that pumps the leg motor is the amazing experiences we have in a ride.[/list]
Participants and Credits
This guy kept cool and patient even though he had 7 punctures in his front wheel. He showed his composure and experience gained from the previous CTC cycle trips and was a motivation for us all. Also his cucumber head always helps me in making rational decisions all the time.
An experienced rider who had vast amount of knowledge on cycling and the science behind it. In almost all the breaks that we took, we learnt something new or the other from him. And he is a brilliant sweeper. Even though he can go blazingly fast, he agreed to sweep the group and kept the 6 as one!
He is an example and inspiration to all the young cyclists out there. Aged 62 years young, he was rock solid and steady throughout the trip. Every now and then when I asked him if he was doing fine, and I got the same reply everytime – “I am absolutely fine! Just that I will be slow and steady throughout.”
An experienced fit rider who never shows any sign of tiredness throughout. Always pumps in energy to the group and helps everyone in every way possible.
A determined guy who achieves whatever he has set up in his mind. He will try to reach the goal irrespective of all the obstacles in his way.