May 23, 2010

Marathon Mania : A Goal Too Far

Man... What an ordeal !!!!!! The event was Sunfeast Bangalore 10k Marathon into its 3rd edition but my first in it. Had registered for the Open 10k run since I wanted to test the limits of my body in present conditions. Even though i was training for this event (as well as the Roopkund expedition I am to undertake in another 15 days) the maximum time and enthusiasm I found for the training was just once in a week except for the last week leading to this event when I was able to squeeze 2 runs in a week. During the last run leading to the race had clocked 9.5kms in 56 mins. So was pretty confident on completing the race.

Couple of days prior to the race went to the Expo at the Kanteerva Indoor Stadium to collect the Bib and the timing chip which has to be attached to the shoes and which gives precision to the last millisecond :P.

Got up pretty early. Left for the venue with my brother who was to take part in the 5.7km "Majja Run".

The holding area for the Open 10K was pretty huge with thousands of runners housed in between. The World 10K professional runners just then entered the stadium and there was a huge roar from the audience. The Pro's made some laps within the stadium track and finished the 10K distance. The winner from Kenya had clocked close to 27 mins 54 secs ... woaahhhh..... :P... after that it was the turn of the women pro athletes. After some laps they were let out of the stadium.

Then at 8.10 am they started allowing the Open 10K runners into the track. Nearly 6950 registered runners for the race and they were allowing them using only a small opening through which only couple of participants can pass through.. This resulted in huge clogging and by the time i reached the starting point it was 8.15 even though the event had started exactly at 8.10 am. Even then i thought it didnt matter as anyone would assume that a timing will start from the time the participant has started from the starting point.... but that was not to be the case.

[Starting off with full josh :P]

After the starting point the initial run was pretty painful with participants clogging the roads with some resorting to walking just 100 metres from the start point :P. Anyway the first 4 kms of run was pretty irritating with me not able to maintain a constant momentum and pretty much at many times have to just go with the speed with which the mob was moving. By this time the sun was out and it had started to take a toll on the participants. Once we entered the Cubbon road the tree cover was at its bare minimum and running started to get exhausting. l stopped at 2 places for some 10 secs when the going started to get very tough to catch my breath.

[Somewhere in between]

[In front of Vidhana Soudha]

Anyway after reaching the end of cubbon road we were able to get the much needed breathing space to run at our momentum. From Cubbon road we moved towards the Vidhan Soudha, Cubbon road and finally back to the Kanteerva indoor stadium. When I entered the 75 metres, my stop-watch started the 59th min ... so pretty determined to cover the 10K within the 1hr mark I ran as fast as my aching body could run at that moment. Finally finished the entire marathon in 59 mins and 14 second according to my stop watch. Also felt my running distance was around 11k becoz all those zig-zag running :P.

[Do or Die Final Sprint :D]

After the race felt a great relief and happiness of having completed my first Marathon and that too within the psychological barrier of 1 hr. When i was moving towards the refreshment centre was having a tough time balancing my body due to tired legs :P.

The next day when the official times were announced had got one good shock. My official run time was increased to 1 hr 4 min 21 secs..... WTF !!!! these organizers had taken my start time as 8.10 even when I started at 8.15. Whats the point of the bloody chip if such imprecision is obtained in the race timing...... the timing in which for each second we had fought with our sweat and blood..... Overall standing is 1147 and Nike had promised free T-shirts for the first 1500 finishers...... So pretty expectant of getting the souvenir T-shirt , but got to see when will I finally lay my hands on it.

Run Summary

Total Distance : 10,000 m
Time Taken : 59 mins 57 secs
Official Timing --->

Over All Rank
Category Rank
Split @ 1.7K
Split @ 2.5K
Split @ 4.65K
Split @ 5.65K
Split @ 9K
Finish Time / Chip Time
915 3807 NITHIN ULIYAR 750 00:11:29 00:15:53 00:27:53 00:33:55 00:54:19 01:04:22 / 00:59:57

Update : The organizers have rectified the timings and I got the free Nike T-shirt :).

May 18, 2010

An Orbit Around Bannerghatta

2 back-to-back weekend bike rides, the first one with a mechanized single cylinder engine and the second one powered by my own 2 cylinder engine :P.... i meant legs :) . There was a new addition to our cycling gang of Raghav and Myself with Deepak gatecrashing with his Rockrider 5.2 he recently acquired.

The plan for this ride on 15th May was riding via Harohalli to Bannerghatta and back to Bangalore. The day started with getting up at 5 am on a weekend which is an unthinkable achievement for me if not for such rides :P. The meeting point was at Reebok Showroom at Kanakpura road and by 5.40 am the trio had assembled for a long day on saddle.

[Kanakpura Road- NH209]

Started moving along the Kanakpura road towards Harohalli. The altitude of this place is around 690 m above sea level, a good 230 m below Bangalore's mean altitude. Hence as expected the entire route had more down's than up's and we pretty quickly covered the distance. The morning was very pleasant and the sun was just rising and this part of the trip was truly a breeze with very minimum traffic . Stopped here and there for taking snaps while crossing some beautiful lakes.

Reached Harohalli and one has to take a left turn just after the KSRTC bus stand to move towards Bannerghatta . Even though the first impression of the road was not so good, but as soon as we exited the town the roads become truly awesome. There was no traffic on this road and the roads were real smooth.

Even though on this stretch there are steep gradients ,but every climb is followed by a steep down matching the climb. Hence this resulted in us not able to reclaim the 250 m height we lost via the Bangalore- Harohalli route. Some 15 kms down we entered the Bannerghatta forest range.

[Group Pic]

[Slush Offroading :P]

As we continued on this route Deepak suggested we take a shortcut to Bannerghatta , since the road quality was not an issue since all of us were in MTB's. So inquired a local he directed us towards a dirt path, but he was not very keen for us take that path and insisted we take the normal route than the dirt track :P. But we were adamant and entered the slush filled dirt track. This dirt track runs for a distance of around 1-2 kms and having a pretty steep climb. After this we joined a neatly tarred road.

After this section started the real climb. Around 3 kms of continuous climb and that too the road being completely exposed to the noon sun which as expected is very ruthless to cyclists :( . After this climb there was in fact no serious climbs en route to Bangalore, so I am guessing that within the 3 kms climb, we gained the altitude of nearly 200 m +........ it pretty much drained most of the energy in us , with deepak giving up halfway in between and pushing the cycle, raghav at 80 % and me at 90 % :P.

After this section the ride through the forests was not much difficult and enjoyable. We joined the main highway between Bannerghatta and Anekal without any issues.

[Bannerghatta Forest]

[3/4 the distance and out comes the "V" sign :P]

At Bannerghatta we had a couple of idli's to fuel up for the final assault towards Bangalore. But cycling through this last section of Bannerghatta - Bangalore was quite dissappointing with heavy weekend traffic moving along this road. Anyway we reached the Outer Ring Road junction and Deepak separated to move towards his aunties home quite nearby. Me and Raghav continued on the ring road and reached our respective homes completely exhausted due to the summer sun . I reached at around 12.40 pm taking around 7 hrs 5 mins to complete the 86 kms that we pedalled.

[Route Map - Red indicates the offroading path]

Updated Career Stats :P

100's -----------------------------> 1
50's -----------------------------> 3

Trip 'O' Meter -> 86 kms
Time Taken -> 7 hrs 5 mins
Average Speed -> 12. 5 km/h :(

Snaps Link ->

May 14, 2010

A Cruise 2 Ye (rcaud && lagiri)

If asked during the entire Korea stay , what i missed the most apart from home , then the first answer would be long bike rides. So had planned one such just soon after I landed here and getting enough breathing space and rejuvenate i.e. on 1 and 2 May, but due some drop outs had to put a stone on my heart and had to postpone it to 8 and 9 May :P.

In total we were 7 guys (manju, prasanna, nagesh, harish, shashi, lokesh and myself ) riding in 7 bikes (5 Pulsars, 1 avenger, 1 FZS). Even though it may look odd ,but the fact was no one was ready to ride pillion , no one wanted to to perceived as a pansy :P.

Day 1 (8 May 2010)


The time was to meet at Silk Board Junction at 5.30 am, but we were ready to leave for the journey only by 6 am. The initial part of the journey was fairly good with the ride along the four lane Golden Quadrilateral highway. There are numerous toll-booths along the way but our bikes classified as 2-wheelers just whiz past them without paying any tolls, guess the promotors didnt foresee people riding bikes for long distances :P.... but which is rectified in NICE ring roads :(.

The first destination for the day was the Yelagiri hills, part of the non-continuous Eastern ghats. After Krishnagiri we moved until Bagalur and from here took the state highway towards Tirupatthur. The ride along this SH-131 was smooth and was a great change from riding monotonously along the National highway. After reaching Tirupatthur started scouting for a place to eat. And the best place to eat at this town will actually make you whince when entering the place... the place was "Lakshmi Camp"..... the entrance looked more like a tachted hut.. anyway the food was ok and we had some food our stomachs.

[Yelagiri Hills]

From this place we moved towards Yelagiri hills. One thing I noticed about the Tamil Nadu is that most of the roads will be in excellent condition but the towns will be dirty like hell, which more or less is the reverse of what we find in Karnataka. Moving towards Vaniyambadi the hills of Yelagiri start appearing to your right and some 30km down this road the right turn towards Yelagiri is marked my huge boards both in English and Tamil, even then prasanna who knows both the languages and was leading at that time just went past , dont know in whose thoughts was he lost???!! or do we ? :P

[Made For Each Other !!!!!!!!!!]

The view from the foot of the hills is really nice. And these hills rise majestically from the plains. Soon the hairpin bends started. There were 14 in all to reach the top. Harish who was pretty new to biking had a fall in one such hairpin bend, anyway not much damage was done either to him or the bike. We moved up. Yelagiri comprises of various number of villages. Soon after we reach the top we came across a tourist information centre where we got info about the place. Got trek info to Swamimalai Peak. There are 2 routes to this place, one continuing on the road adjacent to the info centre and the other via Mangalam village. While the former takes nearly 7 hours and the path is like any other normal trek routes the later takes about 1.5 hours and the path has stone steps which is a pain in the as.... sorry knees :P.....

[Enroute to SwamiMalai Temple]

But the trek route was pretty good, nothing spectacular but enough to satisfy one's dose of nature therapy. Since we started in the middle of the day it was very hot and the prespiration was constant. Earlier we had enquired about a falls known as Perumada falls and had got the info that it was completely dry...... now makes we wonder if all of us were made to stand at the mouth of this falls in our present condition will we be able to rejeneuvate the falls in the peak of summer :P.

By the end of pretty gruelling 1.5 hrs we reached the top. There was a temple and the poojari told us to keep the footwear there itself and explore the top. Now we misunderstood thinking that the top was pretty far and ventured in the wilderness without any shoes... barefoot trekking... probably the only time I will or do it in the future. Anyway after nearly 10 mins not finding the peak we returned back, only to realize the poojari had referred to the boulder just near the entrance of the temple :P.

[The Swamimalai Temple]

Spent some 15-20 mins lying in the shade on top of this boulder and then we prepared to return back. Reached back and drank all the liquid stuff one would get hand to ... maaza, pepsi, water etc. We moved back and on the way we found Hotel Yelagiri where we had an "ok" lunch. Since there is nothing at this place and we too had not expected more and had come just for the ride we decided it was time we moved towards Yercaud.

[The Rise Of Poseidon ?????!!!!!!!!!!]

Yercaud is nearly 160 kms from this place and we decided to explore the road via Utharangai- Hallur then the traditional route via the National Highway. After reaching Tirupatthur took the SH-18 highway towards Salem. This highway was in excellent condition for a 2 lane winding highway except for a few rough patches in between. Also it had raining a couple of hours earlier in this entire stretch substantially bringing down the temperature.

There are 2 routes to Yercaud. One from Salem and the other from a small town Kuppanur lying in between the Tirupatthur-Salem highway. One by one we all the 7 regrouped here at Kuppanur. While I had the idea of going up to Yercaud and check for the rooms and if not getting due to our bad luck then continue towards Salem, but most of the others were not that chilled out and wanted rooms to be confirmed in Yercaud before going there. Anyway after getting contact number of a agent from a local shop we came to know there were no rooms available in Yercaud. But still the lesser number of people were able to convince the majority of the others to go to Yercaud and try over there. If we had not done this part of the journey then we would have repented it including the non-believers :).

[Kuppanur - Yercaud Route]

Eventhough this route to Yercaud is completely deserted with us meeting very few vehicles meeting enroute it was a awesome experience, reminds me of riding up the Lakkidi Ghat in Waynad in complete darkness. Roads were good the entire journey , but at some places it is very narrow , so might be problematic for bigger vehicles. Anyway reached Yercaud after an awesome journey and started our hunt for hotel rooms. After struggling for a while we got rooms at Green Fort Inn at a price of 2.5k for the 7 guys including 2 bedrooms and 1 hall. In between we went to the pagoda point where we get a spectacular night view of the Salem City . At this point there was not a single soul in sight and also not even a single street lamp. Anyway the view from this point was simply spectacular.

[View Of Salem From Pagoda Point]

By this time due to all the chilled stuff i had during the day I had got cold and headache which was to last another 24 hrs. Had some games of UNO and were off to bed.

Day 2 (9 May 2010)

[Some Group Pics Of Man and Machine]

While some of the guys had planned a early morning plan to catch the sunrise , but everyone were too tired to get up that early in the morning. After a proper sleep we got up and ready to do some sight seeing of Yercaud. First stop was the lake and it was ok . Had breakfast at Hotel Shevaroy which was nothing special. From there moved towards the view points. The first on the list was the Ladies seat. Eventhough this offers a spectacular view of the below valley this place was pretty much polluted with plastics due to the indifferent tourists thronging to this place.

[Yercaud Lake]

[Ladies Seat View]

Also went further to the Gent's seat, another view-point. Got to know that this particular name was given for the equality of the sexes :P. At this view point one gets the oppurtunity to view the mist filled valleys below and also the ghat roads making their way through the hills. There is one more view point called the children's seat but no one was interested to go there.

Since there is nothing more for our interest and also the trek to Kiliyur falls was ruled out due to non-existence of water, we decided it was time we started our return journey back to bangalore. We checked out of our rooms at around 1 pm and started the return journey.

[Yercaud Ghat Roads]

The ghat roads towards Salem offers very good views and also the ride was pretty exciting, the only turn off was there was way too much traffic along this 20 hair-pin bend ghat roads, but eventhen the ride was pretty exciting. By the time we reached the base I noticed something leaking out of Prasannas engine. Taking the bike to a mechanic resulted in the news of leaking engine oil due to decreased viscosity of the oil. Anyway replacement of the same took around 45 mins and then we were on our way. Reached Salem and took a diversion directly to join the National Highway - 7. The ride after this was pretty much monotonous and ride of nearly 200kms to Bangalore.


We had a lunch stop at a restaerent A2B some 50-60 kms before Krishnagiri. This is pretty much the only decent restaurent one would find along the highway.
Anyway reached bangalore and took the NICE ring -road to reach home at around 8 pm.

[Route Map]

Trip 'O' Meter -> 575 kms
Total Cost Per Head -> 1.4 k

Snaps Link

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