It probably isn’t going to be an adventure if this thought doesn’t come to your mind.
Exactly this thought was going through my mind on that beautiful Saturday night. Even before we started assembling the bikes, people gathered around to tell us there’s no way we could cycle 8 kms uphill through the jeep track to reach the mountain top. We told them we’d get there somehow. It was 6.30 in the evening.
“Why the hell am I doing this?”
|That's me riding on a trail through the grasslands atop Kodachadri. Image courtesy - Rajesh Nayak|
|After few kilometers of rocky, slippery and uneven trail, the route evened up a bit.|
|9 of us together must've brought back kilograms of this red mud. Most of the route was covered in this soft red mud which made the trail very slippery.|
8 friends and I were assembling our bikes at the base of this 1300m high peak called Kodachadri in the Western Ghats. By the time we had our cycles ready with our helmets and head torches on, it was pitch dark. The trail steadily climbs through thick forest to open into vast grasslands just before we reach the peak. It is a very uneven rocky trail with lots of stones and soft red mud. In the darkness we started pedaling uphill and within minutes almost everyone had their first fall. After few futile attempts of trying to cycle on the trail, five of us resorted to pushing our bikes uphill.
It was pitch dark, a silent night with a starry sky. And there I was, pushing my bike through the forest, along the twisting turns with not a soul in sight apart from me my friends. At times like this, it is only one’s sense of humour that can help. We couldn’t help but laugh at our situation, stranded in the night with nothing but our bikes, some water and a sleeping bag. Few hours later we managed to reach the top where we camped under the open skies. And as luck would have it, dinner was just a water melon.
|That's part of the team making their way down the trail. Image courtesy - Rajesh Nayak|
|While I wasn't really comfortable on these trails, my friends were having the time of their life. Image courtesy - Rajesh Nayak|
The real fun started the next morning. After all of the previous night’s trouble, today we would ride downhill. I wasn’t particularly fond of riding downhill on those crazy trails. Even in the city I have never driven any vehicle and when it comes to riding, the only experience I have is the few routes I cycled over the past two years. But this wasn’t going to be an easy ride and I had half a mind to hire a jeep to take me down. And my off-roading skills are so awesome, only a new born baby can do worse than me. This was when the thought crossed my mind again.
“Why in the world am I doing this?”
In the end, the lure of starring in an awesome video got to me and I decided to ride downhill. I would ride few meters only to be thrown off balance very soon. I walked my bike at a whole lot twists and turns but slowly I got the hang of it. After the initial few kilometers, the trail evened out considerably and at some point I was even having fun riding through the forest. But all the while, I could never let go of the fear of crashing and held onto the brakes with all I had. My grip on the brakes was so firm that my arms were hurting bad but I couldn’t let go.
|We came across this stream at the end of the trail where we had a lot of fun crossing the stream on our bikes.|
|I was afraid to try this out in the beginning but it looked like a lot of fun and the photos and videos of the stream crossing looked awesome too. So I had to try it and it wasn't as scary as I thought it'd be.|
After 8kms and 2 hours of riding downhill, I found my answer. I was doing this because variety is the spice of life. Because we should never stop learning and there’s always a first time; because of the joy of learning, overcoming fear and the excitement of doing something new and adding more crazy experiences to my list.
Here is a video of the downhill ride -
, by Neelima Vallangi