Getting down from Ooty via Gudalur and my first crash on the bike.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

** Scroll down if you want to see some awesome pictures.
Read about Day 1 Ride here -
"It was time to enjoy the benefits of yesterdays effort, is what I thought, which is why I refused to use the awesome hydraulic disc brakes on my bike, which is why I flew off the bike and fell on my head during my first high speed downhill crash!"

Me cycling
Cycling in the grasslands near Ooty

Reveling in yesterday’s glory wasn’t going to help me in any way. As we took the cycles out of YHAI campus, the road goes straight up. Damn those uphills already! I was told that even though the Gudalur route is going to be downhill for considerable part, it is not going to be as easy as a push of a pedal at the top and nonstop descent after that. The route would be scenic too I was told. But nothing gave me enough motivation. For that day, I hated ascents, even nominal ones.

Today the entire gang of 40 was back on bikes to enjoy the downhill ride. Rekha was cycling too and the photographer in me came out today. Me, Rekha, Nitin and Arvindh decided we would go slowly, very late taking as many photos as possible. Just outside of Ooty, we came across this awesomely beautiful dried up lake bed which now looked like grassland. Tall trees outlined the area and the sky was exceptionally blue, just the way I liked. With two photographers and willing people it was time for photoshoot.

We were trailing behind while Dipankar also joined us. The five of us now reached Kamraj Sagar Dam and it was time for more photos and offroading. Look what my bike can do! ;)

Neelima Biking
Offroading next to Kamraj Sagar Dam

Me biking
Posing and all that fun

So far so good. The ride was interesting and then started more ascents. We crossed the Pykara Lake and went ahead to reach Pykara Boat house. The thing is the route is a continuous 10kms of delirious downhill ride. I was all too happy about the first major downhill ride. It was time to enjoy the benefits of yesterdays effort, is what I thought, which is why I refused to use the awesome hydraulic disc brakes on my bike, which is why I flew off the bike and fell on my head during my first high speed downhill crash! The curves were lovely and swaying left to right trying to maintain speed seemed fun but at one such devious curve, I knew there wasn’t enough room for me to take a turn at such speed, I tried to apply brakes but I was already at the point of no return. Fall I had to, the only question was where would I like to land. Once I decided the location, the only thing left for me to do was to apply the front brake which would surely throw me off the bike but at least I’d stop. It was time, I applied the brake and the next moment I was lying on the ground saying a million thanks to my awesome helmet, without which I would’ve sustained serious head injury.

I got up to find I was completely unharmed and so was the bike. The chain came off, I laughed to myself as I fixed it. I started riding again but now I was a changed person, I wasn’t the crazy speedmaniac I was a while ago. Instead I was a cautious person going at acceptable speeds with both the hands resting on the brakes. What this actually means is the ride got super boring after this. There were more downhills after this, there were mountains, tea plantations, clouds and more downhill. But too much of downhill can get seriously boring, especially if you are trying to control speed.

As we came down, the heat was soaring high. We reached Gudalur checkpost just before Masinagudi after some uphills. Like I said earlier, we were the last ones to come down while most of the team had already left for the 34 km ride to the Gundlupet pitstop where our vehicles were parked.  The afternoon heat was unbearable, even a nominal ascent was getting me super angry and at such a time I was all too confused if it actually makes sense to do the rest of the ride through that sparse forest in this heat. But I was also thinking if I’d finish the last stretch I would’ve finished the entire ride. While I was still in two minds, Dipankar comes to me and tells me to get into TT as it will get tougher from here and I am better off sitting in the TT.

And just like that, it was decided. I was going to do the rest of the ride on cycle.  Rajesh and Ashish were also coming along with me and the three of us decided we’ll complete the entire ride. So, now you know how to get things done from me. Ask me not to do it. ;)

The ride was long, the heat was on, there were uphills but of course nothing compared to Kalhatty. And for someone having done Kalhatty, everything else seems just fine. We finished the 34km ride in 90 minutes to reach the final pitstop.

That’s how the crazy ride ended. I managed a total of 170kms over a weekend which included one of the toughest climbs of South India. After this ride, the one thing I learnt was ain’t no mountain high enough! :)

Stay tuned for more biking stories and the wandering soul is hooked to the new muse.

The blue skies that I love

Fishing in Kamraj Sagar Dam

Pleasant downhills on the Gudalur route

Kamraj Sagar Dam
I still hate them yellow jerseys!

Trees enroute Gudalur

Scenery here and there

Dipankar and Nitin

Mighty nice place to play indeed!

Riding through tea plantations

Tea Plantations and Sun

That's my bike, enjoying the view

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  1. superb writeup again and some awesome photos!!
    ..and get a yellow jersey for yourself :P

  2. Awesome!!! I've never been on a biking trip so far and that fact landed on my brains so harshly!!! Gotta plan one soon!!!
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  3. Neelima Ooty Gudlur looks so lovely in the camera, and clear sky.....kudos to you, it looks almost a foreign locale

  4. neelima its grrt to know a grrl who does biking trips.Kudos and may your tribe increase.

  5. Fantastic - Again, I am very impressed.

  6. This is breathtaking! Brilliant photography and wonderful sights! Loved it!

  7. Fantastic pictures.. super awesome..

  8. Fantastic Neelima!... you've captured both the beauty of the place as well as the charm & toil of cycling in mountains very well!

  9. लगे रहो इसी में असली जीवन है,

  10. Dear Neelima
    More I am going through your posting more I am marveling !!!

  11. Its a good trek. I went in Dec-Jan 2015-16 but had a near fatal accident (brain hemorrhage,coma ... pretty bad!) on the infamous kalhatty road. The helmet saved my life! I have requested YHAI to reconsider including those 36 hair pin bends in the route.

  12. Briliant read Neelima ! My friend and I are planning to do a cycle trek in Ooty this December. Before booking the seats, we would like to hear from people who have already done it before.
    Let me know how we can contact you for the same. In case you would like to call us - 9970312616

    Thank you,


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