Saturday, October 29, 2011

Long way up - RTMC 10A @ Ooty

It has been months since I last went for a multi-day ride and as usual I was too eager to make up for it. RTMC 10A @ Ooty was a great excuse to satisfy the itch. But riding from Chennai to Ooty and back is fun but I had something bigger in mind. Instead of riding 1200km ride 1800km with more than 600km of twisties which I like to call as "twist-tease".

The problem of being in Chennai is that we have arrow straight four lane highways on three sides. Now don't ask me whats on the 4th side. For a regular road user this should be a blessing, but we aren't a regular bunch are we. Bikers crave for corners, ups & downs and a few potholes to dodge. One of the worst stretch of road in from Chennai to Trichy. Its dry, straight and the best place to sleep and ride. So we wanted to get that over with at October 4th night. Harish and I (poor Prat could not join us) started from Meenambakkam at 7pm and just avoiding the mad city rush. Gunned down the highways dodging pedestrians and slow moving traffic till we reached Chengalpattu. We decided to halt at Perambalur for the night and I called up my cousin to make place for 2 of us. We reached Perambalur by 11 pm. We were glad we got over that section.

We rode out from Perambaur at about 6.30am and decided to halt at Dindugal for breakfast. Amidst the regular stares of people we had our breakfast and it was time to hit the state roads. Yippeee!!! Finally this is why we came here. Just as we started to get into the groove we saw a lonely rider on a brand new C5 slowly coming from the opp. side. As always both of us stopped to say hello and it was Junaid from RTMC. Bid goodbye and "see you in couple of day" we pressed on. After about 50km we got bored again. The problem with state roads in Tamilnadu is even the those are arrow straight with very little turns and twists. One good thing was there was plenty of greenery around. Crossed Theni and Kumban and it was bloody humid. Before we knew it we were at Kumily and the roads started winding up. We crossed into Kerala and before we knew it we were dodging craters on the road every few hundred feet. This continued for 20km we decided to break for lunch. We couldn't help but think and worry about the state of the roads ahead. But just as we started after lunch the roads magically turned into butter smooth tarmac with twists. Hell.. there was no straight roads itself. The lefts flowed into a right followed by a long fast sweeping left hander followed by a downhill sharp 2nd gear right and then going up the gearbox before braking hard into a steep downhill 1st gear left. Phew!!! The next 2 hours was sheer bliss. Scrapping footpegs and what not and putting all we have learnt on how to handle twisties into practice. Harish and I split at Kottayam. I stayed in Kottayam to see my ailing grandfather while he went to Ernakulam to attend his friends wedding.

The next day it was quite uneventful day at the saddle as I rode only 50 odd km from Kottayam to Mulanthuruthy. I had asked Harish to join me there at my cousin's place. The uneventful day became an eventful day for the tongue. We had Toddy with prawns fry at a Toddy shop.. Yummm.. My cousin made some beef steak, chicken sausages and some beacon and had it along with some black label.. Yumm Yumm...

The next day morning we rode out towards Ooty and asusual we took the long way. Via Munnar, Chinnar and Udumalpet. The climb to Munnar was as scenic it can get. We were just enjoying the view, the greenary and the weather and decided not to scrape any of our foot pegs. Took it easy. We kept the same pace till we reached Chinnar and decided to halt for lunch. Now we realized that we have behind schedule and started to open-up once we hit the plains. Came across many windmill farms near Palladam. I always wanted to be there. After a couple of hours we were at Metupalayam (4pm) waiting for the gang from Chennai. Big mistake. By the time we re-grouped and started in was 6.30pm and it was dark and there was heavy traffic. The group rode at 20kmph.. Seriously I'm not kidding and I had the unfortunate task of sweeping. Finally we reached Sterling Resort, Fernhill by 9pm and was welcomed by a mouth full of words ;) That was for being late. We quickly got ready for the PARTY....

The event carried on Saturday and we had a local ride were more than 100 bikers rode around Ooty in a formation. The people were awe struck. Heck even I could not keep my mouth shut. The sound of all the bullets were intoxicating. It was indeed a Rolling Thunder at Ooty.

Sunday and its time to head back home. The very thought of riding between Vellore and Chennai made me fall asleep. But there was plenty good roads to look forward too. About 6 of us started together by 8am. I was still pissed off for climbing up Ooty at 20kmph. So I just decided to go make it up for the climb. Within few corners i knew everyone had that same thought in their mind. After few km Unni and I were in the front and pulled away from the gang. Rode our wheels off and we stopped at Black Thunder to re-group. Re-shuffled the group based their speeds and started towards Chennai. The state roads we great till Thoppur and from there we hit the four laned highways. From that point everything is  a blur. We were doing 120kph till we hit Vaniyambadi were we stopped for a late lunch. From then on it was home stretch and those roads were as boring as ever. Bloody hell I feel sleepy even I think about it. All of us reached home by 7pm without any incidents.

The next day I got restless and want to ride more but I have to put it off for a few months. Till then ECR should keep me happy. :D

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