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Indian Terrain Tour of Nilgiris Day 4 Race Report

day 4

The much awaited day of the Indian Terrain tour of Nilgiris kick started from the luxurious ‘’Issac Hotel Regency’’, Sulthan Bathery, Kerala. The riders rolled off the easy terrain passing landscapes of tea field as misty sun rays pierced their way through the tall dense trees. While some of the riders didn’t really care what’s coming their way, there were a few who were looking forward to making this dreaded day count. Besides the view, the riders had to participate in the competitive segment as well as the King/Queen of mountain category. Working hard today with a rest day tomorrow could make a big difference to their GC standings.

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While some of the riders didn’t really care what’s coming their way, there were a few who were looking forward to making this dreaded day count. Besides the view, the riders had to participate in the competitive segment as well as the King/Queen of mountain category. Working hard today with a rest day tomorrow could make a big difference to their GC standings.

 

After a certain period, the roads unwound into a constant uphill and downhill that offered a tranquilizing scenic view. This might appear to be fascinating; however, the riders had to worry about the formation of fog and water droplets on their glasses, helmets and even arms for that matter. As the riders rode lower down the climb, the fog started to fade and the sky got clearer.

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The Kalhatti day demanded a lot from the riders as the competitive segment appeared as an uninvited guest right after 21km mark. Pushing harder from the start would get them in trouble for the might Khallatay that swallows the weakest.

DSC_9360The 6.8km competitive segment on the hilly terrain was the first ever that was gentle on the riders. It was still early morning as the gentle rays of the sun and the vast trees standing among tea plantations offered enough shade and coolness that made the segment tranquil. Within no time, the competitive segment was done as the riders rode further for a surprise.

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The Indian terrain tour of Nilgiris participants rolled through the Mudumalai Tiger reserve in groups. The sanctuary is a home to about 50 species of fishes, 21 species of amphibians, 34 species of reptiles, 227 species of birds and 55 species of mammals. It was decided by the organizers that a dozen of riders would tag along to a support vehicle and pass the forest.  The forest was populated with elephants, and was considered unsafe for the riders to stop or even pass alone. Moreover, the riders wore bright colors that can instigate the Elephants to attack.

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We were hoping to get a glimpse of some wildlife on the way. A tiger, leopard, sloth bear, black napped hare, deer, gaur, the pig would do that magic and make our day. With little hope, we pushed on until suddenly a massive Elephant appeared from nowhere. For a moment, our hearts were in our mouths. We didn’t know what would be the best thing to do that could let the elephant go away. It seemed as if we had already managed to piss him off by blocking his way. The elephant seemed confused and upset as he walked a few steps back and finally headed into the forest.

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The 14 cyclists who were tagging along with us seemed to be having mixed feelings. While most of them were pretty terrified by the massive size and the open Elephant, there were others who wouldn’t mind getting a selfie. Even while we write this down, we wonder what could have been the outcome if the animal decided to display his anger.

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After the Elephant went on his own way, we quickly moved with the small bunch of cyclist towards time station 2. As many of the riders were on road bikes, the cratered road made it quite difficult for them to maneuver. A small mistake or just running out of luck was enough to give you a flat in the steadily building heat. Once we passed the sanctuary successfully, the roads and elevation got better except the heat. With Kalhatti on the way, riders had to make sure they were in good shape for the much-awaited battle.

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A small mistake or just running out of luck was enough to give you a flat in the steadily building heat. Once we passed the sanctuary successfully, the roads and elevation got better except the heat. With Kalhatti on the way, riders had to make sure they were in good shape for the much-awaited battle.

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Soon riders arrived at support station 2 which was also the start point for the title of King/Queen of Kallhattay. After feeding their starving tummies with a heavy lunch, many of them lay back resting and prepared themselves for the final battle before the rest day. To read more about the battle and to take a look at the pictures and the pain that kalhatti puts on you can be seen here.

Picture Courtesy: RAY Photography

Velocrushindia233 Posts

Abhishek Tarfe, a man always on the move! A cycling enthusiast, a content writer by profession and a dreamer by nature. Abhishek always has something different up his sleeve! To know more, do follow him on his social media accounts.

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