Written by Chethan Ram

March 9th, 2019.
Total distance – 200kms
Cut off time – 13.5 hours

Route: Bangalore – Manchanabele – Magadi – Huliyurudurga – Kunigal – Hebbur – Solur – Nelamangala – Bangalore

Randonneuring is an addiction. It is very difficult to come out of it and why should we? The Roller Coaster 200 was announced by Mohan and the initial look at the route made me understand that this is a nice rolling terrain and definitely not going to be easy with summer already set in. I decided to ride this and got myself registered just before the cut off time. Phaneesh, Nithin, Kousthub, Praveen, Vishal, Nithya and Kiran are some of the riders who also registered from Team Cadence90. Kiran and Nithya are the third couple from our group attempting a brevet together. I had not touched my bike after my Fleche on February 23rd, decided to get some easy spin on the trainer and managed to get two easy spins of 30 minutes each on Thursday and Friday with Saturday being the ride day.

Phaneesh and I decided to ride together and finish it off as early as possible. I loaded my bike in the car and picked up Phaneesh from his place in the morning. We reached Kanteerava Stadium by 5:15am, parked the car there and reached flag off point by 5:30am. We finished the formalities, collected our brevet cards and we were all set to start. By this time the crowd started to gather as 117 people had registered for this event. There were a lot of familiar faces and we spent time talking to them as we waited for the flag off.

Just before flag off.

Flag off was done at 6:00am as usual and our journey began. It was still dark and our lights were on. 104 riders started out of 117 riders who had registered. The streets were full of cyclists with the flashing red light and it was really some sight to watch. We both maintained a steady pace in the dark and we increased it as it got brighter. By the time the traffic started picking up, we had reached Kengeri. By 6:50am we were done with 17kms and we had taken the right turn at Kumbalagodu towards Manchanabele. The roads were little patchy initially and got smoothened after a couple of kilometers. Since it was cloudy initially, we took advantage of the situation and increased the pace as our first target was to reach Magadi control point which was at 56kms. The famous reservoir at Manchanabele was very inviting, but we were in no mood to stop.  As we crossed Manchanabele we started encountering the rolling hills which really lived up to the title of this brevet. In the meantime, Raghu (Raghunandan Nagaraja) had also joined us and we three were riding together. In one of the climbs, I got dropped a bit as both Phaneesh and Raghu developed a good lead. It took 4-5kms for me to catch them up and in the meantime, they had caught up with Venky (Wheelsports). We all rode together till the control point at Magadi where we met the legendary Ashok Thiruvengadam. The time was 8:30am. That was a quick stop just to complete the control point formalities. Venky  wanted to stop for breakfast but Phaneesh and I continued as we had carried chapati rolls and we took off towards Huliyurdurga which is the next control point at 85kms.

Control Point at Magadi

The scenic route continued as we started spinning little faster towards Huliyurudurga. We happened to ride most of the stretch with Ashok who was in his own world riding at a very good pace with his earphones on. Riding with Ashok, we did not realise the distance we had covered and we had reached Huliyurudurga by 9:30am. We took a selfie at the control point and continued to ride.

Magadi to Huliyurudurga stretch.

With ever smiling Ashok Thiruvengadum.

The clouds had cleared, the Sun was out completely and we started to feel the heat. Phaneesh wanted to stop for breakfast but I convinced him to eat on the move as there was absolutely no traffic on this stretch. We took the chapatis out and started having them and decided to stop for water refill the moment we spotted the store. At this point, we lost Ashok as he continued ahead of us. We were done with our chapatis and finding a shop on the stretch took some time. When we found one we were disappointed as they didn’t have any cold water. Since we had stopped we decided to go with whatever available and continued our ride. Even though there was no tree cover on this stretch the tarmac was just fantastic with a nice rolling terrain which made us consider coming back here for our regular weekend rides.

We reached Kunigal at 10:30 and our next target was the manned control point after Hebbur which was at 123km. We were just 15kms away but our urge for cold water increased as we started to feel the heat. We decided not to stop in Kunigal town and stop only if we find any shops after exiting Kunigal town. Finally found a place after Kunigal and we felt heavenly with some really chilled water at our disposal. It was a quick 5 minute stop and we continued to ride without wasting much time. By 11:20am we had reached the control point and we were welcomed by Mohan, Vidya and Joy. Vidya and Joy had volunteered for this ride to assist Mohan. It was really nice to see riders coming forward to support other riders. It was a very nice gesture Vidya and Joy.

Mouth-watering bisibelebath and curd ride.
PC: Bangalore Randonneurs

Few riders were already relaxing at the control point and one of them was Mahesh Chaudhary from Mysore. We exchanged greetings with the other riders, got our brevet cards stamped and proceeded towards lunch. Mohan had set up a very nice stall with a lot of refreshments. Bisibelebath and curd rice looked awesome and they were really tempting. I decided to go with only curd rice and Phaneesh helped himself with two servings of curd ride. There were few oranges and I had 3-4 of them. I did not even take my helmet off as I did not want to get into relaxation mode. I understood from my conversation with Mohan that we would be going through the Saalumarada Thimmakka stretch. It was really something to look forward to in the next stretch as I had never seen this stretch before. With that excitement, we had decided to start and left the place by 11:38am. By this time Mahesh had already left.

Mohan with his lunch point set up.

The roads were very narrow but the road condition was very good. The sun was right on top which slowed us down a bit but we decided to continue and stop only at Solur which is the next control point at 155kms. When we just started to feel the heat we were welcomed by a nice stretch of road with tree cover from both sides of the road. It was a fantastic stretch and felt heavenly. This stretch was none other than the Saalumarada Thimmakka stretch. Saalumarada Thimmakka also known as Alada Marada Timakka is an Indian environmentalist from the state of Karnataka, noted for her work in planting and tending to 385 banyan trees along a four-kilometre stretch of highway between Hulikal and Kudur. She received no formal education and worked as a casual labourer in a nearby quarry. Her work has been honoured with the National Citizen’s Award of India. Her work was recognized by the Government of India and she was conferred with Padmi Shri in 2019. (Source: Wikipedia). I took a few pictures on the move as I continued to enjoy the stretch. In fact, we could feel the drop in temperature as soon as we entered that stretch. As we exited this stretch we spotted a cyclist ahead of us who had stopped and it was none other than Mahesh. We understood that we had missed the control point at Solur as we were in the hangover of Saalumarada Thimmakka stretch. We got a confirmation from Mohan that any selfie with Solur in the background would do and went ahead with the formalities. That really saved us some time as we didn’t have to ride back to the control point.

The famous Saalumarada Thimmakka stretch.

We had decided to stop at Solur for a water refill and the shops were hard to find as we joined the highway after the Solur town. Now three of us including Mahesh started riding together searching for a water stop. We found a few shops on the other side of the road, we were in no mood to cross the road and decided to stop at Nelamangala Toll. With 2 kilometers to the toll, Mahesh accelerated and Phaneesh joined him while I continued at the same pace to join them at the toll. Mohan had asked us to message him from Nelamangala so that he could ask someone to be at the finish line by the time we reached. I sent a message to Mohan as we relaxed with some cold refreshments and decided to leave at 1:45pm.

With Mahesh at Solur control point.

Water bottles were filled as we knew that the next stop would be the end point at Kanteerava stadium. We decided to take it easy as it was hot and as we turned right at Nelamangala we saw a sudden change in weather and it turned cloudy. Phaneesh and I were riding together and Mahesh was little ahead when Phaneesh decided to push to make use of the cloudy weather. Within no time all three of us were one behind the other with speedometer hovering between 35-40kmph. I was in two minds to take the expressway but Phaneesh was keen on taking it as the traffic was not much and I followed. We had reached Yeshwanthpur in no time and from then on the traffic slowed us down. We were tempted a little to push and make it to the end point before 3:00pm but decided against it and had a relaxed ride from Yeshwanthpur to reach the end control point at 3:14pm. We were surprised to see Pancham being there to welcome us. We were about to take the selfie when we saw Manish Mahendra who finished the endpoint formalities for us. Mahesh packed up and left to Mysore. Phaneesh decided to grab a bite in Konark while I settled for a lime soda. We drove down to Cadence90 from there and I resumed my work while Phaneesh took an Uber to reach home.

Mahesh, Phaneesh and I at the end control point.

Overall it was a fantastic ride and the ride lived up to the the name “Roller Coaster”. Bangalore Randonneurs have never disappointed us as everything was just perfect right from the word go. Special thanks to Lokesh Jain for coming up with this wonderful route. A big “Thank you” to all the volunteers who are directly and indirectly involved in making this brevet a big success.

Here are some of the highlights of the ride.

117 riders registered, 104 riders started the ride and 82 riders completed the ride.

It was a star-studded ride with veterans, international fame Indian cyclists and 39 Rookies at the flagoff at 6 am from Kanteerva Stadium.

Nishanth Iyengar 2nd Indian to complete Trans Am Bike Race

Gyanendra Sharma 1st Indian to complete NorthCape4000

Ashok Tiruvengadam  & Somaskanda PBP-2015 finishers

Santanu Chakraborty starting his 7th Super Randonneur title this year

There were two Power Couple who comepleted this brevet.

  1. Shilpa and Vinuth (2nd 200 for them)
  2. Nithya and Kiran.

6 out of 6 women riders completed the ride to maintain the 100% record.

  1. Grinshina
  2. Krupa
  3. Nithya
  4. Blossom
  5. Shilpa
  6. Monalisa

Out of 39 rookies, 25 of them completed successfully.

Hats off to 6 riders who finished late. You are the real heroes.

Congratulations to Kousthub Heblikar for his maiden SR title and Venkatesh Shivarama for his SR for this season.