Indian Cyclists Network

It’s generally Sundays one likes to go on a long riding excursion but a sudden change in my schedule got me a free Saturday. Since morning I toyed with the idea of setting out on a long ride but couldn’t get over the indecisiveness because of the heat. By the time I made up my mind it was well past noon. Did a quick prep and I set out to khandala at around 1430 hrs.  

I had checked up the temp on the net. Two sites gave me two different day temp. – 34 degrees and 38 degrees. Considering both of them to be well beyond my confort zone, I resigned myself to fate and set out to experience riding in the heat (as if the experience from last week’s 200 km BRM wasn’t enough).

Ten minutes into the ride - I was feeling the pinch – the scorching heat and dry winds were uncharacteristic of precincts of a coastal area.I Kept drinking small amounts of water till Panvel toll naka. After that I felt slightly better and rode well. Reached Khopoli, a distance of around 47 km in 1 hr 46min and averaged around 26kmph. I took a ten minute break before climbing the Bhot ghat. Even though the sun was way down from merpass, the air was just short of being a furnace exhaust.

Bhor ghat took its toll. I dismounted twice on my way up - Fatigued, and sapped out of energy. It’s like, I tried to dial in my reserve energy tank but that was dry too. There wasn’t a drop of sweat on my body – just salt. I stopped in a shade for two minutes, panting. Within two minutes, the sweat began to break over and I felt cooled down a bit. The trapped heat finally escaped. Later, the climb was bearable because I was sweating and kept myself hydrated. I finally reached khandala tunnel after an hour and five minutes of climb.

A passing thought on motorists. I never had complains about truckers – they drive well in a straight line. The worst drivers are generally in the swankiest car or an SUV. They have loads of horse power and they think they have the right of way under any circumstances.

Tiger valley or sunset point was crowded. It was 1830 and people had gathered to take pictures of sunset. A ten minute break turned  longer when some well heeled gentlemen began discussing about  cycling. It would have been rude to cut them short, saddle up, and ride away. So I hung around for a while. What was worrying was that I wanted to get down khandala ghats while there was still enough light. I can’t imagine speeding down the cat-1 ghat in a battery powered LED head lamp. Finally, at seven I started riding down. I had entered the twilight zone.

Return ride was very comfortable. The sun had gone down and the breeze was a bit cooler and I think it was from a favourable direction. I sped up. A major chunk of Khopoli to Panvel stretch doesn’t have much habitation along the way as a result there was not enough ‘spillover’ lights on the roads. I relied either on the headlights of the vehicles from behind  - that was comfortable, and my LED head lamp. On those stretches that were engulfed in pitch darkness  the LED lamp proved reasonably helpful.

I reached home, 2 hours later after covering 58 km at a brisk pace.


Kharghar-Khopoli                             47km                     01:46

Khopoli-Khandala-tiger valley     15km                     01:32

Khandala – kharghar                       58km                     02:00

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Comment by Prashantt Rai on March 28, 2012 at 1:55pm

@WillSatur knew about the good qualities of Lime though but never thought of honey having hydrating qualities. thanks for the input. @AnoolM


Comment by Anool J M on March 26, 2012 at 12:37pm

mainly for the taste - although I guess some of the nutritional value of Lime helps, maybe.

Comment by Anool J M on March 26, 2012 at 11:15am

I use a mixture of Lime, honey and Water. Did 50km yesterday, and had no problems despite the hot climate.

Comment by Prashantt Rai on March 25, 2012 at 1:46pm

@AdwaitAinapure thanks :-)


Comment by Prashantt Rai on March 25, 2012 at 1:45pm

@WillSatur thats a valid point - not to overdo with water. gatorade is good but is often difficult to source once you are riding away from cities. Electrol powder is good. I have also heard that coconut water also has good electrolytes that provides recovery for tired muscles.

Comment by Adwait Ainapure on March 24, 2012 at 4:16pm
Great Prashantt, keep it up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Comment by Prashantt Rai on March 18, 2012 at 5:57pm
@Satyaprakash thanks a lot sir. I generally do long distance in the mornings. It is relatively easy to climb Bhor ghat in cooler hours. After Last week's Pume 200 where in 80% of the ride was in scorching heat, I decided to do some riding in the day just to test from endurance pov.

Regarding salt. Thanks for clarifying. When I don't see sweat pouring out, a mild alarm starts off in my mind - what if this is an on set of a heat stroke. :-)
Comment by satyaprakash purushottam lele on March 18, 2012 at 5:38pm

You started the ride bit late and had to suffer the hot road and the generally hot weather. In this region in these months the sweat dries fast while cycling. So the salt layer.

Nice ride all the same. What ride did you use? Bhor Ghat is tough any way hot weather does not make the matter any easy.

Very well done.

Comment by Prashantt Rai on March 18, 2012 at 5:27pm
Thank you Sunil bhai. Kind words. :-) just wanted to share my plight in the heat. April would be worse.
Comment by Sunil Gandhi on March 18, 2012 at 4:34pm

Wow Super effort, courage is more like it.  Helmets off to you Prashant. Keep it up, you are made of some strong  stuff.


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