I got down from the cycle and my knees refused to bend.I took some austronaut like steps and slumped into a bench.Cycling up-hill is tough, that was the only thought my mind could process.I hadnt felt that tired for a long time, I hadnt felt that good for a long time.
This crazy idea hit my mind when I was looking for the best way to occupy myself on the weekend post my CAT exam.I badly needed a Himalayan break(well deserved or not is a different story).I only needed likeminded (or similarly absent minded) friends and some over simplified maths to finalise the plan.2 Cycles were brought and somehow stuffed in my Wagon R and we were ready to try our strengths.
The destination, Jageshwar is a lovely little place 35 kms from Almora. To those not familiar with the place, it has a very beautiful and revered temple complex, one of them housing one of the tweleve Jyotirlinga.Surrounding it is a dense Deodar forest completing the landscape. It is situated at 1870 mts, some 220 mts higher than Almora, which was to be our starting point for cycling.
I started cycling from Chitai temple having driven all night to Almora. Cycle assembled and driving duties passed on to friend, the adrenaline rush was palpable.It was all downhillat first till a village called Petshal. I rode my firefox target at scary speed, managing to even overtake some motor vehicles in process.
Petshal onwards was a different story. The inclined which had always looked so easy in a car felt unsurmountable. Little further my bike punctured and fellow rider was feeling unwell due to some stomach condition so I switched to LA sovereign bike, Target dissambled and stuffed into car again.
Using every ounce of my energy I peddaled uphill, learning some valuable lessons for future trips:
1. Even little incline seems tough on a bike.
2. Gears should be changed well before a tough stretch otherwise they simply refuse to shift.
3. I need to work out more and with more consistency.
4. A track should be such chosen that there are ample straight, downhill and uphill patches in turn, not just uphill.
5. I now have a new found respect for Tour D’ France riders for managing uphill so easily.
Anyhow I rode 23 kms, 17 of which were continuos uphill. Not bad at all. and if it was not for the time, I might have completed all the way to Jageshwar.
All in all it was a humbling experience and a welcome break after nerve wrecking CAT experience.I now crave a Trek 3700 bike which looked so swanky in the showroom.Once I lay my hands to it, I will venture out again. Many crazy stretches await me.
Some snaps from the trip :