The next morning post breakfast, 30 riders set off to cover the 57 km of Munaar consisting of three downhill’s and two uphills. Having conquered the Kalhatty, Valparai & Munnar, It was said that the route offered a relaxed ride to end the awesomeness as you bask in the tranquility of the rivers, waterfalls and the never ending greenery. If any of you guys did get lucky, you must have spotted several threatened and endemic species such as the Nilgiri Thar, the Grizzled Giant Squirrel, the Nilgiri Wood-pigeon, Elephants, the Gaur, the Nilgiri langur, the Sambar, and the Neelakurinji (blossoms once in twelve years).
With the ride starting off with a downhill life seemed quite easy, but as they moved towards the belly of the route the fun downhill got serious. The terrain started getting rough and the downhills got steeper with narrow road allowing just one vehicle to pass. With the downhill, the hairpin loops made it even tough to hold the line heating up the rims that caused flats and minor falls. Even Nils the champion stated that, “This is horrible, my rims are getting extremely hot and it’s difficult to hold the line with the hairpin loops”. Nils and few others had to change their inner tubes due to flat. To avoid mishaps, some of the riders rode holding their brakes all the way to the belly. As we hit the belly of the route it flattened out and gradually started moving upwards. The riders had a tough time after day 7’s agony as the terrain managed to shake all their organs. The much expected leisure ride or what they though was a recovery ride, made their tired minds push as some even gave up. As we crossed support station 1 there was no rider to be seen as some were still crawling towards it or were on their way to station 2. On reaching support station 2 we saw the Dutchmen hydrating and munching on some Chicki. Thijs one of the Dutch was facing some issues with his left knee. As he had plans of running a marathon in Holland, he decided to call it an off and join us in our car to the hotel.
On our way we had a good chat about the cycling culture in Holland compared to India. We also spoke about recovery, nutrition and the Tour of Nilgiris. “Thijs de Blaeij” tells us that, this was his first tour on a bicycle, unlike the other Dutchmen who have been cycling for the past 15 years. He also tells us that, India is the most beautiful country he’s ever been too and would love to visit again. The food and the greenery around are very pleasant as Holland situated below sea level has only flats. We were surprised to know that “The Khallati” was the first mountain Thijs has every climbed. As we stopped to click pictures of the riders passing by, Thijs was all excited as he barely got off the saddle to click the scenic view around.
- Under 35 Men’s category
- Nils Eigil Bradtberg (winner of TfN 2013, 2014)
- Dipankar Paul (Ironman)
- Walter De Kok
- Men’s Masters
- Vivek Radhakrishnan
- Shankar Jayaraman
- Venkateswara Rao Navanasi
- Womens Category
- Vicki Nicholson
- Namu Kini
- Hemal Shah
Read about the rest of the tour:
- Montra Tour of Nilgiris Day 1 – Speedway
- Montra Tour of Nilgiris Day 2 – The Wall
- Montra Tour of Nilgiris Day 3 – Beauty and the Beast
- Montra Tour of Nilgiris Day 4 – Down
- Montra Tour of Nilgiris Day 6 – Curvezzz
- Montra Tour of Nilgiris Day 7 Its all Down
We will also be posting an excerpt about the tour along with the detailed race results soon.
Courtesy: RAY Photography