When Vijay asked me in October last year if I’d like to join the GK Bikers cycling expedition, I willingly agreed ,never for a moment sure if I could ever complete an endurance ride of this magnitude ,yet willing to participate. The expedition was to set off from Barmer in Rajasthan on the 13th Feb 2011, cycle all day to Munnabao, then cycle the next day to Myajlar and finally on the 3rd day cycle on to Jaisalmer .The total ride was a distance of 300 kms to be completed in 3 days .Daunting it seemed but I was game for it .After all, it wasn’t the back breaking Manali –Leh circuit!!
I started training in right earnest , though the arrival of Shirish ,Corinna and her parents for three weeks in November meant that I could really get off the mark only from the last week of November .Training tips from a useful web site training4cyclist.com helped quite a bit .A combination of endurance and interval training seemed the right thing to do ; so I set up a schedule mixing brisk walking with cycling six days a week .I couldn’t manage to do too much of interval training but did put in quite a bit of effort into increasing endurance.
I steadily increased the duration of cycling at one go from 30 kms to 40 .Then 50 , 60 ,70 and finally approx 80 kms in 4 1/2 hours, a week before we were to set off on the expedition. As I kept increasing the distance I could see that the degree of fatigue after the ride was reducing and post ride recovery improving; giving me confidence. However I was finding it difficult to ride long distances on consecutive days and I wondered how I would be able to do close to 100 kms each day for three days consecutively!!
Vijay had laid out an elaborate list of things to be carried for self sufficiency .There was a likely hood that we may need to sleep in tents at Munnabao and Myajlar and Vijay advised me to purchase a sleeping bag and a two man tent .We managed to get an appropriate sleeping bag but tents were not readily available .I could have procured one from Decathlon in B’lore with Vinoth’s help but we didn’t need it, as we came to know that army barracks would be available to spend the night at these two locations !!
Vijay’s list included a spade for out door bowel clearance (!!) a mug, clothes line and pegs and what not .Also included was a whistle to raise an alarm and a stout stick to chase away dogs!! There were a few useful accessories for the cycle that Vijay made me buy , including a speedometer , front & rear lights and two spare tubes .These really came in handy as I had two punctures on the expedition.
Then came news from Vijay , that a couple of seasoned rides had made a 160 km ride in Rajasthan a few days earlier and faced hot weather and strong head winds making cycling difficult and exhausting even for such strong riders! This gave some of us the jitters and the task ahead seemed even more daunting.
They say that the most satisfying experience in such expeditions is the preparation .So very true. I diligently worked at it in spite of the cold weather being careful not to over do it and cause damage to the body .I bad & running stomach was a bit of a dampener early in January .But all in all I think my prep was reasonable. Eventually I completed the ride on all three days reasonably creditably .I felt really glad at successfully completing this endurance ride and made a determination to keep the fitness regime going.