For much of the cyclothon riding conditions were excellent. The NH48 was wonderful and the weather favourable. Towards the later end of the ride in Rajasthan, daily riding distances increased and the conditions after 10.30 am were quite hot and tiring.
Cycling in Tamilnadu and for most of Karnataka along NH48 was a cyclists delight. I clocked average speeds of around 24kms/hour comfortably. A short stretch from Krishnagiri to Hosur was a bit of a challenge due to the ascent but this was quite doable.
The road condition deteriorated in Maharashtra as there were several stretches with repairs and maintenance in progress and rough surface conditions. Road conditions deteriorated even further as we approached Himmatnagar in Gujarat and all the way to Udaipur.
The road to Udaipur from Shamlaji was under major repairs and road widening with the road reducing to double and even single lane for extended distances. On the advice of the HelpAge team and my Xerox colleagues we decided to stop cycling on this stretch and clamber on to the support vehicle as the road and heavy vehicular traffic conditions had an element of risk.
Just as we entered Udaipur I didn’t see a bank of rumblers, lost control of the cycle and took a fall. I suffered bruising on both legs just below the knees but with quick attention by the HelpAge Mobile Medical Unit staff and a tetanus shot I was back on the cycle very quickly. This was the only mishap minor as it was for the entire cyclothon. In fact I didn’t have even a single tube puncture. The poor road surface after Jaipur led to a minor tear of the tyre requiring a change.
After Anand en-route to Ahmedabad I developed the dreaded saddle sores. I had to take a great deal of care to ensure that blistering and infections did not take place as this would have made it nearly impossible to cycle. I used Neopsprin cream to avoid infection and aloe vera gel to prevent further deterioration when cycling. Thankfully the situation did not go out of hand although I had to cycle with a fair amount of difficulty for the last 1000 plus kms.
I needed to make a tactical change in the daily cycling plan once we entered Rajasthan. This was because daily rides increased to 80 and 100 kms every day and the hot sunny conditions after 10.30 am. I resorted to riding 30 kms stretches before taking breaks for hydration and stretching and then tapering it of to the shorter 10 km breaks later in the day. I also cut down the leisurely breakfast breaks we used to have in the early part of the cyclothon. This ensured that I completed the days ride by abut 11.30 am each day before the scotching sun could take its toll.
In the early phases of the cyclothon I took 10 kms breaks for hydration and stretching and a longish breakfast break.
Stretching all through the ride at regular intervals and after I stopped for the day ensured minimal muscle fatigue and soreness.