From the palace city of Mysuru to the misty mountains of Suntikoppa in Kushalnagar, the riders have
experienced a glimpse of the 950kms that they will be covering during the 11 th edition of the Tour of
Nilgiris. Here’s a lowdown on all that ensued during the first two days of the tour.
In the morning at about 7am, the tour was flagged off from Rio Meridian hotel by
Dr.Subramanyeswara Rao, Commissioner of Police, Mysuru and Alexi Grewal, first American (of
Indian descent) to win an Olympic gold medal in road cycling in 1984 summer Olympics. The inviting
roads of Mysuru, with fresh flower and veggie markets set the pace for the scenic ride through the
city and out into the winding valleys of paddy fields on Day 1 of the tour. Cyclists on Day 1 covered
125 kms to reach Hassan, riding through K R Nagar, Holenarasipura, mostly flat roads along the
national highway. With weather on our side in the morning, the pedal pushers managed to cover
good mileage and were at SS1 in good time.
The first competitive section saw some great timing results, with a 15km challenge of rolling hills,
riders had to zoom past the roads; albeit an obstacle course through vehicular and cattle traffic.
Katja-Lill Jensen and Nils Eigil Bradtberg won the Day 1 of the competitive section in the women’s
and men’s categories respectively. Kris Guns in the masters and Paul Stuart Wright from the
veterans took the jersey home.
Support Stations saw a frenzy of riders filling up on their dose of Enerzal and Aquarius Glucocharge.
All charged up with the best energy drinks, they indulged in some of the favourite sundried honey
banana snack treats as well. A lot of the riders made sure to check in with Dr.Dhananjey from
Spectrum Physio and the medical experts from Sita Bhateja Hospital before they set out for the next
leg of their ride.
After a super fresh and light lunch in the grounds of a quaint primary school, the riders were off to
head further towards the final stop for the day at Hassan. This stretch got a bit tricky, what with the
highway being stretched into an eight lane, construction rubble along the way caused quite a few
punctures. But at the end of the day, reaching the Hotel Southern Star, and resting after a hot
shower and dinner, the riders were all out and about, exchanging notes from the first ride of the
While the riders had challenges of their own, organisers and volunteers were rushing about making
sure everything fell in place during the day. From the markers who started out as early as 3am to the
support station and sweep crew who stayed back till the last rider came in. The hospitality crew did a
superb job of receiving riders and catering to their requests.
Day 2 Tour of Nilgiris – From Hassan to Kushalangar
After an overnight stay at Hassan, on Day 2, riders took off towards Kushalnagar over a course
of 143kms. An early wakeup call of 5am followed a hearty breakfast of uttapams, eggs and
steaming idlis and chatni – a much needed hearty meal to help them ace the long winding roads
After the tour director briefing, riders were flagged off from Southern Star Hotel and started
their climb towards SS1. The fog was so thick in the air that riders had to be led by the lead
bikers for their safety and security. Thankfully, the fog lifted after a few kilometres and riders
just had to focus on pushing, one pedal at a time on the rolling hills ahead.
This route took them through some beautiful coffee and pepper plantations and you could see
that happy expression on their face, that feeling of zen as they rode through the gorgeous
landscape. Cycling along the winding roads of Coorg, with the wind in your hair, breathing in the
fresh mountain air can calm spirits like no other. And this helped each and every rider to push
on through the steep inclines waiting for them after each bend in the road.
A couple of riders suffered minor injuries, mostly while breaking too hard or not breaking at all,
while coming down the steep slopes. But the Sita Bhateja team had their medical aid and
ambulance ready on the go and the bike mechanics were quick to service riders
and their bikes and get them back on the saddle in no time.
With the Competitive Section of Day 2 over a course of 11 kms of steep slopes, it was amazing to
see the riders zoom across, tyres wooshing, pedals flying. Everyone sure is waiting for the
results wait baited-breath. A much deserved, hearty lunch awaited the riders, with a special
treat of roasted rice rotis; it sure was the highlight of the day.
As the climbs became steeper, the landscape got more scenic and riders could feel it in their
bones that they are just a few kilometres away from reaching their final destination for the day,
the gorgeous Purple Palms Hotel, Coorg.