Negotiating a tough terrain

Negotiating a tough terrain

Negotiating a tough terrain
Bengaluru-based biker Balaji Mohan struck gold after becoming the fastest rider to complete the ‘Golden Quadrilateral Expedition in Motorcycle’, which involved riding 5,958 kms in 89 hours. A lawyer by profession, Balaji says the expedition not only required an extensive amount of mental preparation but also hard work to build his physical strength. He shares with Nina C George his experiences of the ride.

Why did you choose this particular route?
The Golden Quadrilateral Highway is the fifth largest highway in the world; the ‘Fastest Golden Quadrilateral Expedition’ route is pre-defined by the Limca Book of Records. The highway network connects many of the major cities across the country. A quadrilateral of sorts is formed by connecting Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai, and hence the name. Other cities also connected by this network are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Kanpur, Pune, Surat, Nellore, Guntur, Vijayawada, and Visakhapatnam. It’s one of the toughest expeditions and the challenges were immense.  

What was the preparation involved for this ride?
I started working on all the aspects, including diet and altering my workout regime in advance. I began by controlling my diet, eating smaller meals 3 weeks prior to the ride. This helped control my appetite and switch to a fluid diet. This was done to help me beat the heat in the Golden Quadrilateral circuit. I used to walk 3 to 4 kms in the afternoon, just so that I get used to the scorching sun. I also included a lot of stretching in my exercises.

What was your first reaction when you set a record?  
The previous record for the ‘Fastest Golden Quadrilateral Expedition’ was 92 hours 31 minutes. I was sure that I would complete well before the previous record time but I didn’t want to be sure until I completed the ride. On the finish line, all my friends were there to receive me. I was thrilled to finish the ride in 89 hours continuously with only 5 hours and 30 minutes of sleep.

What were some of the risks involved?
Any rider must be extremely disciplined and focussed when embarking on such a ride. This eliminates almost 90% of the risks. There are a few rules that I follow while riding. I follow hand signals to let the vehicle behind or ahead of me know about my movements. This helps me switch lanes smoothly. Ridding through Jharkhand and Bihar, where people don’t respect any traffic rules, was indeed a challenge. I remained extremely focussed. The speed breakers without any signs on the highway was another problem. I had to be doubly alert to watch out for bad roads and cattle crossing at the most unexpected times in areas around Bihar. This was risky.

How do you find time to go on these expeditions? ​
I make a clear distinction between my profession and my passion. I don’t mix the 2 and devote an equal amount of time to both. The company that I work for has been really supportive in giving me enough time to chase my passion.

What next?
I am planning to ride from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari in July, to break the current record in the Limca Book of Records of the ‘Fastest North South Expedition in Motorcycle’. The current record is 78 hours (3,850 kms) from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu). I hope to break that record.  

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