An uphill ride to Yercaud

An uphill ride to Yercaud

It was just five weeks remaining before we started on our 'Tour of Nilgiris 10th Edition' on our bicycles. This is a 900-km-ride through some of the best scenic spots in South India.

My friend Ram and I were running behind in our training with work commitment during the week and unbearable traffic on Nandi Hills during the weekend, so we needed to get some long climb training done in peace. We decided to climb Yercaud nonstop on our bicycles.  

We left after work on Friday and stayed overnight at my place near Hosur, We rode about 50 km in the morning through some pristine villages around Shoolagiri that morning.

After lunch, we loaded the bikes in the car, and drove to Salem, the town at the base of Yercaud. We prepped our bikes for the ride next morning, discussed the plan over drinks and dinner and hit the bed.

There are two roads to Yercaud, one is the usual route from Salem, which I have never done before, the other is via Kuppanur forest. It was decided that we will do the usual route and back. We woke up early, and got out riding since it was too early for the hotel to start serving breakfast. We stopped for tea and had some good boiler tea, which is popular in Tamil Nadu.

We rode along and stopped at the base of the hill to have some steaming hot 'idlis' for breakfast. We filled our water bottles, then started climbing the 20-km-long steady ghat road to Yercaud.

 

My goal was to do it non-stop without putting our foot down, so I took it easy in the beginning to gauge my energy levels and slowly upped the pace and finished the ride in one hour and 45 minutes.
As you enter Yercaud, you are greeted by the pristine lake that you can go boating on. We rode on to the Shevroys Hotel for a second breakfast (yes, we ride to eat) and some juice,took some pictures and started riding back.

 

 

Coming down hill was something I always looked forward to, but this time it was going to be different. It was going to be our first long downhill ride on carbon wheelsets, and we had to unlearn the habits of feathering the brakes and learn how to grab the brakes and leaving them along for sufficient cool down time.

 

We took plenty of breaks coming down the hill to take some pictures and had some organic soup at the base of the mountain. This is a must-try place that is about 100 m before the point where the climb starts.  We rode on and completed the ride in Salem, had some lovely South Indian lunch, and drove back to Bengaluru.

 

We would probably go back there once again later this month and climb from the Kuppanur forest side, which is a bit more steeper and harder.
(The author can be contacted at sivasain@yahoo.com)

 

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