Ghat Classic 200 km Monsoon Brevet
By Sarvesha Samaga
Titled 'Ghat Classic 200 km Monsoon Brevet', the riders rode through the challenging & rolling terrain of the region, culminating at the top of Charmadi Ghat at Kottigehara, before climbing one of the highest category climbs of the region that gains an elevation of approximately 973 m within a distance of 24 km.
As the route offered various challenges, only die-hard cyclists, familiar with climbing skills & regular practice had registered for the event. Out of 14 registrations, 7 riders turned up for the flag off at 6.00am. Riders with their rain jackets on & mandatory kits, started pedalling with a hope to enjoy, suffer and complete the Brevet within the cut off time of 13.5hrs. 50 km into the ride, one of the riders, Krishna Kumar had a major crash which broke his derailleur hanger and forced him to back out from the event. Luckily, KK survived the crash with minor bruises.
4 hours from flag off, the riders covered 75 km reaching the Charmadi base. It took almost 3 hours for the rest of the riders to cover 25 km uphill road until Kottigehara, not before battling the rains, thick fog, poor visibility, incoming traffic, correcting multiple punctures, mechanical problems etc. In the end, volunteers received each rider and signed off the Brevet Card at the top, signalling the return journey.
After quick lunch, all the riders left Kottigehara. The chilly winds, relentless rain and heavy headwind made riders to pedal hard even in the downhill sections. All the riders descended carefully when another rider Ashwath Rasquinha opted out of the Brevet as he didn’t want to push too hard to reach Mangalore, which was 75 km away. Other riders, Ashok Lobo, Brijesh Balakrishnan, Samarth Rai, Shyamprasad Nayak & Sarvesha Samaga continued and completed the ride safely and well before the cut off time, taking breaks midway.
All in all, the riders covered a total distance of 208 km with a whopping elevation gain of 4150 m burning close to 6545 calories. Brijesh Balakrishnan, after completing the ride commented, "this brevet, which incidentally coincided with the stage 9, the mountain stage of the ongoing Tour de France cycle event was equally tough, challenging & exciting for all those riders who took part".