On the 28th of February 2016, the coastal city of Mangalore saw an unprecedented cycling event Karavali 200km brevet, in which 31 cyclists bracing against the heat & humid conditions, pedaled the total brevet distance of 200.5km from Mangalore to Koteshwara and returned with a big smile on their face and a tag “Im a Randonneur”.
The first brevet event of the season was flagged off by the Superintendent of Police, Mangalore Division, Dr. S D Sharanappa, who had arrived at the venue as early as 5.15am. With his encouraging words, the first lot of 21 riders left the start point 5.30am and the rest 10, after 15 minutes which was flagged off by our own veteran and ardent cyclist Mr. Ashoka Vardhana. The Superintendent of Police, Udupi Division Mr. Annamalai rode his bicycle all the way from Udupi to Koteshwara just to receive the riders and spend time with each of them. The police on the crucial road intersections and junctions along the entire route ensured the safe passage for riders. Mesmerized with the view of 31 riders moving in a disciplined way, bystanders, fishermen, kids and the entire community itself forgot their Sunday routine, and lined up to cheer each rider. The boatmen were courteous enough to ferry the riders & their bikes across a small section in the Padukere-Malpe stretch, in quick turnaround time.
This event was unique in many ways, as most of the riders were taking part in the Karavali brevet for the first time. The 200km route took the riders through the rolling terrain of Mangalore, the beautifully laid fresh tarmac on NH 66, the calm, refreshing, clean and no traffic zone roads along the Arabian coast, the boat ride, winding interior roads covered with coconut trees etc. all. Apart from the mesmerizing coastal route, the participants also enjoyed the sumptuous food along the route but not to forget, it was also a day of hardship for majority of the riders, who had developed cramps, muscle pull, minor fall, multiple tube punctures etc. In the end it was the support, the encouragement and the motivations that made each and every rider to finish in style. The senior riders in the group ensured that no one was left behind and pushed every rider beyond their limits to cross the finish line. The volunteers at the start point, check points, turning point and finish point ensured that the brevet rules are implemented threadbare, and at the same time each rider was comfortable all along until everyone finished the ride.
In the end it was 31/31, as every rider finished the brevet within the cutoff time of 13.5Hrs. The first ones to cross the finish line were Master Ashwin D’Silva and Krishna Kumar and the last one was Mr. HK Maheshwari for whom it was just at the nick of time. It is commendable that 2 lady cyclists Ms. Nithya Bhat and Ms. Parul Javiya, bracing against all odds finished the brevet well ahead of many boys.
The Karavali 200km brevet goes down in the history of cycling in Mangalore as the first brevet in Mangalore with 100% success.