I often faced disappointing situations in my school examinations, when questions asked out of syllabus or out of my preparation. However, I could find out the way to overcome from that situation instead getting frustrated. Life is really full of surprises and we have to be prepared to face that. Similar surprise, I had during my recent BRM. Last Sunday, I have completed one of the toughest BRM of Gujarat, where route was from Himmatnagar – POLO Forest – Shamalaji – Rishabhdev – Himmatnagar covering 300 Km distance. Cumulative elevation gain was above 4000 Mt with stiff climbs, sharp curves and rolling terrains.
BRM (Brevet des Randonneurs Mondiaux.) is one of cycling format, where long-distance are required to cover by free-paced cycling. Each rider can ride at his/ her own pace. The BRMs are 200-, 300-, 400-, 600-, or 1000- kilometer long. A brevet is not a race but It’s a challenge, where there is no ranking, rather all finishers are equal. The term ‘’Randonneurs’’ are called as cycle-tourists, and term ‘brevet’ designates the certificate issued to the rider who has ridden successfully the event. Randonneurs are really ‘crazy people riding for a piece of paper’.
The rules require to ride the brevets in a specific time limit. therefore, rider don’t have much down time and he/ she must ride at night… with a reflective vest, front and tail lights having sufficient power storage capacity. Riders are self-reliant (they don’t have a support vehicle).
Knowingly, I started arranging accessories for BRM before a week. I ordered spare Front and Back light as a contingency plan. I received them just one day before BRM date and I did not get time to try it. Disappointment started, when I noticed front light’s clamp is lesser in size than handle bar size. I tried to fix it up with longer screw but finally it got damaged. Even though, I could fix the light correctly. One has rightly said that “Don’t try something new on the day of event.”
Tail light has laser and blink effect as combined features. Before starting ride, someone informed me that I should switched off laser light to save battery life. It made me realized that, I can’t use it efficiently. Tail light work on power cell, so I kept extra cells with me as a contingency. I used both lights maximum for one hour in the morning and ensured switching off them to conserve battery. Here, I made one more mistake. I switched off tail light and forget to remove power cells without realizing that power cell can get discharged.
I rode with Satyen Kanabar, Pinky Jha, Dhaval Champaneri and Khushali Purohit up to first check point. Vivek Shah and Tapan Parmar presence surprised me. Both were supporting to PInky Jha during dark hour ride with special permission. Road conditions were very bad from Himmatnagar to Idar. We literally finding small smooth patch within the long rough road. First stop was at Sharneshwar Tample at 70 Km.
Second stage of ride was approaching Polo forest. Wonderful route having good conditioned roads surrounded by trees, shrubs, farms, dam, water fall and river……..Riding under shades of tree by hearing birds cheering for us was an awesome experience. I rode with Satyen Kanabar and Amit Telluja passing through Vijay Nagar, Chithoda and Biloda having soft climbs and graceful downs. Finally, we reached to second check point at Ratanpur very fast by riding at highest speed 30 Km/ Hr. We did not take rest and started to next control point at 200 Km.
Route between Ratanpur to Rishabhdev was tough, where stiff up-hills were followed by gentle down- hills. I was little tired and really wanted to take rest and hoping for good place as next control point, where I can rest and stretch body followed by power nap. It was huge disappointment when we reached at Rishabhdev control point. It was just a road side Egg stall without any sitting arrangement. Even, I had to managed with curd since I do not eat non-veg food. We started riding to finish line without spending much time at control point since. we wanted to cover maximum distance before sunset. My disappointment started multiplying and ride becoming more challenging. Still 100 Km to distance to be covered in dark hours with tail wind in chilled weather.
Me and Satyen Kanabar were riding together for rest of the distance, since we do prefer to ride in a group specifically in dark hours. Ride between Lights again started, when I switched ON lights just before sunset and put on my reflective vest for safe ride. I noticed that power cell of tail light got discharged. I tried to replace cell but I could not do it since I did not know fixing arrangement. I fixed another tail light and started riding further. Satyen’s front light started discharging at 235 Km and he borrowed my spare light to him till he charge his light. Surprisingly, I noticed my front light getting discharged at 250 Km. Now there was no any option left but to ride together under one light. We rode preciously back to back till next coffee break. On the way, my front light came out from damaged clamp and fall somewhere on the road. Satyen’s light got fully charged at 275 Km and we both started riding with our own front light. Ride between Shamlaji to Himmatnagar was superb and easy ride under tail wind. Finally, we reached at finish line at 11 PM. We finished 300 Km ride in 17 hours comfortably.
BRM is one of the platform, where we can interact with new friends. Two new friends are added in my list. Amit Telluja and Khushali Purohit, both are wonderful riders. The biggest learning from ride was ‘’arranging lights.’’ I will plan that perfectly in upcoming BRM 400 (Ahmedabad – Kutchh – Ahmedabad).