LBO is at Mysuru sharing all the live action of the Epic Indian Tour – Tour of Nilgiris (TFN) 11th Edition. TFN is back this time, much bigger with a tougher route where riders will be pedalling through the challenging terrain across the three south Indian states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. With 110 riders including 29 international riders from across 13 countries, TFN is all set to begin. Here’s a lowdown of all the action we saw on the first few days of the tour.
Mysuru to Hassan
After the pre-tour briefing, the riders reached Mysore on the 8th evening. While riders checked in to their rooms to rest it out, volunteers and organisers were hustling around to prep for big day ahead. Day 1 started with morning shenanigans for the flag-off. This year the flag off was from Hotel Rio Meridian in the palace city of Mysuru, famous for its illustrious history. It was flagged off by Dr.Subramanyeswara Rao, Commissioner of Police, Mysuru and Alexi Grewal, first American (of Indian descent) to win an Olympic gold medal in road cycling in 1984 summer Olympics. With an easy start to the tour, riding through the beautiful and wide roads of Mysuru, with great weather, and sights of fresh flowers and veggie markets along the way. The route covered up to 125 kms, winding through small towns and national highways of the state.
Hassan to Kushalnagar
The route from Hassan to Kushalnagar was a first for the tour. It was a misty morning and the riders started off with a fresh start, their excitement motivation enough to keep pushing them through the climb ahead. The ride elevated within hours of inception and got every rider pushing their limits. With rolling terrains and cat 3 climb over 143 kms, the riders had a tough time. Groaning, panting, sweating – the riders peddled or walked their cycles but made it through the final point. Tyres were punctured, handle bars twisted from falls, scrapes and bruises were earned along the way but they peddled on. But, as they say ‘all’s well that ends well.’ As Day 2 came to an end, the roads got gentler and downhill with fresh flowers and quaint homes amidst the coffee plantations of Coorg.
Kushalnagar to Sultan Bathery
The ride just gets tougher each day. Covering up to 145 km, the riders entered God’s own country – Kerala. Pedalling through undulating terrains, with coffee plantations on the slopes and paddy fields on the plains, the riders even rode through Tholpetty forest a part of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Some lucky riders might have sighted spotted deers or giant Malabar squirrels as well. This one was the longest of the rides till today.
Bumps and steeps for a long stretch got the riders going bonkers. Although the riders got their dose of gratification by savouring some piping hot unniappams and black tea at the famous Kuttetan’s Unniappam Stall which lies in the middle of the jungle.