Pune Marathon 09' - Get a Life, Run through Streets!

Lately, haven’t been blogging much. Sorry to keep guys waiting! Well, this time around after loads of work, decided to participate in Marathon, for the first time. Though running has always been my favourite but never practiced it seriously. Still just to give it a shot, I registered for 10kms slot and pulled off two friends along with.

Many of you might have heard about the whole mismanagement of the oldest marathon in the country-Pune marathon. Yes, I did observe all that be it registration procedures (no online registrations! :( ), or no direction boards, or be it the marathon jerseys (simply sick baniyans! :( ). I guess most of this was due to lack of marketing and thereby, no major sponsors, so obviously less of glam value! Well, keeping apart all these organizational mismanagement, the event was still well received. Kudos to the Pune citizens and Marathon runners and some corporate participants! :)

Getting back to the day of marathon, i.e the historic 6th of Dec’09, we started off from Alka talkies. Obviously, the great dignitaries(or whatever) including the bollywood star Neha Dhupia were present to inaugurate the event. We started off easy with the hordes of marathon enthusiasts - young kids to marathon veterans, all at same platform vying to complete the marathon. Indeed it was great and different experience to run along with the crowd all together. First and foremost this brings about, the health quotient of the city. I say this with no doubt that Pune has always been and is a budding healthy city with so many enthusiasts bringing in their energies to keep up with moral of the city.
The route was from Tilak road to Jawaharlal Nehru road, then over to MG road reaching Pune cantonment and to Hotel Taj through Bund garden road. Running continuously for 10kms at constant pace may seem like monotonous but the fact that you are running along with the so many enthusiasts of city while hordes of city dwellers cheering across is what makes the event so special apart from the joy of running! Still remember the last patch of 300m, when I sped up to ravishing speeds and what a wonder feeling it was! :) Took less than hour for 10kms, not that bad without practice!
At the end point, you could actually see the crowned faces with utter content. Awesome moment really! :) Couple of omelette makers could be spotted, doing their brisk business, feeding the hungry souls at the site. Well, some not so normal people-handicap person as well completed the whole route on his hand operated vehicle.Cheers to his passion!
No doubt, the energy and passion in the atmosphere was so infectious that makes you feel do more and more and more..... :)

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Pune-Lonavala-Pune 160km cycle on run...

Been to Lonavala countless number of times...!! But ever been to the the nearest possible hill-station to Pune by longest possible road?? Ever thought of going to such a place on man's first vehicle 'bicycle'!! Well, we the bunch of 9 guys planned for just that!!

It was actually going to be the great meet of PUNE and MUMBAI bikers at the central place i.e Lonavala. The day was 23rd of MAY,Saturday..all geared up to venture out and make the most of weekends, doesn't really matter whats the quotient of heat out there!! Anand, Pankaj, Pankaj p., Salis started off at 3.30 AM from Kharadi chowk. Later, Gagan and I joined over at University. And this time around, we'd the two new comers Irfan and Fakhree joining alongwith.

We had planned to take the countryside route crossing Pirangut, Gothawade, Kolvan, Pawananagar and then along picturesque Pawana lake to Lonavala. Though the route's full of climbs and descends, and longer unlike Old Mumbai-Pune highway, but it's worth going for. It's always an eye-soothing experience to witness the great countryside, when you totally freaked out traversing the treeless, polluted city urban roads daily that too in hot Indian Summers, isn't it?

Taking the route through Bhavdan, we rushed over in the morning.Wanted to chuck in as much as possible before sun basks with its intense glory!! It's really a pleasure riding early mornings, experiencing the cool breeze brushing you around! Reached Lavassa link road junction at around quarter to 7. Beyond that, its the total descend patch, enjoyed thoroughly going down, at the same time encouraging others to captivate on this patch. Further going on, we reached Pirangut. In the meanwhile, couple of Imli(tamarind) trees caught the eye of our great cyclist Pankaj, and then started our fun zone for a while. Going ahead, we missed out the right turn for Gothawade, which is the next hamlet enroute. We'd to do the overrun of about 3-4 kms to get back to the right route. But when you cycle, a missed route or a wrong route all seems to enchant you and nourish your experience everytime, so its always isn't bad enough to get lost. Rather whenever you get lost, you discover new horizons, opportunities and great places to check out !!:) To our respite..the mobile technology assisted us to communicate the message of route across the team. Wonders of Technology!!:) Reached Gothawade and chanced upon branching roads...on inquiring, found both the paths heading towards Lonavala. Took the one heading towards Pavana Dam i.e. left one. Riding easy and smooth, crossed a couple of gentle climbs and chucked up Kolvan.

On the route ahead, we found ourselves again with two choices- 2 roads- one short but steep while another long distance flat route to Lonavala. Challenging ourselves and finding our extremes is something we cyclists are so fond of !! So, no marks for guessing, yeahh..we took the shorter but the steeper route. Four of us were together by then, started our climb with all grit and determination to reach the top. Tree canopy all along the climb , playing hid-n-seek with the hot baking noon sun of summers, offered us much required comfort. After a continuous steep climb of around 3-5 kms, did we resort to fun-zone, a much deserved break pt..(attn Anand, Gagan-chor-police gamzzz...) Going ahead, just before Pawan Dam, we were all treated with a nice slope downwards. Slopes downwards are truly the rewards after every climb upwards for every mountain biker, isn't it ?? With Pawan dam in offset, had loads of foto-capturing, body-fueling(food) sessions...:)) It was 1000 hrs by then, and one can expect the ultimate glorious illuminating nature of our Sun God..:) "But when the need to cycle is unconditional and nourished by unmatching enthusiasm and passion, riding is no pain but all pain is contentment and happiness!!":))

Further reached Lonavala almost at noon. Grabbed up almost anything be with melons, chikkis etc..to suffice our hungry, thirsty souls. Reached Ramakrishana hotel, which really seems to be situated pretty far from where we entered Lonavala...its more coz' of civilizations and crowd that we feel distances are much longer than what they actually are!!:( Had sumptuous food at restaurant there. Well, here's where the historic moment was charted out...that was the great meet of Pune and Mumbai bikers. We were four Pune bikers and five Mumbai bikers creating historic cycle meet, for the first time, I guess !! Loads of discussions all in the web of cycling, cycles, cycling excursions etc..etc......kicked off! Well, in the meanwhile when meet was happening, our great biker Pankaj's(bike) paddle went off, so our bikers Pankaj and Neeraj were further delayed enroute. Well, other two novices left over back midway, anyways kudos to them for completely atleast that much for the first time!!:))

We chilled out a little around....coffee shops etc...Met Salis while starting up for return journey. The journey back Pune was all scripted along Old Mumbai-Pune highway We were supposed to cover around 70 kms of all flat, smooth, tar, polished road, easy, isn't it!!. Well, along this route, you and your bike are devoid of any kind of music tht u might have faced except for just few gradual climbs.:)) Heavy traffic along the road and non-green journey enroute renders not much content really!! :(( Going at average speeds of around 35+ kmph was really awesome though.:) Reached Pimpri-chinchwad are at around 7 or so.

ONE OF THOSE REALLY GREAT JOURNEY WHILE SETTING RECORD FOR MYSELF.....looking at odometer after reaching home...it says "160kms"....WOW I felt!! 160kms in 1 day Pune-Lonavala-Pune on cycle..thats why I believe, "its all about mental blocks, if you crack them, next time its all that very easy!!"

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Journey back to roots...KOKAN on CYCLE !!

Konkan is a region dotted with spectacular beaches, coconut grooves along the western side of Indian peninsula. Had heared a lot about Konkan but never been there before. Discovering Konkan for the first time that too on two power wheels(cycling) was like tasting the very fresh slice of nature

From Murud-Dighi to Hedvi, we visited places like Srivardhan, Hariheshwar, Dapoli, Kelshi, Guhagar, most of these along coastline. Moreover, fabulous konkani food and hospitable locals were the icing on the cake.......................................

Brief outline of the tour:

Day I (32kms):
Pune -(bus)- Murud ..(ferry).. Dighe - Diveagar - Srivardhan
Highlights: Diveagar temple, lost on the virgin beach(cycling on beach)!!

Day II (53kms):
Srivardhan - Harihareshwar - Bagmandle ..(ferry).. Veshvi - Kelshi
Highlights: Harihareshwar temple, Kelshi sanddunes/beach

Day III (60kms):
Kelshi - Anjarle - Dapoli - Ladghar - Kolthare
Highlights: Dapoli-highest point, good climbs to Dapoli, descends to Kolthare, Kolthare beach

Day IV (60kms):
Kolthare - Dabhol fort ..(ferry).. Dhopave - Enron Power plant(Veldur) - Guhagar - Velneshwar temple - Hedvi
Highlights: Velneshwar temple, power plant, Guhagar beach

Well, Konkan cuisines are one to die for, actually we had breakfasts(sometimes twice!), then lunch, some afternoon snacks again, dinner ofcourse. Had loads of fun having local cusine..actually then we anticipating whether to name the rally 'Konkan Food and Cycle rally'

Here comes the Food Facts:
- Soul curry (official welcome drink of Konkan!)-refreshing coconut made drink-Awesome!
- Phanasachi bhajji (jackfruit veggie) ok!
- Dadpe Pohe(pohe with coconut sprinklings) Gud!
- Kolhache Pohe(pohe with kolh(coconut milk) onto it-sweet in taste) Awesome!
- Modak (Sweet Dish off coconut- usually made as prasadam for Ganesha)Gud!
- Kokam sharbat (great drink made of kokam fruit!)Refreshing!

Apart from that, traditionally food is served on fresh bananna leaf. Its simply great to have it!
So, want to pack your bags, head over for a tour to Konkan?? :)

Leaving below is a short movie for you guys, Enjoy and do drop in your comments!

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