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|22nd April 2012, 13:53||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Thanked: 40 Times
KTMC 6A - Riding to Valparai, Athirampally
KTMC, Kovai thumber motocycling club, is a riding club based in Coimbatore. They had organized their 6th anniversary in valparai (day 1) and in athirampally (day 2). Me and my fellow member of Madbulls joined in for some fun. I am posting a blog of my fellow rider Mr.David as it summarizes everything the ride was about. I had travelled in my car as my bike is yet to be run in after the rebuilt following the engine seizure during the ride to Rider mania 2012. Hope you guys read and enjoy it. Cheers.
It was that time of the year when the sun shines bright, leaves on a tree fade as the light and sitting at home during the hot afternoons sounds most sensible. But it was also that time of the year when KTMC has their anniversary ride and given the most exotic location chosen, it was not a ride to be missed.
The party was set for 2 nights, each at a different venue! The idea sounded brilliant, the location - exotic, the feeling of riding out with the boys after ages and most importantly- the excitement of pure biker fun. There was already a 100 odd registrations and finding accommodation was going to be a challenge, but that was not something we were really worried about.
Over the years, long distance biking for me had come down, but the night shift working style had not. Back home for a quick shower and prayer, it was great to be back on the dark roads of Chennai towards Le Meridian. We were a group of 6 and we were soon thumping away.
The first 100 odd kms is the key to any ride and this one was no different. Stopped for chai barely outside tambaram to figure out that we had to split the group into two. Once done, it was all about sitting well on the saddle, open up throttle and riding away. The night chill added to the adrenaline that was pumping away inside our bodies. Visibility was coming down drastically and from dark, darker roads, we moved up to the darkest segment of the highway. Taking that nice curve by Mamandur at pitch dark conditions was a trip in itself. Things got worse as we crossed ulunderpet and villupuram where the fields and roads were wrapped in thick fog.
The sun was rising and it was brilliant to see the red ball of fire become brighter with every minute. As we covered miles ahead, the fog made way for the sun. It wasnít getting too hot, at least not yet. We were steadily eating up the miles and hunger at some corner was digging in as well. Of all the road side food joints we saw along the highway, the place that Shantanu stopped took me by surprise. It was by a bus-stand, where a old woman was making idli's.. At first, it looked like an " idli special " joint, but then figured that the actual shop was a few feet away. The food was fresh, piping hot and very different in its own way.
Stomach happy, we were soon crossing trichy and through the narrow trichy- dindigul highway, into the dreaded 4 lane monotony. No shade, no shelter, but just plain bland roads saw the needle waver between the 90 - 100 km/hr all the way... Met up with couple of other riders who had stopped for some chai and we were soon yakking away.
At the stroke of noon, we still had about 300 + kms to go and the 4 lane monotony was not helping anything! But it was still a load of fun riding together and coming up with the occasional funny expressions as each of us tried our way in cooling our aching butts.
Some more village roads, some more of the strange stares from villagers and soon we were working our way towards Pollachi. These town/village roads are so very good sometimes, that you donít bother to reduce throttle at all. We catch up with the rest of the group, about 10 odd bikers who partied the night away at Trichy and find out they have a totally different route chartered that would get us to Valparai through interior roads. 15 + bullets riding away through narrow roads is something to see. 15 + bullets roaring at high speeds is something to gawk at and quite a few did !
At the foothills of Valparai, by Aliyar dam is where our stomachs reminded us of their existence again. Fresh cut watermelons, Tender coconut and Ice cream was quite sumptuous for our stomachs while it was more than sumptuous for the vendors selling them to us.
The 40 odd hair pins that followed took away any sleep or hunger one must have felt. Ghat roads awaken the part of you that wants to take those sweeping turns, those sideliner burns and footpeg scrapes. It was fun, scary and also makes you respect the rubber on the roads.
KTMC's anniversary parties are truly in raw biker style. There isnít glam, there isnít any show, but if you are a biker and you love the brotherhood - this is it ! The first night party saw a lot of interactions between various clubs. We had the roaring riders, Bulls of shimoga, Bulls of mysore, madras bulls and our hosts, KTMC. Meeting up like minded folks was nice, sharing ride stories and lighting the night away was the only agenda in mind.
Tired and wired, we finally got back to our rooms past midnight. For Shantanu and me, it was 36 + hours without sleep and it was time we got some.
Morning glory, nice and shiny, we were up at a decent time and had to get set for our next segment of the event. The roads from Valparai to Chalakudy in kerala pass through very very neat ghat roads, sexy and risky in their own way, but definitely gives you a slice of biking heaven.
As you leave Tamil nadu's borders and enter Kerala roads, the breeze changes, the greenery changes and the roads reflect some changes too. Kerala police is very strict about plastic, alcohol and any other substance in their forest routes, and we had to declare if we had any at a checkpost. Once that formality was done we were speeding away only to be stopped by a few cops on the way. At first we thought this as another check point until one of them said " can you give us a lift". Though we were in a hurry, we still had that sly grin on our faces as they hopped on to our bikes... A mild grip on the shoulder soon changed to a nice hard massage as we were flying across the ghats. The roads soon got all patchy and we slowed down but the happiest of the lot were the cops.
Dropping them off, it was just the 3 of us riding away and we were back to good speeds and brilliant corners. The roads changed from better to awesome as the terrain took us through the sholayar dam, Vazhachal and athirampally. This is where Kerala roads are at its best. Super grip on the rubber, phenomenal turn angles and tons and tons of foot peg scraping left all of us gleeing away. For the group that drove in, it was envy all the way for us riding our bikes.
Challenger 1 is a quaint little adventure camp that is set after Athirampally. It is set about 100 odd feet above the road level and the climb to it itself is a challenge. The view from the camp is phenomenal and can leave you breathless. One can view the snaking roads below, a river running down on the left and dense forest on the right. If we felt the first night's location was exotic this one was orgasmic.
A quick bath in the river next to the camp rejuvenated everyone until the cops got there! Apparently, 50 + folks along with many a goody can was not something they are used to seeing. But as we see it, all this happens to be part of the entire experience as we were laughing our way out of the place.
As the sun came down in the valley, the weather chilled down as well. Playing with the torch I carried to the venue, it was interesting to see reply flashes of light from within the dense forest ahead of us. I guess the forest patrol was responding to what they thought was a police signal. It was exciting to keep sending out signals at the same time, that jittery feeling of facing the cops again.
The party had started, the OH levels were on a high, we contributed to global warming and before you know it, the clock moved past midnight. There was no signs of any spirit running low and Dosai's Bolero became the make shift DJ console, while Jothi was dancing the night away.
Sleeping in the dorms was out of question, it was blazing hot and the next thing you know, all the mattresses were out the door and on the grass. It was one of them phenomenon up in the sky where one could see Jupiter, the moon and Venus at the same time. Lying on the grass, feeling the cool breeze blow by, the view of the twinkling stars above you all sums up to that small word called heave. To a biker, that is the best way to sleep a way to feel free, a way to feel in tune with nature.
Another morning, another journey this time homeward bound. More ghats, more chai and then plain straight roads all the way. Some parts are not made 4 lanes yet and the dog fights on these roads are sharpness at its best. Overtaking becomes exciting. the adrenaline is always pumping.. and you stay alert all the way.
Palakkad flew by, coimbatore flew by, Salem saw us stop for chai, another set of bad roads via Attur and then back on the 4 lane. As our aching butts cursed the living daylight out of us, we were pretty much close to home and that made us ride harder. We were soon at Tambaram saying our goodbyes.
This ride was brilliant, brought back memories, inspired to ride more and rekindled the passion to get out there and live life!! As one passer by commented about us ' you guys are feeling the life you live", it definitely feels alive to be out there and doing what we are doing!
Thank God for his immense grace to each one of us on this ride. For many of the old timers - this ride was awakening in many ways and it was pure grace that brought each one of us back home safe!
|23rd April 2012, 15:03||#3|
Join Date: Jan 2011
Thanked: 9 Times
Re: KTMC 6A - Riding to Valparai, Athirampally
Dr., Your earlier travelogue of your ride to RM12 was very interesting !
BTW, I am a member of KTMC and missed the fun of 6A. Read this travelogue by David in the group mail and could imagine the fun and excitement during the 6A.
Looking forward to meet KTMC guys and you Madbulls this weekend during 10th Anniversary !!
Happy Thumping !
|24th April 2012, 19:55||#4|
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Thanked: 208 Times
Re: KTMC 6A - Riding to Valparai, Athirampally
the road from athirapilly in the kerala side to Sholayar valparai used to be a broken pathetic track some one year ago.
The roads on the tamilnadu side was in starking contrast of this and was one of the best ghat roads like the poopara theni road.
Are the roads in the kerala side still bad and what would be your take on taking cars to this area ?
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