With the time advantage in our hand we made good progress and reached the base of the hills at 7.15am. The whole route was foggy and the visibility was very poor. Still the team covered 44kms in 2 hrs 15 mins.
Matheran Hills are touted to be the toughest to climb on a cycle in whole of Maharashtra. The climb is so steep and with non existing flats, it is a cyclists nightmare. Once you get down mid way, you loose the rhythm and it becomes very difficult to hop back and paddle. The group followed the technique to start with gears 1 and 3 (front and back) and later shifted to 1 and 2 and finally 1 and 1.
With a zig zag pattern to climb such hills, a few group members completed the climb in just 1 hour and 8 minutes. At the end, everybody was a winner. The attempt in itself is so unnerving that those who even attempted it are all champions.
The downhill was a breeze and Vinoo ( who along with Pravin had come from Pune) recorded the downhill on his helmet mounted camera.
The Return leg of journey was in scorching sun but nobody was complaining.The thrill of the ghats was the dope which kept all going. But as in any hollywood thriller, there was more to come.
After we parted company with Vinoo and Pravin at the Chowk( they returned back to Pune) we cycled till panvel bypass and took the expressway . Cycles are NOT allowed on the expressway. The board stating the warning was missed by us and before we knew, a team of cops caught us. Working with our typical cyclists charm we could somehow convince them to let us go . We hitched a ride for the last 7 kms in a truck and landed at mcdonalds at 12.45 noonWe sorely missed our UHC core members James Rodrigues and Rajiv Tevtiya . We also missed Sumir Nagar( The true Warrior) , Malvika( the girl on a mission), Rajesh Karia, Sunil kamth, Dr. Sunil Rai( New Entrant to cycling) and all others who would have loved to come but missed out due to some prior commitment.(Please add somebody who I missed to name)
I am taking a small break from Cycling due to personal reasons but would be very active at the back end operations of UHC. I can remember the phrase that i coined when my brand new Trek 4300 was stolen a couple of months back. " You( the thieves) can take my cycle , but not the cyclist in me". So friends, there will be many more such events and I will in the meanwhile catch up with the movie" Where Eagles Dare" just to relive the experience today. Adios Amigos.