Pune ka First Brevet Populaire aka 100 BP
Thinking about what a Brevet Populaire is or how the experience of the first Monsoon special 100 BP, Pune-Karla-Pune was then read on.
Wait what is a Brevet Populaire?
BRM’s are always supposed to be long distance, self-supported endurance bicycle rides. Monitored by Audax Club Parisien (ACP) and local clubs like Audax India Randonneurs (AIR) in India. The minimum distance of 200 kms going upto 1200 kms in a timed, unsupported format always looked daunting for the un initiated. Not any more!
Audax India Randonneurs quite recently announced the addition of smaller rides call Brevet Polulaire, aka BP. These Brevet Populaire are of 100 kms at 7.5 hours and 150 kms at 10.5 hours cutoff. These rides are great for newbies to get a taste of a BRM and get comfortable with the idea of reaching a control point in time, getting the necessary stamps and also taking care of their brevet cards. These rides also help riders get the confidence that they can do the BRM’s within the requisite cutoff time and the rides are fun.
Monsoon Special 100 BP, Pune-Karla-Pune
As soon as the 100 Brevet was announced I was eager to signup and so were a few of my runner friends. However the schedule clashed with AFMC marathon and they pulled out. My own participation became tentative with some upcoming work schedule. However, thankfully my work got cancelled on Saturday afternoon and I immediately reached out to Prashant Jog (our friendly, ever smiling and helpful, ride responsible) for enquiry for a last minute entry. He confirmed that spot registrations were open for AIR members with the usual late payment fees. I quickly transferred the fee using Google Pay and then reached out to Amit Lele, my team mate from ‘Team Still Training’. A few quick exchanges over whatsapp and my ride partner was set.
With rains and the muck, I didn’t have the heart to take out the Road bike so it was going to be a ride on the Trinx, i.e. my hybrid. The rear brake mech was jammed because of riding it during the crazy Pune rains since the last few days. Trinx being my commute had taken the beating. I took it to my local shop and he cleaned and lubed the cable and the bike was good to run. The chain was already cleaned an lubed.
Picked up a few energy bars for the ride and the usual punchuture kit and the pump, which are always ready as I carry them for my commutes too.
Shanirwarwada the start Point
Woke up in the morning and started off after my usual cup of black coffee. A usual 100 km ride does not need any especial prep and as I had planned this to be a leisure ride, I was mentally prepared to stop and eat whenever we felt hungry.
Stepped out and was welcomed by some nice rain, which meant that I was going to be wet by the time I reached Shaniwarwada. Reached Shaniwarwada and met a few cyclists waiting at the gate. Could not see Prashsant Sir around and hence thought of getting a cup of tea to kill time. Reached the tea shop and even before I could order he mentioned that there are more cyclists at the other gate. We headed over to the other side to realize that the whole bunch was at the other side.
Met usual new and old faces. Prashant Tidke sir was a new face at a BRM start point. He was attempting his first long ride after his small surgery and a BRM after a couple of years.
We quickly completed the formalities; a few pictures and we were off.
I was hungry and cold
Even before we started, I had mentioned to Amit that we would stop for breakfast at Pune University. Well this was a fun brevet and I intended to enjoy every bit of it.
We stopped at Pune university and gobbled a Poha each, Amit went on to grab a few idli’s while I got my cuppa.
We moved on to Baner road and crossed a few cyclists as we moved ahead. Met another cyclist, who raced to catch up with me after I crossed him. He seemed pretty excited about the idea of a 100 Brevet and wanted to participate.
Our conversation went on as follows
He: Where are you riding to?
Me: Doing the first 100 BP. Pune-Karla-Pune
He: Very good. How many of you are doing it?
Me: 30-35 odd riders.
He: I did’nt know that there is a 100 brevet also. 100 is something which I can do at my age.
Me: This has been recently introduced sir and you can certainly do it.
He: You guys seem to be riding alone, where are the others?
Me: Sir we stopped for breakfast.
He: Oh so you had your food, so you would definitely be able to complete it easiliy. What is your name?
Me: Sir, my name is Anshuman.
He: Arrey Anshuman, we happen to be in the same group. I would love to do the 100 BP next time.
Me: Apologies sir, I shared about the ride on a few groups but forgot to share this one. All the best. We will certainly ride together.
The rider was a very senior rider named Mr. Umakant Digikkar who works with the Pune Municipal corporation. Made a mental note to share all BRM stuff in all groups and facebook. There is a lot of riders in Pune who would love to attempt such rides.
Being a Brevet Populaire, Pune Randonnuers had kept multiple control points. We reached Dehu road Junction at 7:22 am, roughly 26 kms in 82 minutes. Got our stamps and moved ahead.
It was a very scenic ride with intermittent rains at Somatne and beyond, the sun playing hide and seek from behind the clouds and the beautiful views that the shayadri’s have to offer. Hills around Kamshet presented multiple waterfalls and cloud cover. We were thoroughly enjoying the ride.
There was only one problem though, the headwinds and cross winds. We had to pedal our way through the downhill section post kamshet, else we would stop, there was no coasting. The winds did catch the wheels at a few places and we had to hold steady. Also the patch of road around kamshet wass filled with potholes and loose gravel.
We reached Karla our u-turn control point soon. 55 km mark at 8:49 am. Got our stamp, a few bannanas, a packet of enerzal and refilled our bottles. Riding in the rain and one has to keep a track of hydration. Because of the rains and cold weather we don’t realize that we are sweating and loosing salts.
Karla to Dehu road- CP 4
The return ride with rains again was supposed to be easier with just one climb at Kamshet and tailwinds. The initial part was definitely tail winds but quickly the winds changed their direction and had slight cross winds. The winds were slightly bearable and Amit and I were cruising until I floated the idea of chai and Amit jumped on with adding some snack to it.
We stopped at vadgaon Maval for a few hot vadapav and a cup of chai and I could not stop myself at just one. It must have been almost 25 odd minutes before we started again. For the first time in a BRM I was not looking at the watch. We had ample time. While enjoying the vadapav we glanced at the Brevet card and realized that we had almost 2 hours before CP at Dehu was to close. I guess roughly 15 kms in 2 hours, we both could jog that much.
We hit the road again and enjoyed the drizzle. Reached CP4 at Dehu Road junction with smiling face of Prashant sir. We reached CP 4 at 10:25 with 85 kms on the ODO. Prashant sir was tired of the waiting game and wanted us to sit and chat a bit with us. 😊 We had a brief chat and decided to hit the road again and finish before 11:30 am.
Last minute Drama
Amit and I were riding together for the most part, chatting and discussing everything under the sun. He was right next to me until the Sus road small climb and then disappeared. I looked back and could not see him, so I decided to stop. Waited 5 more minutes and sensed a rat. Then I finally saw him walking. Either he had a crash or a punchuture. Puncture was ok but a crash was not. I decided to pedal back. As I was turning back I heard my phone ringing.
Reached Amit and he showed his flat rear wheel. We were just 3-4 kms from Chandani chowk, I recommended that we fill the tyre with some air and ride the last 3-4 kms. Walked slightly ahead to a safer spot and we got to work. But even after 100+ pumps the tyre was still flat, which meant either the valve was gone or the tube had a big hole. I quickly turned the cycle upside down and took off the wheel to change the tube. Rajesh Turkunde also stopped to help.
We changed the tube and started for the last 4 kms.
Ride over but hey I am still hungry
We reached CCD chandani chowk at 11:50 am. 106 kms in 5:50, probably the slowest century ride in a while. Definitely faster than the 600 BRM last 120 struggle in June.
Prashant Tidke sir and Neha were waiting at CCD, so Amit and I decided to grab some coffee and dessert. I ordered a brownie and some filter coffee with Jaggery and what a treat it was. We spent the next one hour chatting while most of the other riders finished their ride.
All in all a fun, tummy filling ride with amazing views. Great initiave by Pune rabndonnuers.
You can check the upcoming schedule on audax india site here.