Friday, April 28, 2006

Hash Run #412

Run # 412 – Bangalore Hash House Harriers

This was my (let me try and recollect without referring to the archives of this blog) fourth run with Hash. As usual it was a Sunday afternoon run, as usual it was on the outskirts of city, away from all the humdrum (bumrum, sounds better). But while the last run, the moonlight run was one with max participation - 150, this time around, there was a measly 20.

The run site was about 10kms from KR puram, down old madras road, at the IB estate. I went bulleting to the run site. My friend from my cricketing (SjCC) days, Bharath, aka lodde, BeeKay also joined me this time. If you had followed that hyperlink you would have seen this guy does PicHiD (when he not running marathons) in Singapura.

This time surprisingly the run started on time – 4:45. It was a short run, about 7-8kms in the countryside. But the hares – camel rider, hole surveyor and Deepak had made sure there are enough false trails to keep us interested. Lots of check backs (circle with a cross) chalk marks on the trail ensured that I went on false trails thrice.

We got back to the estate in about 50mins time. There were a couple of guys who got colourful bruises. I spotted a snake wriggling into the bushes during the run. Wildlife and all, eh…
There were samosas to go round with the beer. The hares got to cool their asses on the ice block.
There were a few returners. There was this one gentleman, ‘Hard-on’ who was from Ireland, who has been hashing from, as early as, 1978!! I had a nice conversation going with him. He was running with Bangalore Hash after, like 6years. He was telling me about how Hash started in the late 1930’s, in Europe somewhere. During World War II, Hash lost many of its members to war, and those who survived were posted to different parts of the world. And that is how it started to spread across the world. In Malaysia, there is a hash run everyday!
Well, anyway, Hard-on got his ass on the ice too. There were 4 virgins, including BeeKay. Surprisingly, there was common interest area among BK and the Grand Master (the guy who runs the circle). Both of them were into Robotics – BK into underwater robots research and this MIT grad, an entrepreneur, running a firm that makes robots in India.
It was a nice short run, just the right way to spend the Sunday evening. Parag and Deepu joined us for a heavy dinner at the Neel later in the night.

coming up - ride to Subramanya and the trek up Kumara Parvata (KP)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Add to Momma's List

Ripped off from unknown source. Reproduced verbatim, hopefully there is no copyright violation ;) You can however, express your opinions on plagiarism in the comment section, but please dont copy someone else's comments while you do that!
Enjoi the article maadi...

Author unknown
Ride Far and Live Long
How many times has some do-gooder warned you against your motorcycle in the interest of your health? Do you politely stand there while a well-intentioned Samaritan regales, you with horror stories of a relative of a friend of a friend who went down two days after he bought his bike?
I used to dryly inform such self-appointed nice guys that, since most people die in their own beds, to avoid that horrible fate, it would be best to start sleeping on the floor. Now I no longer go head to head with sufferers of moto-phobia. I just tell them now that biking is conducive to a long, healthy and happy life. Here's how this came about:
During my recent trip to India I came across a new motorcycle magazine called BIKE India which, surprisingly, boasts some really well-researched articles by some top internationally-recognized and local writers. It seems that the family of Adil Jal Darukhanawala, the Editor of BIKE India, still owns the oldest continuously-run motorcycle dealership in the world(!), which today sells Indian-built Yamahas (called TVS Yamaha) in the university town of Pune, Maharashtra State. Adil is one of the most pro-moto two-wheel visionaries you'll ever meet.Anyway, the January '06 issue of BIKE India carries a tightly-researched article entitled "One More Reason to Bike: It's Good For Your Health!"

This article has the hard facts on things that you and I always suspected to be true but had, until now, had no way of proving. The bit of scientific investigation came about when the good folks at Motorcycle Consumer News set out to find Britain's oldest biker. To the delight of the MCN research team, they found that every single aging rider they talked to credited motorcycling as his or her key to longevity and health.
Forging ahead, MCN enlisted the help of students of King's College of London University Hospital to research why those older riders love motorcycling so much. Here's what they found: The Brain: Biking is joyous and is therefore is a natural an anti-depressant. The brain responds to the thrilling sensations of balance combined with forward motion by producing endorphins that prevent depression. Since depression leads to illness, biking is an antidote to disease through prevention of melancholia.
The Lungs: Buses, trains and especially airplanes are confining metal tubes in which passengers are forced to breathe virus-saturated second hand air making for an unsafe travel environment. Bikes on the other hand put you in the wind, a known purifier that is conducive to health by sending fresh oxygen throughout the lungs.
The Heart: The next time a self-styled saint tries to get you safely buckled into some overbuilt SUV, ask him what he thinks the effect of traffic jams and road rage have on the heart. Highway-related anxiety causes a release in hormones that actually increase blood pressure, leading to dangerous levels of stress. Gridlock causes tension, but lane splitting brings on euphoria. Bye by cars, bye by heart disease.
Circulation: The frequent changes in bodily temperature experienced by motorcyclists stimulate blood circulation, which protects against circulatory problems such as varicose veins and hardening of the arteries. Sitting in some cushy "luxury" car all day in rush hour commute is an excellent way to shut down circulation in the extremities, a known cause of blood clots. Remember that ambulances and hearses are also highly-equipped luxury vehicles.
The Back: Yup, the leaning, turning and twisting that a biker does is downright good exercise that keeps the spine limber. Padded car seats on the other hand are terrible for the back.
Burning of Fat: The excitement of the ride, which puts the senses on high alert, actually burns calories. The more extreme the ride, the better the results will be (as long as the motorcyclist rides within his limits!) OK, some riders like me are overweight, but, hey, if it weren't for my bike, I probably wouldn't pass the Greyhound bus driver's minimal fitness exam!
Leg Muscles: The study concluded that jockeying a hefty motorcycle into a narrow parking spot is the equivalent of a five minute work out on a rowing machine.
Not satisfied with the results of their research, the intrepid MCN team went on to explore the mammoth British Medical Library. There they discovered a pro-moto university thesis entitled "Motorcycle and Adolescents" by French rider and now psychiatrist JP Rabeau. Regarding young riders, this is how the good doctor of the mind wrapped up his research, "Their bikes' physical nature is often beneficial, rather than a dangerous expression of an unconscious death wishes in the Freudian sense."
Remember all those tidbits of wisdom that your mother used to tirelessly nag you with? "Do's" like "eat your veggies" or "take your vitamins" or "wash your hands"? Now you can confidentially add to Mom's list

Friday, April 21, 2006

Kokkre Bellur, Masina Gudi, Jungle Retreat, Ooty

Places visited: Kokkre Bellur, Masina Gudi, Jungle Retreat, Ooty
Distance covered: 650kms
Date: 15-16th April

Highlights: In a lot of ways this ride was an overdose of nature for me.
First, at Kokkre Bellur you have pelicans and storks that fly 1000s of miles, all the way from Russia, Siberia to spend these few months at this one small village, year-after-year.
Second, the forest of Bandipur, Madumalai Hills – thick foliage in the valleys, the hills standing tall and bald, deer, monkeys, peacocks and good possibility of a leopard, python, bison or a tusker crossing your path.
Third, Nature’s way of saying, “hey, can I join you for the ride?” “How about I send some rain with you on your way back?” The downpour all the way down to Bangalore.

Flagging off: It was a combo ride time at Rolling Thunder Motorcycles Club – RTMC. There were two groups on this ride – both leaving together to Kokkre Bellur in Mandya. The first group riding back to Bangalore and a second group continuing to Masanagudi for an overnighter. In all about 20 guys on 14 bullets, the smallest RTMC participation I’ve seen. We left at around 8am almost an hour after the scheduled departure. Breakfast was at Kaadu Mane before Bidadi, one plain and one masala for me. It helped having a good breakfast, considering lunch happened only at 3 or so.

Kokkre Bellur is a village that is painted white with the pelicans and storks (literally with their droppings) that migrate here. Huge birds, wide wingspan, and in many hues come here during the mating season, hatch their eggs and nurture young ones till they fly back with them.
The birds seemed so much at home there. Even the blaring loud speakers (some festival celebration was on) and all the latest Kannada songs that were playing didn’t seem to disturb them. I can understand if it was Radio City, but latest kannada songs. Maybe it helps coming from a phoren country and not knowing the local language. Or maybe it was to do with the breeding season; you cannot disturb no one during the breedings.

Good write up on Kokkre Bellur here -

There is a rivulet that runs outside the village. We did a bit of off-roading, riding along the rivulet till our bullets could go no more. ‘Tiger’ struck a good deal for some nectar-like tender coconuts, 100 bucks for 20. It was tiger’s birthday, the ‘Happy birthday’ song and bums followed. It was 2ish by the time we left the group to head for Masinagudi, 8 of us on seven bullets.

The Sweep: It was decided that I sweep the line (the guy who rides last, ensuring everyone’s ahead). Girish was running in his bike and was doing a max of 70-80kmph. Initially, I didn’t know this guy was running-in, I thought he was a compulsive slow coach. It’s so damn frustrating – you have a sooper bike, nice empty roads, fellow bikers ripping, but you can’t open throttle. I tried a few things to pep this guy to turn that accelerator, ride right up his ass, wroom-wroom there, overtake him then let him pass, etc. But Girish did not give in. I even felt tempted to ride alongside and do the turning accelerator for him myself.
I don’t know if that is the case sometimes in life with a few of us. There are people around you who want to do everything to push you on the fast track. But, somehow, maybe we don’t see it at all. Now, put on the ‘sweep-hat’ for a moment, and imagine how frustrated your mentor/guardian angel would feel. But then, its also important if you are the mentor, to see behind the facade and find the real reason. In this case, he was actually sacrificing short term urge to rip, for something more enduring.
Lunch: After all that food-for-thought my body went off balance and I had to soon provide some food-for-tummy. We were hungry like mad by the time we reached the outer out-skirts of Mysore. We stopped at some small udipi restaurant and polished off some tasty parotas, meals and chapattis.
The forests: More wildlife from there on. We crossed Bandipur, Teppakadu and Madumalai. There were lots of monkeys and deer. I enjoyed this stretch most, going real slow, taking in as much as I could. We reached Masinagudi at 6:30.

Jungle resort: Jungle retreat is a superb resort. Almost from any point in the resort the view of the hills is breathtaking. When nature has done her bit of art, Rohan Mathais and team have matched it with a good resort, making max use of the view – with cottages, tree house, pool (both kinds – the swimming kind and the kind that features in most porn movies) tasty food and beverages. The long weekend had drawn quite a crowd, at times I felt as if we were dining at some restaurant at koramangala.

PP had booked a 10-bed dorm for us. After the sumptuous dinner and a few rounds on the pool table, hit the bed at mid-night. Ads and Grease joined us in the morning having left Bangalore at midnight.
There are a few things you can do, apart from chilling out at Jungle Retreat. You could trek into the forest, do a safari ride to say hi to a few tuskers. You got to do this early in the morning, though, for some reason. Maybe the tuskers are not courteous later in the day. So we ruled that out. Instead we decided to ride up to ooty on the Kalhatti ghats. The view is supposed to make up for the difficult to ride and the very steep hair pins. The view must have been good, didn’t have too mucha time to look around.

Heavens Open: There were dark clouds brewing up and we were riding straight into it. And from there on it was simply a rainy tale. The rain that started as we reached the top of the ghats never let go till Bangalore. Huge droplets (I figured that was because at 2000mts above sea level you are far more closer to the clouds) and hail stones. When we left downhill, there was gushing muddy water and stones on the road and it looked like all of ooty was rushing downhill. Somewhere near Bandipur and Gundelpet, the rain actually stopped and we were dry briefly. But it caught up with us again. I had to get back to Bangalore early to attend two wedding receptions – Deepak’s ann Akshay’s. I left the group at Nanjangud, continued without lunch, caught up with Trishul and tiger after Mysore. I was at Kengeri by 6:15 and home by 7. My leather jacket weighed some 10kilos by the time I got out of it. One helluva ride it was!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Moonlight Half Marathon at Bangalore Hash

Run # 411, was to celebrate 16 years of BANGALORE HASH. A Moonlight Half Marathon followed by a Big Bash happened on Saturday, 8th April.


The agenda: A clear star studded, summer night sky, and the countryside bathed in moonlight. And hashers walking / running amidst the country roads...with the cool summer breeze in their faces...far away from pollution and the humdrum of the city!
Run back to a bonfire, music by hash deejay, hash brew from Kingfisher and dinner.
While away the night in the company of your dear one or comrades from the hash....rock to retro music....spend the nite amidst nature's glory!

The run site was WRAC, an exotic resort some 10kms from IIMB, off Bannerghatta road. There were tracks for half marathon and for half-half marathoners. I reached the run site when there was daylight and didn’t have problems locating the place. This time around “Runners for Life” were also invited. I saw a few familiar faces from the previous marathons and lots of new faces. There were 16 of us who started for the half marathon, at around 7:15. The moon was hazy and we knew why we were asked to carry those torches.
The track was one that required endurance more than stamina, a mix of tarmac and cross country, soft earth to gravel to hard tarmac. The uneven earth meant that there was high risk of injury on this run, so the pace had to be slow. You could say that again for ligament torn runners (read – me).We had to run down 5kms to the water spot and then take another route back to the resort. Then do the second lap.
I was doing good on the time till I lost my way on the run back, overshot some 2 kms before, I turned back, which painfully added to the time and fatigue. When I got back, deliberating if it was worth completing the run, a whole lot of half-half marathoners had just begun their run. I guess there were some 50 hashers in this run. I joined Ashwin (friend from my CAT prep days who I met there after 3yrs) and Siddarth (mustached guy with a ponytail) through out the second lap.
I finished 3 hours and four bottles of water later (dunno why, but the water just kept flowing down). By the time I got back the party had started, beer was doing rounds. The ice-block ceremony happened, certificates were distributed, half marathoners were given the ice treatment. Then the dance floor came alive with curvaceous creatures. After a half marathon, with every muscle in the legs crying for rest, its amazing how ‘the forces’ still pull you into the dance floor.
I had no plans of staying overnight nor participate in the recovery run in the morning. With Sathish and Rutu following in their car, I left the place at 1am. There is a long, winding dirt path till the main road. I overtook a couple of cars to avoid the dust and was ahead of the pack. And suddenly there was this traffic in the opposite direction – four jeeps. As I passed the fourth one, I noticed the POLICE sign.
And that is when the drama began to unfold…
Sound – I cut throttle and waited in silence
Lights – on the moonlit night, in waited for the headlights in the rear view mirror to move
Action – scraped out of not-so-desirable action

The cops intercepted the cars, a couple of cars were let off, and the rest were made to accompany a constable to the Bannerghatta police station for a statement. The cops, meanwhile proceeded to WARC to ensure that there was no live dance band playing. The party had to stop, thanks to the uninvited guests, the beer seized (now, u know where those pot-bellies come from!) and everyone made to leave autographs at mama’s place. The cops were supposedly tipped off that there was a live band playing somewhere and they had planned a massive raid headed by a DCP. After high drama, visit to the station, and autographs hashers left for their homes by 3am. For the first time, HASH ‘ran’ into cop trouble.
I only had a second hand version of what happened. It reinforced what I have been saying all along “Everyone makes way for a Bullet”, on that night… cops included!!!

Ps: There are other things to worry about in life apart from the beer, but if you are still thinking about it, how about we raid the station this Saturday??

Thursday, April 06, 2006