And the reverse Countdown begins…!
As our crew attempt to complete their mission in 13 days, here’s looking at how Day 11 fared for them…
11th November 2022
No. of kms covered: 243 (Total 3381 kms)
No. of hours ridden: 21 hours
Cities covered: Alipurduar-Besimari-Rowta-Sirajuli-Bihuguri-Sonitpur-Tezpur-Kanchanjhuri-Bagori-Mehora-Kamargaon-Jorhat
States travelled: Gujarat-Rajasthan-Uttar Pradesh-Bihar-West Bengal-Assam
As our crew approaches their summit, as the reverse countdown begins, so do the emotions oscillate. “We are excited, nervous and anxious with anticipation!” exclaims Ms. Nivedita.
Day 11 started with just a 1.5 hour break (about 48 kms before Tejpur) after the epic 24 hour ride. As Preeti caught up on her sleep, Mr. Ghanshyam and the driver arranged for breakfast and got the car serviced to have it ready for the last few days.
There was a localite nearby making chatai’s (5×10) which are used as walls for the huts. The crew requested if they could sit on them, he readily agreed and asked them to breakfast while sitting on them.
Then they resumed their journey, crossed Tezpur and the mighty Brahmaputra. The BRO (Border Road Organization) had warmly provided them with a packed lunch which they partook at a small temple and ashram ground on the way.
Post lunch they crossed Kaziranga National Park and ate dinner once they had exited it. At around 12-12.30 in the night, they stopped at a small store for tea. The owner sold them some wafers and fed them some prasad. He refused to take money from them. When Mr. Ghanshyam insisted that he take the cash, the owner delightedly explained that our crew were their first customers! Their store had newly opened just this evening. Our crew was thrilled to have been the auspicious start for this kind human.
At 2.30 am, when Preeti could no longer stay awake on her feet, they finally halted at a petrol pump in Jorhat.
“After Kaziranga, to ward off sleep we started playing old songs loudly, woke everyone in the car and kept Preeti awake too! Sumit joked that he felt like he was sitting in a noisy pub!” jokes Mr. Ghanshyam.
This was also the time, Preeti managed to speed up to almost 35 kms per hour. However this drained her quickly too.
Mr. Mahesh Goyal, our BOY chief talks about how it has been an excellent team effort. Whether it’s Preeti’s immense feat or the crew managing all the unpredictable challenges, he gives full credit to every member for making this mission so successful this far. He is also amazed that in spite of being exerted body and mind, they continue each day with smiling faces and joking their way through.
“I have learnt so much about cyclists, their first hand experiences, feelings, difficulties through this expedition. We hope we are able to spread the organ donation cause far and wide and that this mission inspires people to take up the cause on different levels. Every person involved in the expedition has had a positive attitude and this is extremely heartening” he says.
Ghanshyam tells us how Mr. Mahesh has been their most trustworthy go to person at the back end. “If we need any kind of arrangements at any place or time whatsoever, Mr. Mahesh makes it possible through his contacts. He is extremely resourceful and reliable. He made all our arrangements in Ahmedabad and Koteshwar. Wherever news coverage was feasible, that too was organized and coordinated by Mr. Mahesh. He has been an immense pilar of strength for us.
Preeti’s daughter Rujuta has also been our go-to person. If anything needs to be researched she does so efficiently and perfectly.” He explains in detail.
It’s noteworthy how there are innumerable people involved both on the road and in their homes who make such records possible. And for everyone involved, days and nights are now all merging together with simply the end summit in mind.
“Just 2 days to go! I am feeling wonderful but also sleepy. The crew members are splashing water on my face, feeding me coffee, and trying various tactics to keep me awake.
The headwind has been our greatest obstacle. Even when faced with 40 kms of downhill road, I could not pick up speed. Inspite of furious pedaling, my cycle just wouldn’t move. A couple of times, I stopped to check the cycle as well. but it didn’t show any issues. I asked my daughter to check the wind speed on Windy. When she mentioned it was around 17, that’s when I realised why the going was tough.
I am thoroughly enjoying the different routes of India. From my cycle, I can observe the cultures minutely as everything passes by so close, whether it’s the food stalls, clothing styles, language. While passing the small tum-tums I can overhear conversations too. Whether it’s the flowing waters or trees, everything is within arm’s length and I can observe the intricate details.
Everyday has been a new experience presented with new challenges. As we solve one issue, another would crops up. But as a team we have managed it all. I am excited for all of us and for all the women who desire to achieve such feats.” Signs off an excited and jubilant Preeti.
And the countdown begins…
Blog by: Arohi Bhimajiani