Saturday, December 27, 2008
Day two: Accidental angels
On either side are high eucalyptus, thick-trunked forest plants, unknown (to me) trees with heavy foliage and thickets of something tall and thorny. Blue lantana covers the ground. The air is the refrigerated smell of leaves breathing. The forests gratified us with a sign saying "beware of wild elephants", though the animals themselves did not grace us with a visit. (I did hear a very Malayali panchavadyam from a passing Aiyappa temple, which usually augurs well for the sight of at least a domestic elephant but nothing. In the little towns and on the hillsides, houses have gardens and the gardens have plants that overflow onto the road, into the forests almost (some of them were almost exclusively giant poinsettia, one of them included a calf browsing among the potted plants.)
The roads sweep over and around gently rolling hills. It was a beautiful day to be out cycling in Coorg, no matter what your riding nirvana.
For some, it's about the road, what kind it is, what challenges it offers, how far it goes. For others, it's about the scenery the road passes through. To a few, it's about themselves and their bicycles, about pushing and pushing hard. From the mood after the ride, it seemed as if they all got what they wanted today.
We set out from Mysore at seven. Since Prerna, Ram's wife, was following the Tour in her car by herself, Tejesh, Prashanth and I (the three communicators) joined her. But suddenly we were loaded up with Aquafina, Gatorade, glucose and cake-like things, just in case we were called upon to assist and succour. That turned out to be often. We went ahead and stopped at a "good spot" to photograph the riders, and this made us the support car by default for the faster riders in front. It felt good to have an active role in the Tour, to be in the right place, at the right time when someone needed something.
As the second day of the Tour ends, everyone is getting into their stride. Many of us are learning as we go along, this being the first of its kind being attempted here. The enormity of the enterprise is only beginning to show now, and therefore, the courage and breadth of the minds that conceived, and are executing, it.
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