– Stephen George & Rahul Jojan
Having done the first 40 kilometers of our ride, I turned back and asked Rahul, “Why are we doing this? For what ledger, exactly, and kept by whom?” Even though he didn’t have an answer, it got the both of us thinking about life and why we do the things we do.
That’s the best part about cycling, even though it is nothing more than an athletic undertaking it somehow always makes you pause and think about the general direction your life is heading in. There’s something paradoxical about how each time you pedal, the cycle inches forward towards your destination, but on the other side of the same coin your mind travels backwards putting you in a reflective state of mind.
We took our first break at McDonalds which is located a few kilometers before the International Airport. It was about 8:30am by then and the Sun was being quite unforgiving. After a quick breakfast we hit the road again. We had a general idea as to where Nandi Hills was but just to make sure, we would often stop by the side of the road and make enquiries with the locals. The locals would always give us this priceless expression of utmost unbelief whenever we mentioned the words “Nandi Hills” because in their opinion, getting up there on a bicycle was impossible!
To be honest there were numerous moments when we wanted to give up and turn back home, but every time one of us had enough the other guy would ride alongside the de-motivated guy and give him a small pep talk. A little encouragement can do amazing things to the human mind. Having already put 70 kilometers behind us, there was absolutely no turning back. We slowly but steadily pedaled our way to the base of the hill.
We took another break at The Nandi café. After a hot cup of Horlicks, we were all geared up to tackle the last 7.2 kilometers which would take us to a height of about 4,800 feet above sea level.
Inch by inch we slowly made our way upwards. As we got higher, the air kept getting thinner and this added another element of difficulty to the ascent. Our bodies were taking a thorough beating; we literally had to take a small break after every kilometer to get used to the lower oxygen level. The most memorable part about the climb was how incredibly encouraging all the people who were passing by us were. Almost every single car that passed by would have at least one person shouting out a, “Come on guys! You’re almost there!” at us. A few of them even stopped to give us water. After 2 grueling hours, we finally reached the summit. Yes, we took 2 hours to cycle the last 7.2 kilometers!
As we sat atop the hill looking out into the valley, both of us had a huge grin running across our face. For us it was much more than overcoming physical pain to fulfill a goal. It was about proving to ourselves that we were infinitely stronger than we thought we were. It was about pushing ourselves when every cell in our body wanted to give up. It was about proving a point to all the naysayers and most importantly it was about forging a life-long bond with a fellow human being. There are so many people out there who use ‘following their dreams’ as an excuse to not work. When in reality following your dreams successfully is nothing but work.
Every once in a while, try doing the impossible.