Deepak Naiks detailed experience on Wari 2018
Amazing Ride to Pandharpur
I would start the post by thanking the entire ICC team, core team and support team and all the volunteers as without them none of could have had the experience we had
Pune to Pandharpur most awaited ride of the year,best route with best of friends.so on 7th July the day arrived to for the ride, woke up at 3 and peeked outside and it was raining cats and dogs, had a feeling it’s going to be tough riding in rain,but thankfully by the time I got ready to step outside the door with my bike the rain had died down to a very light drizzle, I got on the saddle moving towards nashik phata to meet the other cyclists, as I crossed the pimpri chowk met Ajit Patil ,Sanjay , Vishi on the way, we reached nashik phata , the scene was amazing to see so many cyclist with the blinkers, as I had already deposited my bag with Ganesh Bhujbal a day before , we moved along to hadapsar.
The scene at hadapsar was even more amazing, 200+ cycles with the lights an entire road filled with cycle warkari, in a beautiful ICC special wari jersey and to top it a nice cool weather, just beautiful !!
The wari begins, the entire road filled with cycles, started with Avinash Anushe and we moved swiftly and reached the breakfast point where Rutuja was there with her energetic smile distributing tasty chikki’s.We went inside for the breakfast, the wada at Gurudutta wadapav was really a jumbo wada pav couldn't fit in a single pav. Had sumptuous breakfast , took pictures chit chatted with so many friends, didn't even realize an hour had gone by.
We started again moving towards Indapur to out lunch spot, as the road was amazing reached Indapur by 11:30 and waited at the junction to guide the cyclist coming towards the hotel Mauli Prasad as it was a bit confusing and didn’t want the guys to miss the hotel, Gaju crossed and went towards the hotel to take care of the arrangement,.in half an hour Akshay joined me when a funny incident happened, we were standing and a guy on a vehicle coming from wrong side giving us gyan don’t park cycle on the road.
Gaju came back and decided to mark the road with arrows directing towards hotel for the cyclist , we went back and got the paint to mark the road when we moved towards the hotel. The food at the hotel was very tasty and the service was so nice that it was beyond expectation.
After having a heavy lunch , most of us found a spot to lie down and rest, after 3 hours we decided to make a move , we had gone 2-3 kms when I remembered i had forgotten my gloves at the hotel and had to go back to get them , that’s when I realized the return leg of the journey is going to be tough as the wind was making riding back really difficult.
I found my gloves and rode faster to join back others and moved steadily , and then stopped at one final hydration point refueled and refilled , ready to go.
Just as the destination was in sight hit a really rough patch of the road, as half of the road was under construction and half was really really bad, tried riding on the bad road which made my hands hurt badly with all the vibrations, so decided to ride on the newly constructed road riding like a the game of temple run or subway surfer,but that didn’t last and had to dismount and walk for some part of the road and ride some part of the road.
Slowly and steadily reached the destination “Pandharpur” , felt really good, although the feeling cannot be penned down, it was amazing all the cycles parked in order, it was just great, the truck hadn’t arrived so we went towards the dorm where more than 200 beds were there and the cyclist who had arrived early were resting.
Me and Sachin found couple of beds and we too rested after getting fresh, by then I was hungry and went to the bhojanalay for dinner with Kapil, again found the food to be very tasty and had a heavy dinner.
Just then some Pandharpur samiti people came to felicitate ICC members and presented with a nice picture of Vitthal Rukmai, they also helped us getting VIP darshan in the temple, the feeling to see the idols was of Vitthal Rukmai was amazing , that's when you realize why people take so much of pains walking towards Pandharpur.It was really mesmerising and serene.
Once we reached back to the dorm there was a felicitation ceremony for one way and two way participant of the wari along with the volunteers. All were so so tired that everyone slept as soon they hit the bed.
I was pretty relaxed as I had no plans of riding back the next day.
Ride That Was Not Supposed To Be
As the sun came up the next morning and by the time I woke up most of the people were already up and nearly ready to ride back, some had already left, Sachin , Ajit Patil were urging me to ride , I was in no condition physically and nor was I mentally prepared to ride another 230 Kms in to the infamous headwinds.
Along with Sanjay, Gunwant , Ajit Gore and Mohit went for breakfast, as usual it was tasty and had a plate of each poha and upma and the energy was back and the thoughts of riding started to make rounds in my heart, and then I suddenly decided I can try to ride as much as possible, and anyways the backup truck is there if anything happens can packup.
So quickly got in to cycling gear and ready to ride, by then lot of things happening outside Ajit Patil and Gaju along with Ganesh Bhujbal were giving out instructions for the riders. Shankar had prepared a beautiful bhajan for the team and everyone with full energy sang it.
As soon as we were planning to leave , Sanjay found his cycle was punctured, so with help of Gunvant and Avinash Anushe it was repaired. By the team rest of the riders had left, only 8 of us were left behind, Gaju, Ajit Patil,Avinash A, Gunwant, Sanjay, Ajit G, Dr. Akshay and myself.
Ajit P and Gaju stayed behind to load the bags and cycles on to the backup trucks b the time we 6 left Pandharpuri, slight drizzle had started till then , making the roads slippery.I was riding slowly along with Ajit G, as rest of the team went ahead.
I was really not in the groove to ride and was thinking of giving up and ride back in the backup vehicle but Ajit G kept on pegging me to keep riding, he was a constant motivation and didn’t let me off the hook,.
After some time we someone with ICC jersey walking on the road as we reached closer we out it was Dr. Akshay who was in discomfort and couldn’t ride, but as he saw us he decided to be back on saddle and ride along slowly with us. Akshay made the journey enjoyable with his singing skills.
In the meantime the backup truck arrived with Gaju and Ajit P , Dr. Akshay packed up as he was unable to ride further.Gaju and Ajit P bought along the much needed motivation and the 4 of us then started to pick up pace and stated catching up with riders who had left an hour earlier than us, which boosted my morale and we together moved speedily towards our breakfast point Pahunchar hotel at nate pute.
When we reached there , lot of other cyclist were already there , I had more than 3 cups of tea and couple of plates of poha , much needed carb reload.The hotel owner felicitated the ICC superheroes with Feta , lots of photos were clicked, lot of time was also spent, we were again going to play catch up as it was pretty late at breakfast point itself.
The headwinds and crosswinds had decided to not take a break and be with all along testing our mettle. Ajit and me had devised a plan to attack the climbs and we both were pushing each other along, along the road we saw our friends enjoying at a farm with a water fountain and we also decided to take a break , it was really refreshing, after that small break we again started and within some distance had a puncture , with help of Sanjay , Ajit G and couple of other friends it was fixed and we started towards the hydration point at Hotel Maharaja, which was becoming a never ending quest.
Finally we arrived and had 2 glasses of Lime water which was really good, after a 10-15 min rest we again started towards our lunch location Shivar, the headwinds was still testing our resolve but none of us was ready to give up and we kept grinding , attacking the climbs and enjoying the short downhills, somehow reached Shivar, the Lunch was again amazing , with hot food there was no stopping us we kept on eating along with Avinash C, Ravi , Sanjay and Ajit P.
My neck was giving up it was becoming difficult to ride and again the thoughts to give up started circling, but then god send Kapil came and offered to massage, it was really magical the neck and back muscles along with leg muscles were relaxed and I felt re-energized.
Finally most of people had left , some had decided to go back by bus as it was getting darker and difficult to ride into the winds, the last remaining 11 guys decided to ride together, and we formed a single line riding towards Jejuri, The Rock “Vishal” and Kapil along with the support team were always present along the route to help us.
Just as we reached Jejuri Avinash and one more person were facing some discomfort and decided to stop riding bike so not to aggravate the injury and so sat in the backup truck.
Rest of us continued slowly , then Gaju and me decided to ride a bit faster as it was getting late and reached saswad where we had hot Shegaon Kachori, now refreshed when others arrived they had little bit of kachori and we were back on the road cruising now with not much of a headwind, just waiting for Dive Ghat to arrive, it was a long wait till we saw the downhill of Dive ghat as it was night time i was a bit slow going down , but Gaju just cruised past as if it was nothing.
Finally reached Hadapsar where Dr. Harpale welcomed all and helped us with water and chikkis, it was an awesome feeling to complete the Pune-Pandharpur-Pune which was an achievement for me as I haven't ridden anything above 250 KMs till date, and my my last 200K was the last year’s Pune-Pandharpur ride.
From there reaching home and going to bed was the only thought in my mind, so we started and had to stop when there was a puncture in Sanjay’s bike, the day had started and nearly ended with his bike being punctured, so we fixed and moved steadily and finally reached home, my parents were waiting , my wife had bought a cake for me , it was awesome the feeling of completing the ride through tough journey wa still sinking in.
I couldn't have completed the ride without support of so many people, firstly Ajit Gore for keeping me motivated staying with me all along even using a borrowed katyar to ensure I ride...just kidding :) ,thanks for being there, Ajit and Gaju to pushing me to my limits and having the same kind of energy towards the end which I had at the start of day 1.
Avinash A , Sanjay , Gunvant, Shankar Dada, Dr. Akshay , Avinash Chougule, Ravi, Giri All of them being very supportive all along. Kapil was phenomenal with his massage skills specially for me as I was able to ride without much a pain in the later part of the ride. Vishal Bhau always present whenever needed all along the way.All the volunteers were very supportive and helping all participants with their hearts out, it's a rare situation where you get so many volunteers who give it all without expecting anything back in return, these guys are the backbone and support that anyone can expect thru such a tough journey, hats off to all volunteers.it can happen only in ICC, to have such a support, minimum cost and amazing goodies and great food.
I also would like to add about couple of things firstly Fast N Up and secondly Unibic energy bars these really helped me all along, no cramps or bonking during the entire ride of 460+ kms.
It was such an amazing journey which etched on my mind as as always will be waiting for next year to ride back to the divine place.