Well, I am back! Hell yeah!
For those who thought this mad man really had a million masks, well – he does. It is just that most of those are either built of cars or bikes!
The Versys 1000.
260 kilos and tall enough to make a six footer toe-tip and packs a little less than a hundred and twenty horses across its mid-range.
I have ridden two wheels packing 180 horses before, and I know a lot of people would be starting to get ‘wuss’ into their minds.
Clocking speeds over two tons on a straight line on these kind of motorcycles is not at all an achievement. As I climbed on to its saddle at Kolhapur, it seemed as if I was hovering above the burning tarmac. The straights till Belgaum gave me enough time to calm my nerves and get comfortable with her.
But it was the Chorla Ghat that kicked me out of the comfort-zone. As I tried tipping the motorcycle into corners, the diva in the Versys started throwing her tantrums. She likes straights, she likes to go easy on brakes and she hates being leaned on to.
I had been out since 6 in the morning after a 2 hour nap, the night before. We had been shooting and the sun showed absolutely no respite, roasting us clad in full motorcycle gear. I was tired, and a bit fried and a bit cranky.
And Chorla it was. The rough levelled tarmac on the narrow curvy mountain road was what I was riding for all day – to brake late, brake hard, turn in with a knee down and bang the throttle open at the apex, powering out of the corner like it was the last one I ever had!
The battle was intense and every drop of adrenalin added to my blood-stream made me madder. I was looking two corners ahead, looking for its exit, planning my entry, gauging the pace without even realizing how fast I am right now, with my head just about two and a half feet away from the tar. I was talking to myself, trying to remember every word someone or the other had to say about sport riding.
‘Brake late, but don’t trail-brake’
‘Get your arse out, anchor the thigh’
‘Get your balance right – the gyroscope needs to be in your favour to make the next corner’
‘Steady throttle before the apex, gun it after that’
‘Try entering a corner like you have no brakes’
‘Keep your head Steady’
‘Hold the line and NEVER cross to the oncoming lane’
‘You need to work on your right handers’
‘Keep your hands light – flap them like wings into a corner’
Damn, so much to do and the bike was not really happy being held by the scruff of her neck and shoved wherever I wanted. It was exhilarating. It was a moment of no fear, no remorse, clarity of thought, attention to the minutest feedback – It felt like Nirvana!
I think I conquered quite a few of my inner demons then – the fear of letting loose, the fear of uncontrollable bursts, the fear of missing a detail.
As I slowed down at the top of the Chorla ghat, I was exhausted – exhausted by the happiness I garnered in those 30 kilometers of dark tarmac, exhausted by the goose-bumps I had when I knew I haven’t gone so fast here ever before, exhausted by the fear of never being able to come back to this, exhausted by the fear of life!