Congratulatinos to Gopikrishnan Kesavan, who set the India N-S (K2K) unsupported record in the following categories: Solo, Male, 18-49 age-group, standard bike.
Note: this is also an New Guinness World Record
Read his inspiring story below the pictures
Ride of Contemplation – Kashmir to Kanyakumari (K2K)
World Record Ride – December 31, 2023
I, Gopikrishna Kesavan aged 27 Years, a native from Tiruchirappalli District, Tamil Nadu born in the year 1996, is very happy to share with my friends, family and associates that I have successfully completed the KASHMIR TO KANYAKUMARI RIDE – FASTEST SOLO UNSUPPORTED RIDE (18-Dec-2023 to 31-Dec-2023) in 13 Days. The total distance that was covered during the ride was 3,650 KMS starting from Lal Chowk Clock Tower, Srinagar JK to Cape Comorin Kanyakumari Beach, Tamil Nadu with an elevation gain of 17,710 Meters. It is incredible for any rider to cross cities that hold historical importance and monuments within India during the K2K Ride.
I work for IT/ITES organization with my debut in 2017. My sedative life contains various factors like late night movies, junk & fast foods with zero physical activity. This story would give the readers a glimpse of my entire journey starting from my soporific lifestyle to avid cyclist regime.
Life Changing Thought:
Not sure if Lord Buddha was my inspiration, but one fine day like how Lord Buddha got his “Self-Realization” under a Bodhi Tree, I too got a Self-Motivation to buy a cycle to experience how a regular cycle rides would feel like. For me, instead of Bodhi Tree, it was online shopping through which I bought my used Hybrid Bike which costed me INR 10K.
After buying my bike, I got introduced to a cycling group chapter in Ambattur. I managed become a member in that group and my first long distance ride with that group was to Besant Nagar beach from Ambattur. After completing multiple such rides, as every other cyclist, I too was fascinated by BRM rides which ranged 200 KMS to 1200 KMS. Then came a thought of doing a solo touring ride to Karur from Chennai which I accomplished in 5 days covering 970 KMS. Those manifold BRM rides & solo rides couldn’t quench my thirst for cycle rides.
Man of Missile, Ex. Chairman of DRDO & Honourable Ex-President of India DR. APJ Abdul Kalam Ji once told that a dream is something that shouldn’t allow the dreamer to sleep till it is achieved. After reading about this K2K, I was dreaming about this ride within myself and was completely submerged with that ambition. While looking for a desirable ride time, I made up my mind to ride during the month of December due to the holiday season.
My organization already had a compulsory holiday policy of 9-10 days during the year end. This was one of the strongest factors for me to choose the year end as the best time to complete this Herculean ride. In addition to the compulsory holiday policy, I requested my organization for another 5-6 days of extra leave including weekends to cope up with the timelines for this ride.
Introduction to K2K Ride:
Kashmir to Kanyakumari National Highway 44 is the longest highway route in India. This route comprises of mixed terrains & climate. Riding in this scenic route is a Herculean task & a dream come true ride for any Cyclist who is a passionate endurance rider.
Preparation for the Event:
To match the extreme Indian conditions, I did many practice rides as a simulation that matched the K2K conditions. Main signature events among the practice rides were Parvatha 600 KMS (Bangalore Randonneur), Dhanushkodi 600 KMS & Kolli Hills 300 KMS (both by Trichy Randonneur) starting from September 2023. In Addition to this, I have also completed India’s First Solo Double Everest in Yelagiri which had 18,787 M Elevation Gain covering 703.43 KMS.
Bikes & Gears:
Bikes are the best friend for any cyclist which always stand with the rider in those unforgiving conditions during the rides. I am happy to introduce my Scolarian Bike which I fondly call as “Bae”. She is a black beauty with Shimano Tiagra Group Set & 35MM Alloy Wheels. Scolarian Bikes are built with steel that exclusively designed for Touring & Long-distance Endurance rides.
Ride of Contemplation – Kashmir to Kanyakumari (K2K)
Day 1 (18-Dec-2023) – Lal Chowk Clock Tour, Srinagar: I started my ride in the cold mornings of winter in J&K @ 7:40 AM. It was a new Spine-Chilling moment for a cyclist from South India to encounter a freezing cold weather that was reading 4 Degree Celsius. First 100 KMS I was riding through military protected area and had to Hibernate my ride due to Army Convoy Crossing. This resulted in a delay of 1.5 hrs during that day. I ended up covering 222.10 KMS with 2523 Meters Elevation by travelling through tunnels & valleys and reached Jammu District.
Day 2 (19-Dec-2023) – Jammu District, J & K: Climatic condition in Day 2 was slightly better (7 Degree Celsius) compared to Day 1 in addition to food choices and availability. I had a chance to taste the Tea, Punjabi PaniPuri & Paneer Parotha which gave me the energy that I wanted for the ride. Decision of closing the ride for the day came @ 8:30 PM covering 281.35 KMS Scenic route with 1070 Meters Elevation and reached Ludhiana, Punjab.
Day 3 (20-Dec-2023) – Ludhiana, Punjab: Starting the ride by 5:30 AM with an inquisitiveness to reach the Capital of India, New Delhi. This time I had a chance to energize myself with some Orange Juice, Egg Burji & Paneer Roti with pickle. I have seen people saying not to waste Food which is Precious than gold. For a South Indian folk, a Staple Breakfast would comprise of Idly & Chutney. Being from South, I was mesmerized by seeing Idly in Delhi. However, ended-up paying INR 210 for a single Idly & Single Vada. Closed the ride by 1:30 AM on 21-Dec-2023 covering 310.72 KMS with 1229 Meters Elevation and halted in a Road Side Tea Shop in New-Delhi Outer Ring Road.
Day 4 (21-Dec-2023) – Tea Shop, New Delhi ORR: My Cell Phone Alarm helped me to wake up by 4:30 AM with a rest for just 3 hours. It was so cold during the early morning hours which urged me to sit before a camp fire which was already on duty to fight the cold. During my Brunch, I had Poori Sabzi with enchanting Punjabi music. Enroute Agra, In Mathura, I had Milk Peda and Andhra Masala Dosa. 264.24 KMS with an elevation gain of 889 Meters was the closing numbers for the day.
Day 5 (22-Dec-2023) – Agra, Uttar Pradesh: After covering 1000+ KMS within 4 days, I was restless & tired. This was one good reason for me to start my 5th day ride after 6:30 AM. I had my breakfast in Road-side Dhaba after completing 50 KMS for the day. Due to language barrier, I used Google translator to check the available menu in that Dhaba. This helped me in understanding the importance of being multi-linguistic. This was a complete windy day that drained my energy bit extra. I closed my Strava reading in Babina, Jhansi for the day by finishing 242.03 KMS averaging 20.9 KM/H with an elevation of 890 Meters.
Day 6 (23-Dec-2023) – Babina, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh: Ride was started @ 5:30 AM and was riding in Forest Area. I never imagined a ride in a forest area during the early hours of the day with
minimum visibility due to mist formation. During this day, I witnessed few herds of cattle and a container truck accident. After reaching Deori, Madhya Pradesh, I decided to close my ride by 10:30 PM, and due to unavailability of proper hotels, I had to rest in a liquor shop. My number for the day was 239.32 KMS with an elevation of 1262 Meters.
Day 7 (24-Dec-2023) – Deori, Madhya Pradesh: Starting time was @ 5:15 AM due to the happiness and Self Expectation that I will be reaching half the total distance once the day’s ride is completed. As usual, Breakfast & Lunch comprised of Chapati with Egg & Roti with Channa Masala respectively. After entering Maharashtra which is the largest producer of Sugarcane, I could sense the aroma of Sugarcane in the Highways. I was happy to taste the heavenliness of rice after 6 days by having Egg Rice for Dinner. My target was to reach Nagpur city on Day 7 Closure. But city was approximately 50 KMS away and at 1:15 AM on 25-Dec-2023. I closed my Day 7 ride in a Nagpur Highway Truck Permit Check-post and settled in a road side tea shop near Borda after reaching 287.03 KMS with an elevation of 1479 Meters from Deori.
Day 8 (25-Dec-2023) – Nagpur Highway, Maharashtra: Since I couldn’t catch-up with good sleep after Day 7 ride due to cold weather, I started my Day 8 ride @ 5:40 AM after prepping myself with the campfire for 30 minutes before the ride start. I could smell the fragrance of Vitamin C heavily and that was a clear confirmation that I have entered the City of Nagpur which is the largest producer of Orange. Apart from Oranges, the route was covered with Bougainvillea which gave an immense peace & colourfulness within me. Yet another milestone before completing K2K was the happiness of completing overall 50,000 KMS from Day 1 of my Cycling Regime. Bori was the place I decided to close the ride for the day after completing 230.87 KMS with 896 Meters elevation gain.
Day 9 (26-Dec-2023) – Bori, Maharashtra: Ride started by 5:40 AM from Bori and reached Telangana by 6:30 AM. At 7:45 AM I decided to have Poori & Masala Dosa as my breakfast in a road side shop. It is an unwritten rule that a cyclist should enjoy Headwind and Elevation during their ride. Yes, this time, it was a rolling terrain with an overall elevation of 1902 Meters for the day. This entire day was supported by morning carbs and lassi during my lunch. Due to hot Sun, I had to rest myself around 3 PM in a Church and again started the ride by 5:30 PM after deciding to do an overnight ride to catch up on the lapses. I have reached fringes of Hyderabad around 5:15 AM on Day 10 after covering 302.13 KMS from Bori. Entire Day 9 ride lasted for 23 Hours 49 Minutes & 10 Seconds which includes 3 hours of resting time.
Day 10 (27-Dec-2023) – Hyderabad, Telangana: Day 10 ride was started just after 45 minutes of the closing time of Day 9 ride by 6:00 AM. Due to Hallucination, Tiredness, Sleepless nights & traffic I was able to ride only 50 KMS by 11:00 AM including my breakfast time. While crossing Hussain Sagar Lake, I had an opportunity to see Buddha Statue inside the lake and Telangana Secretariat. Around 1 PM I cherished my lunch and took a rest for 3 hours under a neem tree in one of the road-side Dhaba.
I continued my Day’s ride around 6 PM to replicate Day 9’s strategy of overnight ride. During the overnight ride, I ensured that I provide enough caffeine to my body to manage the sleep. Total ride lasted for 24 Hours 57 Minutes & 8 Seconds and managed to complete 276.86 KMS by reaching Kurnool District by 6:45 AM on Day 11.
Day 11 (28-Dec-2023) – Kurnool, Telangana: Around 7:15 AM on Day 11 I started my ride and enroute to Bangalore, I was enjoying nutritious intakes like Palm Fruit, curd rice & lemon juice to cool down my body. I took a 5 hours rest in a hotel around 1 PM and resumed my ride by 6 PM approximately and completed the Day 11 ride by 7:00 AM on Day 12 covering a distance of 255.92 KMS. Total elapsed time was 23 Hours 40 Minutes & 41 Seconds while I could see the sign board of Chikkaballapur, Karnataka.
Day 12 (29-Dec-2023) – Chikkaballapur, Karnataka: “Even Eagles Need a Push” is a famous motivational book written by David McNally. Completion of Approximately 2900 KMS and easily superable unconquered distance of less than 800 KMS was a push & morale booster that motivated me to start the Day 12 ride immediately after closing my Day 11 ride by 7:05 AM. State Highway was filled with Path-holes and traffic which took almost 6 hours & 30 minutes for me to reach Hosur Highway @ 1:30 PM. Resting for a while was need of the hour and I recommenced my ride by 3:00 PM with full slope mode. I reached Salem by 12:00 AM on 30-Dec-2023 by crossing Thoppur Ghat Road known for worst road Accidents. This route is considered to be the most haunted road for any cyclist / rider. I closed my Day 12 ride with 261.86 KMS.
Day 13 (30-Dec-2023) – Salem, Tamil Nadu: After bidding adieu to Salem City, I started my ride by 5:45 AM with less than 500 KMS to complete my Dream Ride. I restrained myself by just eating half front till I complete my ride. I decided to energize my neuro system & rehabilitate my digestive system with Masala Dosa, Idly, Pongal, Vada & Poori for my breakfast. Aravakurichi to Vedasandur stretch was challenging due to body dehydration. Due to continuous rides for 13 days, I ended up getting delusions, anxiety and unwanted fear. From Tirunelveli, last 100 KMS to Kanyakumari was the longest highway which I encountered in these 13 days ride within any state across India. I was dazed to be welcomed by family members which came as a surprise package for me when I completed my K2K Ride with a cake cutting. This ride was the longest distance I covered during any day in this K2K Regime. Total distance that I conquered was 466.75 KMS with an elevation of 1491 Meters. Finally, my 13 days pain has yielded me the success fruit. I completed the Day 13 ride & K2K Ride by 7:40AM on 31-Dec-2023.
Returning Back to Chennai:
On 31-Dec-2023, I boarded the train back to Chennai with my family by 6:00 PM. Due to shortage of sleep for 13 continuous days, I ended up sleeping in train without even realizing the birth of New Year 2024. On 01-Jan-2024, by 6:30 AM, I deboarded the train. I was stunned to be received by my fellow cyclist from Ambattur with cake cutting.
Family & Well Wishers:
First of all, I would like to Thank my family who supported me during my Up’s & Down’s of my life. Though my family, especially my mother had her own reservations in terms of my safety during my endurance rides, she always motivated me and wished me a Luck at its best. The surprise package on Day 13 while completing the ride was planned by my brother and my sister-in-law together.
I was seeking the guidance for this ride from Mr. Robert Kingsley who is based out of Poonamallee, Chennai & Ms. Meera Velankar, who lives in Bangalore. They were the riders who completed the K2K ride in their Tandem Bike as a riding partner. Both Mr. Robert Kingsley (RK) & Ms. Meera Velankar (MV) shared their experience about the weather, terrain, climate and food. RK & MV has lot of accomplishments in their cap apart from becoming first Tandem riders to complete K2K ride in 18 days. In addition, MV was the selfless person who suggested me to try for a World Record completion while previous record was in 14 Days covering 3,650 KMS. MV guided me in registering with WUCA (World Ultra Cycling Association) which is connected with Guinness Book of World Records 30 days prior to start of my ride.
Prashant T (fondly known as Anna) from Trichy Randonneur has supported me with my nutrition & sponsored me a Jersey for this ride. In addition, he was going an extra mile by giving regular updates about the road conditions & locations. Prashant Anna is known for is wide network across India and he is well known for his hospitality.
Mr. Suresh, Owner of Pro-bikers has supported me with Jersey, Lights, Tyre & other service-related requirements. He also planning to facilitated me in his shop for this ride completion.
Thanks to WCCG (We Are Chennai Cycling), Bangalore Randonour’s, Trichy Randonour’s, Madurai Randonour’s, Madras Randonour’s, Team BCC, Motley Crew for supporting me throughout my cycling Regime for conducted various event.
Thanks to all the well-wishers and co-riders who supported me through out my cyclist regime till date.