"Chandigarh is covered in a haze that is normal for the end of the monsoon." And with a gentle thud, a brief float and another thud, we were on the ground. As we rushed to vacate the runway to allow an Indian Air Force IL-76 to take off, the phone rang.
"Six Centuros await you sir!" It's always a good day when you land in a new place and there are six motorcycles waiting for you. How are the motorcycles? "Terrific sir, they're all brand new." Well, it gets better.
The rest of the day went by in a rushed blur. There were number plates to be put, papers to be checked and some OVERDRIVE-style decoration to be completed. That done - thank you Chandigarh Auto Care, you guys are terrific - we raced to a superstore to pick up supplies. Going to Ladakh is always an exercise in planning for a contingency.
Joshua Crasto, a long term friend of OVERDRIVE, Garage 52's ultra-dictator and Rise Above Ride planner man's idea of a contingency was staggering. Picture a full-size shopping cart full of chocolates, instant noodles and I kid you not, 40 litres of water.
Meanwhile back at our base, the ever-lovely Park Plaza in Zirakpur, more Rise Above Riders were arriving - you'll meet them shortly. The people you know are our ace photographer and video guy, Suresh Narayanan. Ensuring he gets his cameras filled to the brim was Alan D'Cruz and on the bikes were Joshua, me and Jamshed Patel. Plus our guests.
After a long conversation about the riding day ahead, everyone went to their rooms to catch some sleep.Tomorrowwas going to be a long day. An early start would see us race up the mountains on our Mahindra Centuros to Manali, over 300km distant. The ride was going to be relatively easy but the aim was to get the riders to understand their new machines, figure out the dynamic of riding in a group and of course, have a great riding day.
And now, since it is three hours before my alarm goes off so that I can start getting ready to ride, kindly excuse while I catch forty winks.
Images: Suresh Narayanan
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