The CEMS Blog

The official blog of Chennai Event Management Services

Malabar Rampage – 2010 ( Day 1- Day 7 ) April 9, 2010

Filed under: 1 — aravindbkumar @ 10:59 pm
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Day 1: Chennai , April – 02, 2010

Children and the Rickshaw

Rickshaws swarmed by Children

It’s the first day of the event, and after having done all the basic meet-and-greet stuff yesterday it’s time to get down to business as the participants are introduced properly to the art of rickshaw operation. Everyone gathers to be issued their badges, complete their registration, and get started on the training grounds. The Rickshaw Challenge series in previous years has simply had one massive block training  session, lasting from nine in the morning till five in the evening, which was fairly comprehensive. This year we’re splitting it into two sessions to make even more sure everyone is confident and safe in the saddle. Even though we’re meant to have reached the day’s destination by nightfall there is now a night driving training session too, just in case.

Our training ground is usually a playground for children, and pretty soon we are getting an even more accurate simulation of rally conditions as crowds gather to see the brightly painted rickshaws and cheer us on! Participants better get used to attracting a whole lot of attention over the next couple of weeks.

That evening its back to the Star Rock bar at The Spring Hotel, where there’s already a live band playing for us, and the teams start swapping rickshaw handling tips and party until the small hours.


Day 2: Chennai, April – 03, 2010

Rickshaw mobbed by kids

Kids mob the Rickshaw

The 2nd morning and it’s time for breakfast and briefings. Participants are out of bed and on their feet, out of the cool and into the heat! This isn’t actually Boot Camp though so even the training sessions are fun, with skills being sharpened and confidence boosted by games such as Rickshaw Tag. It’s all fun and games, and despite this being the wildest adventure around we all want to come through it safely so the training is comprehensive and the organisers are taking good care of everyone.

Later that day we take to the streets in the dark! By now all the teams are pretty much rickshaw ninjas, and even after driving around the infamous Chennai streets in the evening rush hour not a single traffic incident or even bump occurs. We are all now fearless three-wheeled road warriors – just bring us a continent to conquer! But first, beauty sleep.


Day 3: Chennai to Tiruvannamalai, April – 04, 2010

Rickshaw Teams All set to go

Teams All set

It’s the fourth morning and despite whatever times the teams eventually got themselves to bed, there’s not a single one of us who isn’t just itching to kick off this adventure properly. First things first – we are all taken to the Tuscana restaurant (one of the Rampages valued sponsors) and given a truly epic breakfast. The spread is in our honour, and we all eat as ravenously as the watching eye of the local press will allow.

By 9am we are already back at The Spring Hotel, where there is even more of the media lurking around to cover the big send off. The folks from Red Bull are also in attendance, which means free Samples for everyone! A little over and hour later and The Spring Hotel’s owner does us the honour of dropping the flag on the start of the 2010 Malabar Rampage! What roaring couldn’t actually be done by the modest tuk-tuk engines was more than made up for by the crowd and by the participants. We are a go!
Since its Sunday it’s a fairly gentle start to the rally, without too much in the way of crazy challenges (yet) or interfering traffic.  Everyone is at home behind the handlebars, and even the rickshaws are purring like the fine street-machines they are. The only vehicle to suffer any mechanical hiccups is that of Team 007 ‘The Travel Scientists’ manned by Aravind.
A gorgeous cruise and a fair few miles later and we all arrive into the Sparsa Resort Hotel, which is a beautiful sight even if we weren’t covered in dust by then. The pool was so big and so blue that everyone just fell right in as soon as we got there, and pretty much stayed right there until late that night. We have yet to do any of the high mileage stages, but we can already tell that having picked the right hotels is really going to pay off.
Day 4: Tiruvannamalai to Yercaud, April – 05, 2010
Teams in Harur

Teams regrouped at Harur

The fourth morning and its glorious – no one could have asked for better. Already the teams are hungry for ever greater things, and all are relishing the chance for a serious up-hill section into Yercaud. Bring us that mountain! It’s a real test of the rickshaws and the finer points of control, as the smallest mistake in taking a corner or choosing our line will really punish our speed. The Rampage is certainly not a race or a speed-based event, but when you’ve only got 7 horsepower to play with it will take a good long time to get back up to pace if we stop! The heat down at sea level was getting serious, so we’re all really glad of the cooling breezes we start to pick up as we climb higher – as are the overworked tuk-tuk engines! None the less, every vehicle performs like a trooper. All except Team 007 again!
Gang of rickshaws

A perfect pack

Technical problems or not, the teams are by now really relaxing into the pace of the rally – sometimes just pulling over for no reason than a good view, an inviting tea stall, or even just to catch a sunbeam and listen to the radio. Team 007 shows everyone how it’s done and kick back with the radio tuned up until the trusty support vehicle rolls around and everyone’s on their way again.

The Malabar Rampage has no need of the tourist trail or the beaten track! We are right of the map here and have taken a route that the organizers scouted out that not even many of the locals knew about. We are deep in the forest, right amongst the wildlife. The teams navigate around bison, get right up close with a whole ark of animals, especially with the great circuses of monkeys that follow and investigate us.
That evening we roll up to the Glenrock Estates where we’re going to be making our camp for the next couple of days – its 6000 feet above sea level by now and the view is just magnificent. The accommodation is a sort of a deluxe permanent tent, which give us all the fun of sleeping under the stars without having to forgo any of the creature comforts. It’s beautiful here.  Team 007 got there late thanks to technical trouble again. Aravind has started to mutter darkly about sabotage and conspiracies.

Day 5: Yercaud, April – 06, 2010

Free day activities

Flying Rickshaw squirrel

The next day we kick back here at Glenrock, gather our energy for the upcoming stages and challenges. It’s an amazing place – lush greenery, shady trees, and the host is a great guy too. Not that we’re being lazy though – oh no. The teams are way up in the trees navigating the Flying Squirrel course of ropes strung between the mighty trees, and learning how to abseil down them afterwards. Later on as the sun sets we gathered around a huge bonfire and light the barbeque. In the warm night we ate delicious fresh chicken, watched the evening sky and listened to the forest. As one of our participants said – life is strange, and good.


Day 6: Yercaud to Coimbatore, April – 07, 2010

Rickshaws in Yercaud

Rickshaw Lineup in Yercaud

The sixth day lies before us – and it’s a long way down from what feels like the top of the world! Waving goodbye to the Glenrock Estates it’s all downhill from here to Coimbatore, literally. The participants soon found out that they will have to be a team in more than just name, as navigating down a hill with hairpin bends in a three wheeled vehicle is a co-operative endeavour. The passengers now don’t just navigate, support, and manage the supplies – they have to make sure they shift their weight from side to side in the tuk-tuk to keep as much traction on the road as possible.  If you’ve ever watched the crew on a yacht leaning from side to side as the boat makes its turns, it’s a lot like that – just with far more hooting and yelling and laughing!
Rickshaw Roadies

Team 004 on the Go

The amazing ability for India to have completely different microclimates from one area to the next made itself clear to the teams when they got down into Coimbatore – going from the mountain cool into what can only be described as a furnace. Like sharks we all found that if we ever stopped moving we could hardly breathe, so we ate up the last few miles with whatever wind we could find in our hair. We pulled up to the Sabari Nest Hotel – it was almost strange to have solid walls and traditional plumbing again after sleeping under the stars. Not that anyone was complaining. The value of a place having and air conditioned bar made itself obvious to everyone!


Day 7: Coimbatore to Trissur, April – 08, 2010

Team Sporting a Beer Gut

Team Sporting a Beer Gut

The stage is only 118km today, so everyone’s taking it easy and really getting into the spirit of adventure.  From Coimbatore we crossed the range of hills and hit the full monsoon season waiting for us on the other side in Trissur. The locals might complain about the rain, but to us it was amazing and incredibly welcome, as even first thing in the morning Coimbatore felt like an oven. We attracted even more attention and cheers than normal, as every team was hanging out the sides of their crazy tuk-tuks soaking up the cooling rain. Over the last 300km we’ve gone through three completely different climates and three distinct cultures. No breakdowns today, except as ever Team 007 – The Travel Scientists. Their zebra painted rickshaw ‘Lucy’ was actually flying like a dream,  but the windscreen wipers left something to be desired, so they and just about everyone else took lots of stops for sweet coconut water and tea and chatting with the locals.
A proper finish

A day well done

By now the participants are all weaving through traffic and around potholes like they were born for it, partly due to the training and now a few hundred kilometres of experience.  We all got in to the Luciya Palace Hotel more or less on time, but all via quite different routes thanks to directions from very friendly, very enthusiastic, and very wrong locals. Everyone got it right eventually. If ever there was a perfect example of just how fast India moves, Team 001 ‘Sporting A Beer Gut’ provided it. Having missed their turning altogether they drove for kilometres down an unmade road and had to call the Support Vehicle to navigate their way back. When they were given directions and turned around to come back, the road had been completely paved!

One of the highlights of the rally so far has been Team 003 ‘Team Oz’, made up of Brett and Gina. Brett is your standard strapping, muscled, handsome Australian airline pilot , naturally enough for Qantas. If ever a team had a readymade catchphrase for the side of their tuk-tuk it’s surely ‘Qantas Never Crash’? It’s been great for for anyone on the rally to watch a man used to piloting a 400,000 lb. aircraft driving a tuk-tuk that weighs less than the on-board drinks trolley. He glides around with some quite startling grace and precision. You have to love the Malabar Rampage. Brett also got lost and overshot the target by 40km – which just goes to show that jet speed won’t help you here; it’s all about the adventure and the exploration.

Day 8: Thrissur to Cochin, April – 08, 2010

Tomorrow only 85km, which everyon feels Heading for the Hotel Hi- Fi and a party held for us by the Round Table India. We have gone from one coast to the other, and hope to stop to jump in the ocean.
All Pictures courtesy Krisztian ( Team Satellite Zero)

3 Responses to “Malabar Rampage – 2010 ( Day 1- Day 7 )”

  1. The best visitors we have had.It was fun.

  2. Tom Mariscal Says:

    Thank you for your wonderful skating tricks!

  3. Men and woman usually complain why they are not able to burn fat or have a better figure. The point is they always for a secret method which brings them what they really want in no time meanwhile all they need to do is reading good articles like this as well as do the training.

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