My Experiences During the Full Throttle Challenge

I’ll kick this off with a small introduction. I am Sairam Venkatram aka ICE MAN, a nickname that was inspired by a character from the 80’s blockbuster movie TOP GUN. The famous line “Ice cold no mistakes” exemplifies a “never say die” fighter attitude that I seek to emulate. I am 43 yrs young and South Bangalorean, an avid biker and adventure seeker with a “live and let live” philosophy.

Rains had been pounding Namma Bengaluru for 8 weeks straight, so this epic ride was already a challenge considering the weather, not helped by a monsoon depression that hit on the day before my departure. Still, the clock was ticking, and the day had arrived (30th Oct 2022), so I formally decided to kick off this Post Diwali Pataka ride.

My soul had one motive: to finish the challenge without any hassles. I buckled up the saddle and geared up, riding from my home in Jayanagar to the start point “KAYPRYM FUEL STATION” Hari nagar next to “ASURA GARAGE”. I was welcomed by my witness for the ride, MR. VEPAVI, the veteran himself, with a notepad and some encouraging words prompting me to go for it.

The ride kicked off by 5:15 AM as clocked at the bunk. It was a chilly morning, cold, and light intermittent showers. The first stop was about 150 kms, as advised by my mentor, which I timed at Shell. Sira quickly wrapped in like less than two hours, some light stretches post fuel stop, and I was ready to storm ahead. Fortunately, the weather gods were on my side to make this challenge a success.

I was breezing ahead with no shortcomings. As suggested, I had some protein bars/Gatorade/dry fruits packed to counter fatigue. Cruised past Hiriyur-Chitradurga-Davangere-Ranebennur-Byadgi and made another pit stop at Haveri where I did an air check and some quick stretches for the mind and body.  The next stretch was a challenge since the highway is a little tricky from Hubli to Dharwad. Hit the toll at Hubli, took some quick pics as proof, and set sail. I was on a single lane highway patch enroute to Dharwad countering trucks and local traffic being a Sunday. A pit stop at Shell Heggari at Dharwad next to the world-renowned Mishra Peda factory outlet. Took a quick breather with some Odo checks as advised at all fuel stops. I said, “Here I come, Belagavi”, set my eyes on the city, and cruised past Kittur, looking ahead at our border stop, Nippani. I enjoyed the beautiful roads from Belagavi, the landscapes making me feel like I was on a Moto GP track doing corners like Mark Marque himself, then passed through Sankeshwar and hit the Hattargi toll gate. I was nearing the Kognoli toll plaza, where I had a small pit stop and took some quick pics. I said, “Jai Maharashtra, here I come!”

There was no looking back now. I had touched base in the state where my milestone was awaiting. Kolhapur welcomed me with loads of local traffic being a Sunday, and I had to adjust to new driving styles with sugar cane trucks and two wheelers breezing past. My pace had slowed from around 70-75 kms from 120. I had another pit stop at Reliance British petroleum where I was promised better mileage, which turned out to be true.

The heavy traffic continued as I entered Karad, forcing me to lower my speed all the way to Satara. The day was scorching as I passed through Khandala-Shirwal, not helped by the crazy traffic at tolls. I kept pushing, my jacket soaked in sweat and covered in sand, telling myself to give it my all till I hit my destination.

Finally arrived at the Varve Pune pit stop at Shell, half the distance covered in close to 11 hrs. Had to get some air, sat down at the café and took off my jacket, treating myself to a well-deserved 30 minute break. I had a Red Bull and Snickers and replenished my supplies, continuing my journey just as the sun was setting.

My ride thus far had been full of surprises, though I stayed focused on my goal to reach the destination. I cornered the ghats with no gear slippage, and I was bang on target, continuing on to the next town. Unfortunately, the traffic wouldn’t slow down. I passed back through Satara, took a short break at Karad and a pit stop at Kolhapur. I methodically kept track of my progress, saving my fuel slips as proof. I was now looking forward to reaching our Karnataka border., countering traffic from oncoming roads, feeling confident as I surged ahead. I was back at cruise speed as I reached the border town. The next thing I knew, I was back in my home state.

Following that, the tarmac opened up, the MH traffic died down, and I was in full throttle mode, hitting speeds close to 120 kph. Kept pushing, sailed through the well lit “Vidhana Soudha” of Belgaum, reaching the Dharwad toll. This is where it was challenging for me, as it was a long stretch with no lights and the glare from oncoming headlights made it even more difficult to see. Lowering my speeds, I braved this stretch, finally reaching the Hubli toll gate. I had to find another pit stop, as my fuel was getting low in my body needed a break. Stopped at Shell Hubli, had a Red Bull and some wings, then stretched and performed routine checks before I set off again.

Good roads and pleasant nighttime weather made the next part of my journey a cakewalk. I cruised past small towns and Davangere, making another pit stop at Chitra Durga. It was a little past one when I set off again, and I was on track, though I had a scare when I nearly ran out of fuel. I had to wake security to fill up my tank, then took off for the final leg of my journey.

My body fluids were depleting, my vision blurry, exhaustion settling in. I pushed myself to keep going, getting my focus back, refusing to give up as I sped toward Tumkur. Within I was beaming, anxious to finish this epic ride… I approached our city limits of Nelamangala, excited to realize I was almost there.

I made it into the city, nearing our Parle G toll and making a right towards Nagarbhavi. The clock was ticking and I kept pushing ahead, looking for the elusive 24hr bunk for the final pit stop so I could clock my time and call myself a “badass rider”. Finally, I hit the “Deva Gowda“ petrol pump at 3.50 AM. I punched the final slip, sighing in relief. I had clocked 1685 within 24 hrs.

“Bravo”, I told myself, feeling grateful to all my well-wishers for supporting me in this challenge. I headed home  with great satisfaction and brimming with confidence. “Never say die” attitude was justified, and this journey came to an end with great learning and hardship. Challenge successfully completed… “HAR HAR MAHADEV” more to come in the future!


good evening sir,

am Aravind from Kochi, Kerala. your story of the ride is very inspirational. i would like to attempt the same. could please provide me any guidance. Will LDR accept our Indian rides these days, just the way they accepted yours.

Love to hear back from you at the earliest.

Certainly bro, I was off the grid you could reach out to me and I would be more than happy to help. cheers.

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