Bison Ultra 2023 Run diary
Location: Yercaud hills, Tamil Nadu, India
Elevation: approx 1100 mt - 1500 mt : elevation gain ~ 1500 mt
Distance: 50KM [Strava] [Certificate]
Date: 10th Sept 2023
Preparation: For preparation of Bison Ultra 2023 50K I just followed my daily workout i.e. a mix of cycling, running, and strength workouts. No custom training plan, my last long run was Ooty ultra 30K in April. You can read my blog post on Ooty Ultra 2023 here
Travel: I and Suresh started around 6 a.m. in the morning and later picked up Mey and Lamxi near the SilK board junction on Hosur Road. Our first stop was Shree Savarna Bhawan, near Krishnagiri, for breakfast. We tried mini tiffin, idly, mini dosa, and uttpam. We loved the Tamil-style sambhar and filter coffee. The next stop was the Tata Motors show room at Salem for charging our EV. The people at the showroom were very friendly. It was warm weather at Salem, so we took some rest while our car was on charge. We also took a test drive of some of the EV vehicles from Tata. I am really impressed by Tata Group’s commitment and future planning for the EV push. We were supposed to have lunch at Salvi Mess (recommended by Mey), but later felt that due to the heavy breakfast and heat in Salem, we decided to start climbing towards the Yercaud Hills. We just had a quick coconut break before entering the hills. Our running start point and stay were 8–10 KM’s ahead of Yercaud town. We reached around 4 p.m. at Last Shola, which was on the way to Heavens Lodge (our stay and bib collection place). There we met coach Kay (the organiser) and many other runners having lunch. We were also hungry, so we quickly had food that was available to them (though a bit costly, but understandable as we had not given prior notice). Overall, our travel was good; we had a good charge in an EV after reaching Yercaud.
Stay: Heavens Lodge Cottages, Yercaud. Newly built cottages with a beautiful valley view of the Krishnagiri area
Before night, I was in doubt about whether I should wear my Luna sandals for the run or normal shoes. For almost the last year, I have done most of my runs in sandels, so that was my first choice. Anyway, I was carrying basic walking shoes (actually, not even suitable for running). After checking with some runners who have done this trail in the past, I decided to go with shoes but kept my Luna in an extra bag (I thought it would change at the 25 km mark). But my decision to use shoes was very good, though initially I was not very comfortable during downhills because of the fear of slipping, but slowly I tuned my mind not to think much about that aspect and focused on the route, which eventually helped me. Coming to route, it’s beyond words; most of the part of route was trail, only some road streched but very calm remote village roads. Voulteers has done a great job of setting up water points, but it was not easy. Lunch at 25–26 km was great: Idli, Sambhar, and Chutney, very nice and light. There was a small loop of 3–4 km at the lunch point. Initially, I was thinking of having food after completing the loop, but Jay, with whom I chipped in somewhere after 8–10 km, advised having food first, then entering the loop, which indeed was a very good decision, and we were already tired, and solid food was very much needed. btw, Jay is an accomplished runner (has done border 100 KM). After the sun was fully up, we entered the road. I tried to run with Jay, and later we were joined by another runner, Anant Kansal (a Ladakh marathon finisher), who was also running at a similar pace. After 8–9 km of road, our final climb of 10–11 km started, which was tough and grueling. We tried to climb together and were finally able to finish just before the cut-off time. Suresh was there at the finish line to motivate us to cover the last couple of hundred meters.
This was a small event in comparison to other running events, but the challenges were much greater because of the terrain and remote access. Coach Kay has done his best to organize, and I must congratulate him. The food was simple and nice. The location of the stay, especially Heavens Lodge, was superb, though some runners also stayed in Last Shola, which was our starting point. The finish line was at Heavens Lodge. So we walked about a kilometer in the morning to the start line.
Trail shoes or shoes with good grip are a must-have; no experiment with minimalist or barefoot.
If you are used to gel, it is better to plan for the road part so that you can save some time.
Walking sticks are good to have, but you can fetch a wooden stick in the forest itself; btw, it helped me a lot during the climb.
Try to run in a small group or with at least one person (very important). This will help you stay on course and not get demotivated. Also, if possible, add the map of the route to your watch; this will also help you stay on course.
Big no to headphones and even using a camera while running. Your focus should completely be on the group to avoid stones and other objects. There are chances of falling, so be very careful.
Last but not least, if you’re not feeling well or injured, don’t think twice before calling for help.
We had a lot of fun together, and the overall experience was phenomenal!
This was a brief overview of our Bision trip ultra run. I hope to revisit it in 2024.
Feel free to write in at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment here in case you wish to share your own experiences or need more info.
Happy to help!
Finally, here are some pics from our trip ( I, Suresh, Mey and Laxmi (Lucky)):
Our road trip route
Start at home
Start with Suresh
Drive to Yercaud
Mini tiffin breakfast at Shri Sharvana Bhavan, near Krishnagiri
Route to Salem
EV charging at Tata Motors, Salem
Coconut break en route before entering the Yercaud Hills
Our stay in a beautiful place
Enjoying evening tea
Lucky in deep thoughts
Sunset view from Heaven’s Lodge
Beautiful Valley View
Beautiful area outside our stay
Evening at Heavens Lodge with runners
Relax evening at Heavens Lodge
Ultra team at bib collection
At the Bib Expo
Group pic with coach
Sun-protection gear trial
Lucky’s mobile love :-) relaxed evening
Bison Ultra 50K route
50K elevation profile
at the start line
Ready for the run
First climb – Beautiful view
With 25K runners
Climb and Sun
At 12KM stop
Beautiful temple en route
much-needed break. - Guava
This guy helped us make a stick
en route fun
Our hero Boy
My running partner
Final downhill with Jai
Final steps to finish line
Medal pic solo
Medal pic with Jaisingh
With Coach Kay
before leaving Heaven’s Lodge
Met podium finishers on return
I loved the customized medal with my name on it!