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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Write up Ainthinai Tree Walk @ MCC, Tambaram - 31 August 2014

Written by KR Lakshmi
31 Aug. 2014 7am: The day started off with a glorious weather and a hint of rain..

Enjoying the beautiful MCC campus as we awaited Dr. Narasimhan (specialization in Taxonomy, Ethnobotany and Medicinal plants), some of us took a walk, some chatted and so it began..
The tree walk started off in an anticlockwise direction, the Selaiur hall surroundings being the first spot.

As Dr. Narasimhan started off the tour,
Learning 1: Trees have a structure that should be appreciated! so we all looked at the tree structure for once, not focussing on flowers or colour as we typically do- the tree trunk, foliage, canopy and how the branches branched out in a specific shape (Y shape was this tree- Sweetunia...).
Now that we knew what aspects r to be looked at, off we went to the next spot near the Sun dial- and there it was- Albizzia lebbeck.The Tamil name for this tree is 'Vagai' associated with Victory.

Learning 2: There is a "value" shade which is different from any other shades offered by any other tree. Yes, the quality of shade that this tree offered was incomparable to the rest.
Learning 3: The funny and not so funny local names associated with the trees, some of it hardly relevant to the tree's characteristics.

The next tree(at) was the "in news" Red sanders (Pterocarpus..) and Prof. again explained why it would not be suited to cultivate this in Thanjavur soil. Looks China is in need of this tree in amazing quantities as it has quite some capabilities that are still not proven (like absorbing nuclear radiation!!), the Prof. explained.

By this time, the sun had really come up, but we hardly felt it as the campus trees offered lots of breeze. We moved on to the Science block and near Heber hall- for the Calabash tree and so on..We all got to sniff the exotic flower- Manoranjitham (Artabotris hexapetalus) and see an original Asoka tree(Saraca indica).

By this time, Prof. Subramanian graciously offered us breakfast that we enjoyed@ the students cafe.
Then,continued our tour to the R&D centre, got to see Alstonia scholaris, prevalent in areas like Palakkad ( the town derives its name from the tree which is locally known as 7leaved Palai), then the attractive Manjadi seed tree(adenanthera pavonina, considered a good luck tree.. ok to believe favorable myths J

A few more trees and then the tour ended, though the stretch of trees didnt..
Thanks to the volunteers of CTC and gracious Professors at MCC, the event turned out to be enjoyable and worthwhile!!
Thanks to the Photographers Kumarvel and Rameshkumar, photo Albums:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

CTC-Ainthinai : Besant Nagar - Ashta Lakshmi Temple, Beach CleanUp with Agility Logistics (29th Nov 2014)

[Written by Vinodh Sundar]

"Kuppai porukka poraangalam" a 70 yr old granny laughed uncontrollably after hearing our answer to the question of where we are headed this early on a sunday morning.
A local guy tried to explain her that this is something which is even done by school kids (like cleaning up of ponds in their locality) as part of their school NSS activities, but that granny was in no mood for listening.

She kept laughing uncontrollably repeatedly exclaiming "Kuppai porukka poraangalam". Being part of few cleanups in and around Chennai we are used to this kinda awkward situation, where you cant explain to someone what we are doing and why we are doing it. We couldn't do anything except showing our poker face to each other and proceeded to our target zone for cleanup that sunday, which is the beach behindAshta Lakshmi temple, Besant Nagar.

This cleanup was arranged by Agility Logistics (a software MNC in Chennai). All the volunteers were from their company. We from Ainthinai went to assist guide them in segregation of the garbage and handing them over to our recycling partner 'Earth Recycler'. They were around 180 employees from Agility Logistics, for most of them this cleanup was first of a kind activity. Nonetheless all were enthusisatic on the activity. With weather god supporting us for an awesome sunday morning in the beach, we got started with the cleanup.

Thanks to Nirmala, an employee of Agility and also a CTCian, who had made all the necessary arrangements. Everything was at place. She had made sure that all the things used were recyclable, from gloves to garbage collection bags. Her experience in CCC must have definitely helped her :).

All the volunteers were split into 4 zones covering the beach area behind the temple. The clean up was done exactly per guidelines used in CCC, garbage were collected into three categories (Plastics, glass and others). Initially we all the got the weird look from the locals around there, but as the time went by few kids who were playing cricket there came and joined us in collecting the garbage.
After about an hour and a half of cleaning, we took a break for refreshments. During this recess, Ainthinai's official 'spokes-person' Sindhu gave a little but inspiring speech on CTC activities and Ainthinai's initiatives to a green environment. Many employees of Agility showed real interest in our activities and invited us for a presentation in their company for sharing more details on our activities to all the employees there.

After the break, we proceeded for the final phase of clean-up, where we planned to clean up a green covered area which had lots of plastics. The clean-up went for another hour. Meanwhile we started loading the collected garbage into our recycler's truck.
Post event we had a small discussion between people from top management of Agility and Earth Recyler. Result of which Agility's management have came forward to intiate the idea of recycling their daily garbage collected in their office, through Earth Recycler.
A special thanks to Rameshkumar here for covering the event with his camera, inspite of the very short notice.
P.S : Kuppai porukka poraangalam - this literally translates to "These guys gonna collect garbage" in English, but trust me it will sound way funnier in Tamil, plus that granny's expression :|

Team Ainthinai 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Chennai Iron Triathlon, Dec 20th - Full, 3/4, Half Iron and Olympic

Event Summary
  • Event Chennai Iron Triathlon
  • Date Dec 20th Saturday (13th edition)
  • Location Chennai 
  • Organizer - Chennai Trekking Club 
  • Objective - non-profit event to promote sports, active lifestyle, health
  • Categories Olympic, Half Iron, 3/4 Iron, Full Iron
  • Swimming - open waters (only excellent swimmers allowed)
  • Registration Olympic - 400Rs, Half Iron - 500Rs, 3/4 Iron - 600Rs, Full Iron - 700Rs (includes refreshments, sandwich, medal)
  • T-shirt - Optional - 300Rs (Kalenji)
  • Students - 150Rs discount (all categories)
  • Timing - Reporting: 5:30am, Start 6am
  • Entrance Criteria -  To ensure safety only excellent swimmers are allowed: should have completed Olympic 1.5K swim in max 1 hour or Sprint 750m swim in max 30min
  • Safety - organizers discretion to (1) eliminate registrations with insufficient swimming credentials + (2) remove participants on event day facing difficulty during swimming
  • Stay - free overnight stay near venue

Event Categories

This edition of the triathlon will include 4 categories/levels:

  • Olympic - 1.5K swim, 40K cycle, 10K run - average timing: 5 hours, cut off timing: 6 hours
  • Half Iron - 1.9K swim, 90K cycle, 21K run - avg: 8 hours cut off:10 hours
  • 3/4 Iron - 2.9K swim, 135K cycle, 31K run - avg: 12 hours cut off: 15 hours
  • Full Iron - 3.9K swim, 180K cycle, 42K run - avg: 17 hours cut off: 20 hours
Enticer/Sprint categories are not be included this time. These will be covered in the next edition.

Triathlon sections:

  • Swimming - 150m laps in open waters with safety rope
  • Cycling - Old Mahabalipuram Road - suitable for road bikes
  • Running - 7K double loop on tar/hard sand road (aid station every 3K)

Finish timings and rankings will be published according to to gender and age:

  • Open (16-42 years)
  • Veteran (43-53 years)
  • Senior veteran (54-63 years)
  • Super veteran (64-74 years)
Safety Partner - Bay of Life 

Cycle Partner - Pro Bikers

Links & Contacts

About Chennai Trekking Club

The Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) is a volunteer based, non-profit outdoor group. With 23 thousand members and hundreds of outdoor and sports events organized throughout the year it’s one of the largest and most active groups in South India. Weekly events include trekking, cycling, biking, running and triathlonsThe group is active in environmental conservation – on June 6th, 6000+ volunteers participated in the Chennai Coastal Cleanup across 10 cities in South India in association with The Hindu. On September 7th 2014, 1200 runners participated in the third edition of the Chennai Trail Marathon - a multi-terrain trail challenge and first Ultra distance run near Chennai. CTC has organized 12 Triathlons including the Full Iron distance Triathlon in Dec 2013 – one of India’s first. CTC organized the Javadhu Hills Ultra run on Nov 2nd, 2014 in which 200 hill trail ultra runners participated. The group has been featured in more then 180 media publications.

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Completed CTC Triathlons