Racing Against Time and Muscling Against Slopes

Looking at the title if you were expecting a write up from Lance Armstrong or someone, it’s only natural. But, no, it’s just a fancy title for the weekend ride I did today. This is how it went.

An occasional laziness has it benefits. That’s what I learnt today because it helped me reach my best average speed. I missed my 4:30 alarm today and dozed off till 5am. I had to be at Necklace road for our usual Sunday morning ride by 6am. The group would push off by 6:10 sharp. By the time, I could start off it’s already 5:40am. I did my calculations and left a quick message to Habib that I will be delayed by 5 minutes and should reach there by 6:15am. That would mean that I would have to cover the 18km to our meeting spot in 35minutes at around 31kmph or average speed. It might be not much for a lot of experienced riders here, but, that would be more than 10% jump from my previous best of 28kmph avg.

The Nokia Sports tracker on my phone takes a couple of minutes initially to find satellites and lock onto them. I could not wait till the GPS finds the satellites and started off thinking at least the timer would give the time and I could make the calculations myself. It’s the thought that I should not be the one, who would keep our group waiting instead of riding, that spurred me on. I chose to take a much flatter route of Kukatpally-Panjagutta-Necklace road so that I could focus on maintaining a steady cadence. I just gave my body a couple of minutes of warm-up time before I hit the high gears and began to grind away.

Ten minutes into the ride, I was crossing Kukatpally and I began panting a bit, and it was not even one thirds into the ride. “Come on buddy, you got to do it. Otherwise, you are going to make Wing Commander Ramany garu of all people, wait. Even at the age of 54, he is always on or before time. You got to learn something from knowing all these people. Come on”, I egged myself on. I took on the Moosapet flyover at a decent speed thanks to the steady cadence that I was maintaining.

Twenty minutes into the ride, I was entering S.R. Nagar area and kept geeing myself up despite finding it hard to keep up the pace. Thankfully, the time of day was on my side although the time itself was not. At that hour of the day, there is hardly any traffic apart from the occasional lorry or RTC bus. But they are enough to slow you down when you are racing against time. “Come on big guy, give me way”, I almost shouted but thankfully it did not make it out of my mouth when a lorry and an RTC bus blocked my way at Panjagutta NIMS. I had to brake after all and I maneuvered to go past the behemoths on the road.

Thirty minutes and I was climbing the Kairatabad flyover. I kept egging myself on as I grinded away to maintain the cadence. My cell rang right at the top of the flyover and as expected it was Habib. I reached the group waiting at Prasad’s IMAX. Total time 00:32:47, distance 16.56km, Avg Speed: 30.3kmph, Max 46.3kmph. We have to add at least one more kilometer to the total distance as the GPS did not get the satellites at the start but the timer keeps ticking. That would mean that the average speed was nearly 33kmph. But I can settle with 30.3kmph as well, as this the first time I achieved that on a ride that spans more than half an hour. My next target is to hit 30kmph for a one hour ride. I know it’s not much, compared what the guys here do very casually, but then that would be a great short term target for me.

There was a new entrant to the group this week too and it is Mr. Deenanath this time. He arrived there from Kondapur much before me and was waiting along with Habib, Nimesh and Ramany garu. When I offered my apologies to the group for being late, I received a very flattering compliment from Ramany garu. He said, “It’s always worth waiting for you Venky”. Well, by this, I gathered that apart from being very punctual, he is also a generous man. J We moved for a serene lap around the lake. The atmosphere was fantastic for the ride with the overcast skies leaking a bit with a slight drizzle at a point.

As most of us had some work or the other to attend to, we decided against any exploring around the area and decided to head towards our respective homes after just a lap. Deenanath and I took the Panjagutta-KBR Park-Hitech city-Kondapur route. As, we did not do any great distances on this ride, I was delighted with the idea of taking on the climbs the route had to offer.

The first climb was on the road besides Taj Krishna. It was a killer climb of sorts for me. Though it was may be a little over half a kilometer, it was quite steep. I quickly dropped to lower gears and tried maintaining a steady cadence but half way through the climb I had to stand up and grind away to take it on and tame it. Deenanath was doing the same and he was right behind me. It was tough but we made it. We just stopped for a minute in front of Taj Krishna for a bit of water and to get ready for the climb ahead.

The next one was from Nagarjuna circle to KBR Park. This one would be around 2 km or more of steady climb with climbs from moderate to steep spread across the distance spaced with some minor flat stretches. It got to be easier to take them on, on a road bicycle like mine, or, I am sure I would have ended up going backwards. What’s admirable was Deenanth was taking them on quite easily on his MTB. That must speak something about his fitness levels. We kept grinding away and reached KBR Park where we stopped one last time before heading towards Hi-tech city.

There were a couple of climbs on that route as well but were not much of a challenge in terms of gradient or distance they had to offer. So, we reached Hi-tech city area quite easily and we parted ways at Kondapur signal. Deenanath headed homewards towards botanical gardens and I headed toward Miyapur.

Lessons learnt: Wake up late and then hurry to get your best averages (he he.. just kidding); We usually tend to underestimate what we are capable of and tough times tend to bring out the best in us(too deep huh!!? 😉 ).

Total ride distance: 46km

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