The Bulldog’s First Race

The Race:
The count down for the flag-off started. The Bulldog was ready at the start line. ‘3-2-1-Go’ came the shout from the volunteer at the start line. The Bulldog jumped into action. “Hey take it easy now. There is some 22km to go. We got to pace ourselves.” I told it. It slowly settled into a rhythm and began to move swiftly. 

The Bulldog set its eye on the rider in front of it(It was a staggered start with 30sec gap between the riders. The Bulldog started 10th). Ever so slightly it tried lifting the tempo trying to bridge the gap. “Buddy, its a race against ourselves. Not against anybody else. Go steady now.” I chided it. It seemed to have relaxed into its own rhythm again and began to march ahead. It slowly crossed the rider in front and there seemed to be a spring in its step. I urged it to save energy for the return leg. As it made progress we went past another rider and then another. 

The road was slightly undulating but appeared mostly downhill on the way out. But the headwinds were steady and seemed to be negating the slightly downward slope of the course. As we approached the halfway mark, around four or five riders have already turned and were on the return leg of the race. By the time the Bulldog made its way to the turn around point, there was a truck behind and we had to overshoot the U-turn to let the truck pass. The return leg had started and with it, for us, the real race. 

The Bulldog progressed still with a spring in the step and now it could see a small yellow dot in the distance. The dot seemed to be climbing up and then disappeared into the horizon. As the Bulldog made its way up the little ascent in the road and started descending, it could again see the yellow dot far off. By now it seemed intent to catch that yellow target and ever so slightly lifted the tempo. It made steady progress bridging the gap by a few meters by every passing minute. Slowly it went past its target as it made it to the last ascent before three kilometers from the finish line.

The last three kilometers till we reached the finish line was a breeze with the slight downhill and a bit of tailwind. I decided to let the Bulldog do its thing and gave it all and within no time we went past the finish line glowing in the cheers of the friends. I got down and patted the Bulldog on a job well done.

As The Day Started…
As Sunday began, the plan was just to do an easy ride with a couple of friends who were new to cycling, before going to watch the BBCh Team Time Trails. While riding to get there, I tried interval efforts first time(30sec hard efforts followed by 1minute easy workouts). As my friends were understandably a bit slow with one of them riding an MTB, going ahead with 30 sec hard efforts and riding back towards them with easy efforts were a good way for me to get some good workout in while still giving them some company. The interval attempts seemed to have loosened the legs after the hard ride with Shankar Jayaraman from the day before. 

We rode some 46km before getting to the starting point of the race. I met a lot of friends at the race. I had no intention of riding the race but just signed up for the individual Time Trail as I saw some of my friends do it just like that. 

Someone said the best way to watch a bike race is to be riding it. I wanted to see if it is true and I have to say that I completely agree after my first participation in a race. It was a treat watching the Team Time Trail riders wizz past from the opposite direction. I think, I might sign up for more races like this just to get a chance to see the great riders in action from up close. It is really a treat to watch them giving it all and fly by in the race.

After saying my goodbyes to the friends there, I started riding back with Deepak and Kalkat. It was great riding with both of them after a long time. Deepak’s Surly LHT looks amazingly good!  

DocD still in his touring mode came for a morning ride like I did to see the races. Chatting up here with Dr.Arvind and Gaurav of Spectrum Racing!

The Result:
As I reached home and started freshening up, Akshay called and I heard, “Dude!!! Where are you?” “I’m home, man” “Dude!!! You came in second in ITT!!” “Hey, stop kidding, dude!” “No, seriously! What was your timing?” “I didn’t check, yet.” “Hey, check the timing and confirm” When I downloaded the Garmin activity onto my computer, the Garmin lap showed 44:24 for 22.1 kms. After confirming my bib number as well, Akshay confirmed that the Bulldog had the 2nd best time for the Individual Time Trail and asked me to pick up the medal from him. 

With Dad’s first medal from his first race! He coyly says that most of the main riders were busy riding the Team Time Trial and thanks his Bulldog for being the great bike it has been! 🙂

KYNKYNY Wheelsports guys won the first place in the Team Time Trail with Cleated Warriors coming in Second and Team Spectrum in the third place. Guys from Veloscope photography did a great job making us all feel like we were participating in TDF like event with their great coverage.

Individual Time Trial Results. Team Time Trial results in the Picasa Album link below.

It was a great ride for me and the Bulldog with a few first time experiences like trying intervals, participating in our first race and its first podium finish.

Here are a few more photos:    

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