So the day one was loads fun and a bit of pain (in terms of bad roads towards the end). At the end of the day when the results were announced the guys flocked the results sheet like a bunch of school kids looking up the results of their school final exams. The nervousness and the excitement were very apparent. It was fun to watch the roadie speak going around following the results. “The legs weren’t there today”, which probably meant, “But, I was still good enough to drop you”. “Hey, its okay you’ll do better tomorrow”, probably meant, “I will do even better and will still drop you tomorrow”.
Just before having breakfast, I’ve changed the tire on the Bulldog’s front wheel as well. So Gaurav(The Rocket) now has no spare tires as I usurped both his Rubino pros. Hopefully he won’t need any until supplies arrive in a couple of days at Ooty where a few friends are joining for a shorter ride. Now the Bulldog, as Arvind says, has got new set of paws. Nice red tires to go with the frame. It should become faster. Right? 🙂
Today being a relatively shorter ride (118km), we started around after the breakfast. As we navigated out of Mysore a strong bunch of guys formed the front bunch and began to pick up pace. I tired to stay with them for a while but hammering right from the start didn’t sound like a good idea and I decided to stop and wait for Baba Velo and group after around 20km. The group comprised of Raj, Rakesh, Sumit, Vandit, MarkH and Maninder. I joined them we rode at a very easy pace and stopped at support station one.
After quick refreshments there, we proceeded to the next support station which was also the start of the competitive section. We rode at an easy pace till around 8-10km before the time station and then Baba Velo, Rakesh, Sumit and MarkH took off for a mini TT style warm up for the actual Time Trial. By the time I got to the time station they were all pumped up and ready to start the race.
Based on Baba Velo’s strategy, we’ve decided to start in the reverse order of yesterday’s timings so that when each of us start with a minute gap of each other we would act as a carrot for the guy at the back thus improving chances of everyone doing well. Rakesh started before Vandit and after that the planned start for Ameet and I got delayed. So after a bit of gap, Abhilesh started followed by Ameet and then I started. Gaurav started later followed by MarkH, Arvind, Shankar and Baba Velo (might not be that exact order, but you get the idea!).
The initial 3-4kms was really tough with strong headwinds and very rolling terrain. The legs seemed to be showing the effects of being in the front for too long before the CS section even though it was at a very easy pace. It took a while for me to find the rhythm and the legs to feel better. Then I slowly started seeing a guy at the front and the gap slowly reduced till I went past him. It was Abhilesh. Then I went past Balu and I could see Ameet a few hundred meters ahead. I kept going steadily and by the time we got to around 4km from the finish, I was with in 5 meters of Ameet. I thought of grabbing his wheel but then quickly remembered the ‘No drafting’ rule and moved away. He saw me and ramped up his effort and the gap increased again on a downhill just before the finish. The course was really tough with lots of headwinds and around 200m of elevation gain.
As I was sitting there cooling off, Gaurav arrived followed by Shankar, Mark and Baba Velo. You should see Raj at the finish. The effort he put in was clearly visible in the way he was panting. I think very few people put themselves through such immense pain voluntarily as competitive cyclists do. Whatever level of competition it may be. Raj looked totally spent coming in with a time of 38 mins 31 secs in some really tough conditions. After a few minutes Mark Anderson(yesterday’s winner/Blue jersey holder) came in with 38 mins 55 secs. He lost 24 seconds today but still remains the leader of the General Classification. Vicki again nailed it with a 43 min 23 secs finish.
After the competitive section was done, Baba Velo, Rakesh, Sumit, Vandit, Gaurav, Arvind, Shankar and I started riding at an easy pace towards Hassan. Vandit decided to take it even easier and we moved ahead after riding sometime with him. Towards the end it was Raj, Rakesh, Sumit, Ravi, Shankar and I who rode together to get to our hotel in Hassan.
Vandit, Rakesh and Ravi on the route to Hassan..
The route to Hassan had very good roads and excellent scenic beauty on both sides. The whole route is a very rolling terrain. There are quite a few deceptive climbs at 4-5% grades taking us into Hassan.
After reaching the hotel around , we immediately raided the restaurant and I ate like I saw food for the first time in days. Some had milk shakes, some had recovery shakes while a few started their recovery with beers along with lunch.
Tomorrow is going to be a long and hard ride(Hassan-Madikere) with a CS on a climb after riding around 170 kms.
After finishing 14th on day 1, I did a little better by finishing 13th on day2:
And moved up 2 positions to end up 12th in GC at the end of day2: