Team Against The Clock- BBCh TTT

5km to go. One last incline to go. One last push. “If you can dig deeper, if you can push yourselves harder, the time is NOW!”, the mind kept screaming at me. “Come on guys, keep pushing!” I screamed. Or, so I thought! 2km to go. No time to worry about the heart that is about to explode or the lungs that are about to burst. Push.. Push.. Push.. It is the time to switch the afterburners on. 500 meters to go. Go.. Go.. Go.. Each second felt like an eternity. Everything seemed to be moving in ultra-slow motion. With nothing more left to give, we sprinted to the finish line together. Suffered. Spent. And satisfied.


Yes, “We Came, We Rode, We Conquered.” So did everyone on the day!  


A Team’s Race Against The Clock!
It was that time of the year again and it was time for the Team Time Trial(TTT) at BBCh. Last year’s TTT trail was my first ever race. Since I was not part of any team at that time, I ended up riding the Individual Time Trial(ITT). That race gave me my first BBCh medal when I sneakily finished second in ITT, when all the big boys were busy in TTT. This year, I’m part of a team, Spectrum racing. Also the BBCh organizers have decided not to conduct ITT and stick to just TTT.   

Cleated Warriors who are responsible for this race selected a great route for the TTT. The Old Madras Road(OMR) after Hoskote has decent wide shoulder, very few intersections and zero speed breakers. Great for a good hard race. All the teams descended in front of Emerald Isle resort on OMR and were raring to go by 7am on Sunday. Guys without teams formed on the spot teams and decided to participate in the race. That’s the spirit which makes any BBCh event such great fun to be at.

A Perfect Start – NOT:
Mohan Kumar(The Demon), Gautam Raja(Minkey Chief), Saravanan(Saru, The Hosurasur), Shankar Jayaraman, Ameet Bhide, Dr. Arvind Bhateja and myself, were lined up for Spectrum racing team. We were first to go. The count down began, 3..2..1.. Go! 

Click.. click.. click. The cleats went in and the guys started rolling. Except me, of course! My left foot slipped on the pedal instead of cleating in. As I struggled with the pedal trying to clip in for a couple of seconds, the train took off with the rest of the bogies attached. The Demon, our ever dependable diesel engine, started to pull and the Spectrum train began to pull away from me. I was getting dropped right at the start line. My heart rate went over the threshold even as I was crawling at 10kmph fiddling with the pedals. It was pure panic. Saru observed that I wasn’t there yet and held back to pull me. I thanked him and quickly HTFUed to join the train.

Our team Spectrum Racing at the start line, ready to go! Mohan, Saru, Ameet, Minkey, bikeyvenky, Shankar Jayaraman, Arvind and Gaurav(Support crew)!
Team.. It Is All About The Team:
Propelled by the strong tailwinds and the adrenaline, the guys were flying. They were doing strong pulls. Even inclines were gone over around 40 kmph. Seven guys and one minute pulls meant each of us were getting ample respite after each pull. We needed to stay fresh for the killer headwinds of the return. 

According to the rules, a team needed a minumum of three and a maximum of seven riders. The finish time of the third person in the team would be considered to be the time of team. So, we decided that others would do as much as they can for as long as they can and let Mohan, Gautam and me finish the race. As the U-turn(16.75km) approached, one bogie after the other began to peal off from the train, having played the part splendidly.  

Shankar, who landed at 2am in the morning from a work trip to US, made it to the start line at 6:30am and contributed to the team cause. Saru, Arvind, Ameet and Shankar contributed greatly on the way out to shave off almost a minute from our earlier training ride times. 
The Demon, Minkey and I were left for the return leg against the headwinds. The Demon was as strong as ever pulling the train against the headwinds. He hardly had any miles on his legs after his crash 3 months ago. But seeing him ride, no one would believe that he was just getting back on the bike after a couple of months of recuperation. He is a huge inspiration for me for the simple, no non-sense way he goes about the business.  

For Minkey, who moved back to B’lore early this month, it was his first ever cycle race leaving aside the slow cycling races of his school days where the slowest rider wins. I’m not sure if he won those slow races in school, back then but, he would definitely find them very difficult now. He rode splendidly through out and contributed invaluably to the team train. His return to B’lore couldn’t have been more timely for the team.

Headwinds From Hell:
Once we made the U-turn, it was like hitting a wall. The winds on the return were monstrous, coming head on at us at 24kmph. So, it was just about getting into the drops, putting our head down and pushing against the invisible wall of the headwinds. Even if the road is slightly pointing downwards, with these winds, it feels like one long never ending climb. We took shorter 30 second pulls against the winds and made decent progress. We put our heads down and started to count down every kilometer and every meter towards the finish.

5km to go. One last incline to go. One last push. “If you can dig deeper, if you can push yourselves harder, the time is NOW!”, the mind kept screaming at me. “Come on guys, keep pushing!” I screamed. Or, so I thought! 2km to go. No time to worry about the heart that is about to explode or the lungs that are about to burst. Push.. Push.. Push.. It is the time to switch the afterburners on. 500 meters to go. Go.. Go.. Go.. Each second felt like an eternity. Everything seemed to be moving in ultra-slow motion. With nothing more left to give, we sprinted to the finish line together. Suffered. Spent. And satisfied.

Three of us congratulated each other for the effort we’ve put in. We knew that we did our very best and were quite satisfied with that. At that point it didn’t matter where we stood in terms of results for the day. We were of course elated when we later came to know that we finished second. 

The Results:
We finished with a time of 52mins 55secs for the 33.5km course. Specialized KYNKYNKY of course ripped it and set the tarmac on fire with a stupendous 46:xx mins finish. It gave me goose bumps to see them fly past the finish line. Such strong guys working in perfect harmony at full gas is such a treat to watch. We finished after SKCT followed by Veloscope racing who finished with 53mins 40secs. Knowing that there is such a huge gap between the champion team and the rest of us can only motivate us to try and improve.

Cleated Warriors women’s team of Meera Velankar, Anke Schuermann and Suma Rao won the women’s category followed by Spectrum Racing’s women team of Shilpa Deo and Manjula Sridhar.     

The Champs! Winners of the BBCh-TTT-2012, SKCT
Runners up of the BBCh-TTT-2012, Spectrum Racing!
2nd Runners up of the BBCh-TTT-2012, Veloscope Racing!
Winners of the women’s category TTT, Cleated Warriors Women
Runners up in women’s category-Spectrum Racing Women
Thanks again to the volunteers and organizers at BBCh along with all the teams, Cleated Warriors, BOTS racing, Team Vega, Team HappyHours a.k.a Team X and others for another splendid race. Keep rocking! 


PS: I was personally very pleased with the race and the result for the team. Like all the teams, we too worked hard. My training along with a few of us in the team was going so well and we were getting confident of a good show. But there had to be a twist in the tale. It came in the form of a crash I had on five days before the race which threatened to put me out of the race. I went down and injured my right leg when the Bulldog ran into a dog while riding on Siva’s road. Thankfully, complete rest, copious amounts of pain balm along with the good wishes of all my friends helped and I was able to participate and do well in the race. That little incident which resulted in very tense times in the days preceding the race only made it all so much sweeter in the end. 

3 thoughts on “Team Against The Clock- BBCh TTT

  1. Thanks Balu &RK! @Balu: Congrats to you and the team as well on the 3rd place. Great show! @RK: Great to see you on Sunday. Its been a long time. 🙂

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