Long Time No See!
The last time I was in Hyderabad, I had loads of fun riding with a few friends there. But it was more than an year back and I was just looking for an excuse to go back and meet friends and family there. So, ten days back when I came to know about the Hyderabad Cycling Club(HCC) Team Time Trial(TTT) by chance, I quickly shot a mail to my team if they want to join for the race. Gautam Raja(Minkey Chief), Mohan(The Demon) and Saravanan(Saru, the Hosurasur) agreed to join and the trip to Hyderabad quickly took shape.
|Roopak, Shetty, Richard, Raman, BikeyVenky, Karthik, Minkey and the Demon on Saturday’s recce ride|
A couple of the friends kindly offered accommodation to our team. As it is quite close to the race route we decided to crash at SirSirRupert’s(Roopak Suri) bachelor pad. Saturday was for a nice easy paced ride on the race route with Roopak, Richard McDowell, Raman Garimella, Aditya Shetty, Karthik, Krish and a few other friends. It was a fun ride followed by breakfast at Nandini. It was great catching up with old friends.
Race Day! A Fun Sunday!
Sunday we arrived at the start point of the race with five other teams. Big guns like Specialized KYNKYNY Cycling Team(SKCT) and Origin AbhiBus Racing teams were missing from the action apparently owing to preparation for the state trials and/or cycling national camp. So, Richard(OriginAbhibus) has formed a mutant team of X-Men consisting of himself, Roopak(SKCT), Raman and Aditya Shetty. It was named ‘SkOrginy’. Then there were Team TBA(The Bike Affair), team Acadamy consisting of a couple of youngsters from the local cycling academy and another team named Harakiri. The atmosphere was fun all around.
|Team Spectrum posing with Richard on his Chinese lady..|
Our team Spectrum racing was raring to go and was scheduled to start 2nd. I realized that I arrived there wearing my heart rate monitor but blissfully forgot to bring my Garmin. I was in great form, hitting home runs in the face-palm arena on the day.
As the count down started, our team’s diesel engine, The Demon, started pulling and Minkey, Saru and myself neatly positioned ourselves behind his wheel. We took short turns at the front and began to fight the gradient and the winds of the first 5km.
The road was pointing up and an invisible enemy of the headwinds was pushing us backwards. It wasn’t an encouraging combination. We reminded ourselves of Rule#5 and kept the train going strong. After my turn at the front, neatly hidden behind my team mates and out of the wind, I felt the guys were not pushing fast enough. Wanting them to pick the pace up, I shouted, “Go, go, go”. Unbelievably, the train seemed to slow down. Apparently, it didn’t help that, “Go, go, go” rhymed neatly with “Slow, slow, slow”! Dang! Face-palm!!
With my Garmin missing, I was not sure what was the pace we were keeping. So, it was racing without a dashboard. Demon usually doesn’t keep one and mostly rides by the feel. Only Minkey had a Garmin on his bike but we didn’t ask him to shout out the figures. The roaring wind in everyone’s ears wouldn’t have helped the communication much in any case.
After the second incline I noticed that Saru got left behind and only the Demon, Minkey and myself formed the train. If one of us were to puncture or were to have a mechanical, Saru’s time would be the team’s time because the time of the third person finishing will be considered the team’s time. I just prayed that our tires stay away from the occasional shiny glass shred on the highway.
With the shouting legs and the pounding hearts helping our pacing we marched on. As soon as I saw the 1k to go mark, I gave a big push. But I was apprehensive of shouting my motivating instructions lest I should slow the train down. Nothing of that sorts happened thankfully, and we crossed the line in 30:46.
|The whole gang after the race..|
We were aiming for a sub 30 finish but didn’t have any complaints with the fact that we finished second behind the mutant team ‘Skorginy’ which had a time of 28:44. Third place was taken by team Academy with a 33:42.
Post Race Fun!
The race route being one way 20km on the ORR meant that we still get to use the ride back to our cars at the start point as a cool down. It all started as a gentle ride as I joined my team mates and Richard, Roopak, gr and a couple of others. I was neatly tucked behind Roopak as we rode chatting along.
But the calm before the storm was not to last for too long and the guys began to up the pace gradually until it felt anything but a cool down pace. Richard was in his most devious of moods testing the legs of others and shedding them one by one. I gave up in the last 2km when Roopak and Richard got into their TT tucks and began to hammer it solidly. The effort I was putting to stay on their wheels felt like much more than what I put in even the race before. ‘Enough is enough’, I said to myself and dropped back. (Yeah, in the pharmstrong way!)
|Minkey and GR, riding in the calm before the storm of the ‘cool down’ ride|
After the sufferfest of a cool down ride, we all landed at Swagath-de-Royal for a breakfast buffet. Amid stuffing our faces with the tens of varieties of delicious food items there, we managed to spend some time chatting with each other and have fun. As usual Maninder did have a word or two of wisdom to share with others. This time it was on how to use butter/cheese(not sure if it is salted or otherwise) to lubricate the chain on his bike. The young Sardar always has a knack of getting ridiculed for his ingenuity similar to many intellectual giants over the centuries. He is in good company. So, no worries.
After having a great time at breakfast, we said our goodbyes and parted ways. It was a great fun time for Mohan, Gautam, Saru and me at Specturm. The royal treatment from Roopak at his place, great biryani treat from Krish&Gokul at the TBA and the warm reception from all the Hyderabadi friends all added to the unforgettable experience bundled into a single weekend. Oh yes! We also enjoyed the racing amid all the fun. Thank you guys! We look forward to more such fun times.
Here are the photos from my phone: https://picasaweb.google.com/102172342564541481938/Sept2012HyderabadTripHCCTTT#
Photos from HCC: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.517612331586448.132628.245024105511940&type=1