Epic Nandi Race – 2012 – BBCh-9

For us, it is the Alpe D’Huez, the Ventoux and everything that represents a mountain, a mole hill and everything in between. The Nandi Hills. Every Bangalore cyclist that just bought a cycle or even contemplating buying one tends to dream about a trip to Nandi hills. Then there is little wonder that, if there is one and only one BBCh race that everyone wants to do well in, that I think would be the Nandi race every October. And what an epic race it turned out to be this time too!

The weather was perfect for the epic race! The guys were ready with their race faces on!

As The Dawn Broke:
It dawned but the Sun was still snuggling under thick blankets of pregnant clouds. With the winter chill that descended on us this week, a few of us were wondering if we too should have been under covers and on the bed this lazy Sunday morning. But we had a race to race and copious amounts of pain to drink up. Which self respecting masochist can resist that? So, slowly the riders, volunteers and the organizers trickled in and found their way to the start point outside of Doddaballapur.

The route for the race which starts from just outside Doddaballapur goes on an almost straight and mostly tree covered road for 17km before hitting the National Highway(Bellari Road). Then it goes another 14km on the headwind and flyover infested highway before taking a left U-turn to go through a couple of small villages and a railway crossing. 3km of this slightly tricky terrain via villages takes us to the Nandi village where we take a sharp left to get onto the Nandi approach road towards Karahalli cross and then onto Nandi base. Then starts the 7.3km of 5% climb ending just before the familiar Nandi arch to make it a 50 kms of pain and fun-filled race route. 

It is an amazingly scenic route too. It is another matter that very few would have the time to enjoy the scenic beauty during the race! My team, Spectrum Racing scouted the route and marked it for this epic race.

As The Drum Roll Began:
As the race was flagged off, the large peloton was led by the lead van of the organizers warding off the traffic. I positioned myself near the front of the pack along with our climber, the hosurasur- Saravanan Sivaraman. Our skipper Arvind Bhateja, our ever dependable Demon- Mohan Kumar, Shankar Jayaraman were at the helm of affairs taking strong pulls along with a few others. 

With the majority of the SKCT off to Nationals in Bihar, Vivek Radhakrishnan along with Kiran Kumar Raju, Matt Barrett and a few others was trying to work for the 2011 Nandi and BBCh champ Naveen Raj. Our current BBCh points leader Siddarth Kansal was in thick of things at the front along with his Veloscope Racing team mates Durgesh Ranadive, Nachiket Joshi, Balu, Nagaraj Harsha etc. Team Madrascals were blazing it with Adarsh Sexena and Richard right in the action at the front with Vinod Pillai, Hatim and Santosh Ahuja in tow. Cleated Warrior clan lead by Thoudam Opendro Singh, Ganapathy Subramanian along with Mahito Isejima were keeping abreast with the pack. Craig Rhynes from team BOTS, Rajanikanth Puttabuddhi, Andre from Pondicherry were also visible in the lead bunch while Badri Narayan of Decathlon was flitting about in the lead bunch drawing a couple of alarmed voices from others.

The peloton was moving at a ferocious pace. There was a quick attack around 10km mark from Ajay Kamble of Pro Cycle and Naveen. I got off the saddle to bridge. Within a few seconds I felt my battery discharging. I knew I would have lasted much longer for such accelerations. The attack didn’t go away and fell back into the bunch. 

No Race For Quitters!
 I could see that the effects of fever of the last 3 days was having a say on my body. Perhaps it was the sub-25 effort that I foolishly attempted earlier in the race week that taxed my immune system. I had already began to feel guilty for letting the team down with my stupidity the day throat infection and fever put me on bed 3 days before the race. I was just wishing that I could still try and put in a decent performance on the race day. But it was not to be. I began to feel queasy and feel the cramps coming up. We hardly raced for 30 odd minutes and I thought I was hydrating well. It never happened before. I began to contemplate if this effort was good for my health that obviously didn’t yet get back to normal.

As we got on the Bellari road, the peloton quickly stretched into a long single paceline. I guess no one teaches discipline like strong headwinds. The headwinds did not manage to slow the pace though. It was constantly hovering around 40kmph. The guys were really grilling it. I was feeling winded already. Although we were stretched long we were still in contact with the lead bunch. I was behind Durgesh as we were approaching the first flyover on the Bellari road when I heard him shout ‘shit, flat’ and stopped on the side. I quickly bridged to the guy in front but quickly thought better of it. I was not sure I could go on any longer. So, I decided to call it quits and quickly turned back to give my rear wheel to Durgesh so that he could continue. I knew how much hard work he and Balu put in to train for this race. Dugesh was off to start his chase of the bunch he lost.

Durgesh with his race face on… chasing the pack after his wheel change..

View With A Difference: 
 I quickly flagged down the ProCycle support car that was being manned by Nilesh Dhumal(Nelly) and Rahul Thomas(RT). I put my bike on Nelly’s red ferrari and took a ride on Akshay Menon’s Pulsur. He was there on his motor bike to watch his friend Duresh race and became my driver to show me the race in a perspective that moves at a different pace. We began to chase down the lead pack to watch the fight ahead.

As I zoomed ahead as the pillion rider on the motorbike, I could see that the long string that was the main peloton was broken into many small strings and individual riders. Hari Menon was doing his domestique duties spectacularly to sheild Vicki Nicholson from the headwind while Michael Treasborg was nicely tucked behind them. Further ahead I saw my team mates Ameet Bhide, Shankar J and Arvind at different places having paid the price of the work at the front early in the race. Every time I saw one of my teammates I felt like I have let them down spectacularly in a big race. I kept chiding myself mentally.

As we hit Nandi village and took a left to get on the road towards Nandi, I saw that Balu had a flat and was trying to change a tube. It felt like the two training partners decided to give each other company even in having flats. I quickly got down the bike and gave him moral support while he changed the tube and went on his way. We then reached base and began to climb. The lead bunch were already on the climb and were moving quickly towards the finish. 

As The Climb Began:
As I went ahead on the motor bike, I could make out the top 10 finishers as I passed them one by one. The Demon seemed to have recovered from his efforts and was climbing steadily. I could see Jeff Schmidt and Craig Rhynes climbing together. A little ahead were Saru and then Nachiket. Adarsh Sexena was putting in a grand effort as was Matt Barrett. A little ahead was the young college kid, Sarvesh Sangarya putting in a massive performance. A little ahead Siddarth was climbing with Vivek glued to his wheel. As I went ahead I made out the three leaders Kiran Kumar Raju some distance behind Richard while Naveen was well ahead of both of them.

They were all bathing in their own sweat; I could hear their panting over the roar of our motor bike engine as we went past them; the pain was written all over their faces. To me each one of them appeared to be a relentless warrior giving it all on the battle field of Nandi. It was truly an inspirational sight watching them give it all as they fought the gradient and the opponents edging closer. 

Kudos To The Champion Efforts From All:
We went ahead and waited at the finish line watching each of them sprint past the finish line with nothing left to give. It was a sight to watch Naveen dancing on the pedals as he seemed to effortlessly glide over the slopes. 

Richard who was riding with a dodgy wrist and a couple of freshly broken ribs(from MTBH) added a bit of nasal congestion to the mix to make it interesting. But all it seemed to matter to this guy when he is out racing is how he could give his all and annihilate the competition in the process. Physical discomforts seem to hardly matter. He seems to embody a lesson that I need to assimilate and make it my own instead of whining and making excuses. “HTFU and Never Give Up”. 

Richard finishing his climb.. 2nd overall, after Naveen..

 It was during last year’s Nandi race that I first noticed a monster named Kiran who stormed into a 5th place on a borrowed bike and sneakers. He works 6 days a week and finds other excuses that generally keep him off the bike during the remaining day too. Still when he gets on a bike, he is unbelievable. He spectacularly rode his way into a third place this time. 

Vivek who rode a great ride to spectacularly set up his protege, Naveen, for the win put in a grand finish himself finishing 4th. Siddarth, who has been consistently brilliant right through the season rode another brilliant race to finish 5th. Sarvesh put in a massive performance that looked beyond his years(16?) to finish 6th overall and 1st in Cat 2. Adarsh, the flat-lander from Chennai climbed brilliantly to finish 3rd in Cat2 and 8th overall. Nachiket and Saru finished 9th and 10th overall. 

Vicki finished 1st in women’s category for Veloscope racing followed by Shilpa Deo of Spectrum racing at 2nd place followed by Meera Velankar. 


Cat 1 Winners
Cat 2 Winners
Women Winners
1. Naveen Raj
1.Sarvesh Arya
1. Vicki Nicholson
2. Richard McDowell
2. Matt Barrett
2. Shipa Deo
3. Kiran Kumar Raju
3. Adarsh Sexena
3. Meera Velankar
4. Vivek Radhakrishnan
4. Hatim


Watch out for more from Veloscope: https://www.facebook.com/Veloscope?fref=ts

Thanks from BBCh: 
Thanks to all our friends who drove all the way from Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai and Auroville for this race.

Thanks to Firefox Bikes who gave 50 tickets to watch Premium Rush today and Sigma Sport (India) who gave away some cool AGU Rabobank helmets, Vredestein tubes and Sigma Cyclocomputers for the winners!

Thanks to FRIO – Indulge . Taste Buds (Cafe/Restaurant) who have been supporting us with Rider Nutrition at all our races. Frio has opened a new store on CMH Road. They sell fresh cream pastries (as opposed to pastries made out of synthetic cream). They serve several varieties of coffee and over two dozen flavors of tea.

And finally thanks to all the volunteers and marshals who did a great job managing traffic. Thanks guys.

One thought on “Epic Nandi Race – 2012 – BBCh-9

  1. Epic writing skills. Great race report. Loved your professional spirit in helping your team members.. The quick wit thinking got Durgesh back on all cylinders 🙂 He was riding really well.

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