|Deepak and Ameet sprinting up the final curve! Deepak did a 31:08 climb. A PB for him! Congrats Doc!|
As The Ride Plans Unfolded..
When Roopak Suri suggested that I try starting from the base and doing one more climb on Tue/Wed before the Nandi race this Sunday, I told him it was not going to happen. But when I came to know that Ameet Bhide was considering driving to base on Tuesday along with Dr. Deepak Rao, I jumped up and said that I will join. We rode to the base, parked and started warm-up.
I was supposed to be tapering so, should I join them at all? Should I go hard on the climb? These were the thoughts of previous day. I decided to go hard once to see how I feel. Then I could take it easy and give Deepak and Ameet company. That was the vague mental plan. Before the start when Ameet asked in jest about a Sub-25, I brushed it off. Although it was the only real goal that I have set myself for this year after my first ride up Nandi in Jan, I didn’t feel that it could happen. Just two weeks before I was struggling to do 29mins at threshold and barely managed 27mins last weekend.
As The Climb Began..
After the warmup on the approach road as we were approaching the climb, I tightened the shoe straps, took a swig of water from the bottle, hit the lap button at the Bull and started sprinting up to speed. Panting to remind of a rather old steam engine had begun even before I hit the half km mark. Cadence or power? Decided to big-ring it for as long as I can, getting out of saddle as soon as the cadence seemed to go down.
The initial sprint seemed to have helped and the speed looked good even after a couple of kms. The rhythm that was missing until last week seemed to have taken pity on my plight and returned. It still looked good at the 4km mark. Am I going to better my PB? It looked possible. Kept pushing the big-ring till the 5km mark.
The time till 5km was almost the same as what it was when I did my PB on the Bulldog. I remember having slowed down considerably after the 5km mark that day on the Bulldog and finally managed 26:25. The gearing on that bike was too big for the steep inclines.
As The Seconds Ticked By..
I shifted to small-ring but kept a good cadence. It looked like it is going to happen. “Get the hell of your saddle you idiot, you better not slow down now”, I told myself and pushed on. I usually don’t look at the time during the climb but this time I was paying attention. Various thoughts and calculations began to contest for mental space. “Is it going to be less than 26:25? May be 25:xx? Lesser than that? 24:xx? You mean Sub-25?” I began to consider those thoughts and decided to hang on to the mental picture of 24.
That seemed to have raised the heart rate further. Was it the nervousness of expectation or was the heart pumping more to make the mental picture a reality? The heart was thumping harder than what I thought was possible. The panting became even louder. As I approached curve 39, I said to myself, “It is not going to take more than one minute now, you’re getting there boy! Go for it”. Got out of the saddle for the final curve and tried to sprint past the arch! 24:46! SUB-25!! FINALLY!!!
|Elated, after the climb.. 24:46! Sub-25!! This year’s goal achieved, finally! 🙂|
As The Elation Hit Home..
I immediately got down the bike and plopped down on the side. The panting and the thumping heart went on for another couple of minutes before I could breath normally again. The elation was similar to what it was when I first climbed Nandi. It was surreal. It took a while for it to sink in. It all looked so impossible just a couple of weeks ago. With my only real goal for this year achieved, I’m going to take it a bit easy now. I feel so happy and relieved that it doesn’t matter what happens in the Nandi race this weekend. I’m going to try and have fun! Of course, competing is fun!
Thanks to Deepak and Ameet for the ride and helping me get there and for Roopak for seeding the thought. We met Vicki Nicholson on the climb as well as the SKCT folks of Vivek and Naveen Raj who were ripping the climb apart. We wished them luck for the race before descending the hill and heading home.
Now, on to the race this weekend…
Edit: Here is the ride on Strava: http://app.strava.com/rides/25291648#451876843
Here is the link to Garmin activity: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/234367014
*Strava seemed to have added 4 secs to the Garmin lap time(2nd lap).