Montra Tour of Nilgiris – 2012 – Day Two – Mysore to Madikere

With The Wind We Ride: Mysore to Madikere:

After a long day yesterday from Bangaloreto Mysore, we were looking forward to a relatively shorter ride from Mysoreto Madikere. “See, everyone started showing their true colors” quipped the quick witted Vasu Mishra as we entered dining area for breakfast in our team kits. I guess he was right in more than one way. As expected, the results from the competitive section got the people talking, analyzing their own performance and sizing up their competition. After wading through a long queue at breakfast we loaded up and got out to get going.
We slowly made out of Mysoreand as we got out of the city, excellent tailwinds pushed us along at a quick pace with very little effort. A big group formed with Dipankar and me at the front as we rolled along effortlessly. After a bit of crazy pace at the front group, Bjorn Suetens seemed to realize that it could be better to ride with a slower group and slowly dropped back to join our group. By that time, Shailaja Singh Sridhar who was riding alone a few meters ahead of us for the first few kms also joined to ride with us.

We made it to the first support station in no time. There we tried the NJ’s secret dope of peanut butter on peanut chikki. We also tried the new addition to the support station food- dried banana which tasted like dates. It was a big hit with the riders. After gorging on a few exotic snack combinations, we got back on the road and headed towards support station two which was at 72km mark. We continued to cruise effortlessly on the rolling course aided with tailwind.
After refilling and refueling at support station two we decided to head towards support station three at 104km mark, which is also where the competitive section(CS) for the starts. The CS for the day is a 10km climb. As we moved out of support station two, strong crosswinds began and we tried to form an echelon to counter it. We kept it easy till around 95km after which we decided to warm up for the race section. We rode through a beautiful forest section before Kushalnagara to reach the competitive section.
Competitive Section: The Racing Action Heats Up:
We had a quick snack and drink and decided on the order in which we should start the race. When I got to the line, Aditya Yadav was starting the CS. Behind him were Michael Traesborg, Naveen John, Gautam Raja, Dipankar Paul, Mohan, Laxman Kurani, Derek, Vivek Radhakrishnan and Loki. After Michael, when Naveen John launched into his start line sprint, I started riding ahead to catch the action on the climb. NJ was big ringing the climb and disappeared into the horizon in no time.
I kept spinning in comfortable tempo and started seeing Michael out of a few corners, riding a few hundred meters ahead. He seems to have over taken quite a few riders who started ahead of him since I went past 3-4 riders including Aditya Yadav before I went past him. As I went past 2km to go mark, I looked back to see Dipankar coming behind. He quickly closed the gap and went ahead and I kept him in view and began to see if anyone else is coming. As expected Gautam went past me in the last km and I was quite pleased to see my teammate looking good. As I was nearing the finish line, Michael again crossed me and finished strong.
As I was nearing the finish, I kept looking back to see if Mohan was anywhere close since I expected him to do well on the climb. I later got to know that the chain on his bike dropped and got struck near the bottom bracket. He had to get down and spend quite a bit of time to get it back on. He lost considerable amount of time there. Apparently same unfortunate thing happened to Nachiket Joshi who is also a strong rider. It was tough luck to the two strong climbers on a climbing section.
The Results:
The all-rounder Lokesh Narasimhachar(Loki) nailed the climb and put 45 secs on Naveen John(NJ) to snatch the top spot in GC in open category with a 15 sec lead. He would be riding in the blue jersey tomorrow. The dark horse of yesterday’s open men’s category, Dipankar Paul did reasonably well on the climb today and still is in the 3rd place in the GC. He holds a lead of 26 secs over Richard McDowell and 40 secs over Vivek.
Open Categoy results post day2
In the Masters category, Bjorn Suetens is still in a comfortable lead but with a great climbing effort, Prashant Tidke moved to 2ndspot with a lead one second over Mohan.     It will be very interesting to see how the next two climbing stages will change the positions.
Masters category results post day 2
In women’s category, Shailaja did an awesome climb today and not only wiped out the 3 sec deficit but also moved ahead by 1min 45 secs and claimed the blue jersey today. Anjali moves to 2nd spot followed by Deepali at 3rd spot.
Women’s category results post day 2

Rider Of The Day:

Early this year Shailaja Singh Sridhar did the Golden gate bridge ride on a trip to CA. That was when she began to entertain the thoughts of getting into active physical exercise again by starting cycling. Her second kid was about one and half years old and she started out with a mountain bike. With in 6 months she changed two bikes and is not her 3rd bike which is a beautiful Pinarello P2. Of course she rode some 6000km in these six months as well. More astoundingly this November she completed Desert 500 in 22 hours 30mins.
Shailja Singh Sridhar.. 
She says that without the loving support of her husband Sridhar, she would not have made such progress in such a short time. She also thanks her sister, Aparna who took a week’s break from her work to baby sit Shailaja’s eight year old daughter and two year old son so that she can make it to TFN this year.
It was a quick stage. Most of the riders finished by around 2pm. The last 5km downhill to the hotel was quite an experience on steep and patchy road, if you can call it that. The GC is still quite close and currently Loki looks the favorite with two climbing stages to come but NJ will have his chance on the last day which is a flat 20km TT. While the top 2 spots seem to be the fight between these two SKCT guys, the third spot is what looks interesting with Dipankar and Richard quite close. If today’s climb is anything to go by, Richard has a clear advantage over Dipankar with two climbing stages coming. Vivek is not too far off from these two guys too. 

In Masters category, an unfortunate mechanical issue has cost Mohan dearly and the gap between him and Bjorn now became 3 mins 43 secs. It will be interesting to see if he can close that gap over the next two climbing stages. It looks like it is going to be a close fight for the other podium spot between Gautam and Prashant. Prashant might have a slight advantage in the climbing stages with his smaller frame. 

Women’s category continues to be the fight between Shailaja and Anjali. It will be interesting to see them over the next two stages. The next competitive section is the Ooty climb which makes everyone very nervous.

Tomorrow is the ride from Madikere to Sultan Bhatery. We would not be riding the entire route as planned earlier as the organizers have decided to spare the riders of the gravelly roads. We will be getting a bus ride for the first 45km after which our ride to Sultan Bhatery starts. While the bus ride could still take nearly 2hrs on those roads, a Paris-Roubaix kind of stage would more or less become a fun ride now. At least that will allow the riders to recover well for the big Ooty climb.  

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