BBCh -2013 – Tarmac – April Road Race

You Want Action? Come to BBCh!

 Peloton at the start as the racing action kicked off on Hyd Highway! : Photo FlashBulbZz

It was the first flyover on the return and Naveen John(NJ) of Specialized KYNKYNY Cycling Team(SKCT) attacks. Looks back to see if any of his teammates are joining. The front of the pack responds. First, a rider from Team Wheelsports tries to follow. NJ weaves across the road shaking him off easily. Then a rider from Team Trek Firefox and another from Team Naesar try to get on his tail. 

Another snake dance ensues with the riders swinging from left to right on the highway and he manages to shut them down and breaks free. Although climbing is not really his forte for this muscular TT and breakaway artist from SKCT, this slightly steep and long flyover didn’t mean much more than gritting his teeth and grinding a big gear. He did just that and managed to put a few seconds on the peloton. 

Then it happened. His teammate, Lokesh Narasimhachar(Loki), charged off from the front of the bunch and joined NJ and lead him over the crest of the ~1km long flyover.

Loki and NJ drilling it in a break! Can they make it stick?

Unconsciously, I moved to the edge of the car’s back seat I was watching the race from. The adrenaline rush as I was watching the race unfold before my eyes was unbelievable. Are the deadly duo going to do it again? Is this two man break going to stick?

The peloton which was already going at a ferocious tempo and just upped it a bit to reel in the two man break on the downhill. It was around 20km to go to the finish line and the attacks kept coming but no one managed to go clear.

After a few minutes of relative calm from the peloton, Bhimappa Vijayanagar (Bhimshi) of SKCT attacked just before the second flyover on the return and managed to go clear with around 15km to go. He managed to put a decent gap from the peloton. While he was riding at the edge with his team director doing a Marc Midiot, it looked as though he might just manage to time trial away to victory. 

But after a few kms, Bhimshi was joined by Rajnish Kumar of Team Trek Firefox who put in a massive effort to bridge up to him. It was now a two-man break again and the gap looked big. But with others trying to bridge and the peloton itself reacting, the two-man break that lasted the longest and built the biggest gap was caught with around 6km to go.

It is Bhimshi’s turn to attack..  with his team director encouraging him like Marc Madiot
More Action More Drama:  
While there was furious action playing out at the front of the peloton, there was furious action at the back of the peloton too. At around 10km to go mark on a downhill where the whole group was going at well above ~60kmph some wheels touched and Manu Balara of Team Naesar crashed hard. He suffered lacerations on his left shoulder and thigh but thankfully escaped without any broken bones.

Sreedhar Savanur of Team Wheelsports and Asif Attar of Team Naesar, two of the strong favorites were caught in this crash. Apparently Asif crashed too but escaped with minor injuries while Sreedhar went off the road and avoided crashing. This meant that they were quickly distanced from the peloton which was busy in chasing the two-man break that Bhimshi has started. Team Wheelsports’ team director, Venkatesh Sivarama(Venky) who was on a support mo-bike quickly went ahead and instructed his team to drop back to help their leader get back. With his teammates taking death pulls for him Sreedhar managed to rejoin the peloton in the last few kilometers.

With the multitude of attacks failing and all the breaks reeled in, the race was heading for a sprint finish as the peloton surged towards to finish line at tremendous pace. Being lead out by his team, SKCT sprinter Laxman Kurni opened his sprint but the strongest surge came from Sreedhar Savanur of Team Wheelsports. And it came when it mattered the most. He had the time to comply with the finish line graffiti of “Hands-Up” for his victory salute.  

Sreedhar Savanur of Team Wheelsports with his victory salute.. Photo: RollingShutterz


Racing And A Bit of Tumbling:
When the race kicked off, the 107 riders who lined up charged ahead at a brisk pace. Within the first few kilometers there were quite a few touches of shoulders and wheels which threatened to put a few riders in contact with the tarmac. Although riders were being ejected from the back of the bunch at ridiculous rate, the group was still quite big when we approached the flyover at around 10km into the race. A sideways movement from Sarvesh Sangarya sent Mohan Kumar of Spectrum Racing and Andrew Jerald of Team Student Foundation For Sports, tumbling into the highway railing.

Frious action in the front bunch as the race progressed.. Photo:SimpliClick

It sounded really bad and I wanted to see if my teammate was alright and since he was one of our strongest, I wanted to help him get back to the peloton if I can. So, I slowed down and went back to the crash site. Volunteers had stopped and helped them by the time I got there but Mohan had to abandon as the fork on his bike broke during the crash. Andrew also escaped with minor injuries.

At race pace, one could go down before one could say, “Oops!”. Crashes are part of racing and they happen at all the levels. But, it is really important that the youngsters like Sarvesh(and many of us oldies too) work on group riding skills like holding a line and not making sudden movements. Working on a bit of bike handling skills along with working on ones speed goes a long way to keep oneself as well as others safe.

I tried to get back on and after 2-3kms of the most optimistic chase ever in the history of bike racing, I gave up and chose to flag down Jaikanth Kumaran’s car. He was there with his photography partner to shoot the race. I figured that since my chances of being part of the racing action with the front bunch were doomed at least I could get to watch the action from a support car.

As our car went ahead, we saw more riders that were left in the wake of the speeding peloton. By the time we caught up to the peloton, they were almost at the turn around point(30km). It was still a relatively big bunch with the numbers being made up by the riders from SKCT, Team Wheelsports, Team Trek Firefox and Team Naesar along with lone wolfs, Dev Veera(Spectrum Racing), Craig Raynes(BOTS), Jehaan Panjuani(ProCycle) and Sarvesh Acharya. Riders with no teammates in the lead bunch were limited to following the wheels while those with teammates to work with were able to show much more intent either attacking or reeling in the attacks to control the race.

If the pace till the U-turn point was furious, the action became more intense once they took the U-turn to get to the finish line. It was a pleasure watching the race action so up-close. I’m sure it would have been even better if I was in the peloton to give my teammate and eventual cat 2 winner, Dev Veera(Spectrum Racing) company while watching the action from within the bunch.

In Men’s Cat1, Sreedhar Savanur showed once again why he is considered to be one of the finest of young cycling talent in India. His victory also shows why bike racing is such a team sport. He was quickly followed by SKCT’s Laxman Kurni(2nd), Lokesh Narasimhachar(3rd) and Ambi Mallappa(4th). Team Trek Firefox’s main man, Jeetharam Gat finished at 5th.

Cat 1 Winners: FlashbulbzzPhotography
Spectrum Racing’s  Dev Veera wins the Cat2 race with Sukrit (2nd)(Aurovelo), Petrus Moeleker(3rd), Andre Deplechin(4th)(Aurovelo) and Michael Traesborg(5th) following him.
The women’s category race was a show down between Spectrum Racing’s Vicki Nicholson and Team Wheelsports’ Gitanjali. In the end Vicki finished a more than minute ahead of Gitanjali who finished 2nd despite a bad crash towards the end. She was barely able to stand on the podium.
Women’s Category Winners: Photo: RollingShutterz

Team Procycle’s Jehaan Panjuani won the under 18 category with an impressive performance finishing 21st overall.

U-18 Winner.. Photo: RollingShutterz..

BBCh Keeps Raising The Bar!

With more than 100 riders the race was not just one of the biggest amateur road races organized in India, it was also one of the best organized. With the riders, who raced at both state and national levels representing all the top 4 teams, the field was very competitive and very talented.

Although there was ample police support courtesy IGP Bhaskar Rao, Devanahalli and Chikkaballapur Traffic Police, closed roads would have made it so much more perfect. But the pilot car, bikes along with the support contingent following the peloton ensured that the general traffic was kept in check.

Sponsors & Volunteers:
From this race Leap Start became the main sponsors for BBCh offering prize money for all the winners and the main force behind U-18 category. Nephrolife sponsored the ambulance support while Sufferfest continues it support with prizes for 4th place. Camelbak continues to support BBCh by offering up its goodies for prizes. Thanks a ton to all the sponsors for the support and the volunteers for continuing to be so awesome and making BBCh more awesome with each passing race. Thanks to Team Naesar which did the route scouting and marking. Thanks also to the photographers from Veloscope, Rolling Shutterz, FlashBulbZz Photography and SimpliClick for covering the race.

Photos from my camera are here and here.
High resolution pics of the action can be seen at flAshBulbZz, RollingShutterz, SimpliClick and Veloscope.

7 thoughts on “BBCh -2013 – Tarmac – April Road Race

  1. Boy, what a race! I didn't get to race with men as I was dropped early, but I got to experience how tough the women competition is or should I say, they proved how weak I'm to be racing among BBCh men. About 60 to 75 percent of the course, we were a bunch of 7 or 8 riders including my team mate Krishnan Sheshadri. After the U turn, I made at least 2 or 3 attempts to drop the bunch. The way Vicky and Gitanjali rode! Mind blowing. In the end, Vicky attacked multiple times though she was never successful. Unfortunately, 200m before finish, one guy crashed in front of Gitanjali and she ran over him while I averted by a whisker. Otherwise, these two ladies would have had a photo finish.

  2. wow, what a race. I almost lived it ( rather raced it). Vicki, if is now clear who was ahead 😉
    BBCh has indeed gone to amazing levels now. This sounds like any big pro race happening on the best of routes in the world.
    Congrats to the organisers and of course to all the riders

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