Madikere – Mysore – Montra Tour of Nilgiris 2013 – Day 8

Winding Up With The Headwinds:
It was time for the last day of the Montra Tour of Nilgiris 2013 from Madikere to Mysore. After a tough ride from Sultanbathery to Madikere the day before, my body was aching all over in the morning. The morning chill as we started the ride wasn’t helping. The 4km climb we had to do right out of our hotel took care of the chill, but only seemed to accentuate the pain.
After climbing to get into Madikere, we began descending on the other side of the town. Even as we were descending, we could feel strong headwinds. A few skinny riders got ahead on the climb out of the hotel. I was struggling to move and Gautam Raja and Dipankar Paul(DP) were riding with me. Dipankar rode to Madikere from Bangalore to meet us for the last day’s ride along with Shreyas Kumar, a super randonneur cyclist and COO of Kracher the main prize sponsor for this year’s tour.

DP Chatting up with Vicki as we rode along..
Dipankar got in front after the descent with Gautam and I on his wheel. He began to drill it against the headwinds and within no time we caught up with a few riders ahead. Vicki jumped on to our train and we reached SS1 in no time. After refilling our bottles we started again with DP again starting the engine with three of us from Spectrum in tow.
Team Time Trail
Although there was no competitive section planned for the day, organizers quickly arranged for a fun team time trial(TTT) on the request of riders from UKand Denmark. A team for this TTT race requires a minimum of three riders and a maximum of five with the timing of the third rider being considered as team’s time. Apart from the UKand Danish teams, a few riders quickly formed fun teams such as Meat Balls, The Barefoot Riders etc. Gautam, Vicki and I were in our Spectrum Racing colors.
There were strong headwinds and crosswinds all day and DP had put in massive effort at the front until we reached the support station 3 at about 90km. Thanks to him our tired bodies were saved from getting battered by the winds on the day. We got our refreshments and started riding to warm up for the 10km TTT. A couple of sprints against the inclines opened the legs up and Gautam, Vicki and I lined up at the start.
Gautam took the first turn followed by Vicki and then myself. We had a slow start with a bit of fiddling with pedals and took a few seconds to join Gautam and get going. Gautam put in a great turn followed by a super 1 minute effort by Vicki. However, when I took the turn at the front, Vicki began to get distanced. It appeared her warm-up didn’t go that well. So, we held back to pick her up and asked her to miss her turns while the two of us rotated at the front. 

For the next couple of kilometers, Gautam and I pulled while Vicki hung on and recovered. After missing a couple of turns however, she was fully warmed up and was ready to take turns at the front on the slight uphills. Immediately after the inclines however, either Gautam or I took it up since we had the weight advantage over Vicki. The strategy seemed to have worked and we made great progress after the initial hick-up. We pushed each other to the limits and crossed the finish line exhausted and elated.    

Our happy and exhausted faces after the TTT.. Both Vicki and Gautam are again on podium this year!
It was super fun participating in the TTT on the last day although we were initially apprehensive as to how we would be able to push our tired bodies after 7 days of suffering in the hills. But when the body and the mind accept to collaborate like they did yesterday, it is with joy that we cross the finish line even after pushing ourselves to the extreme.

TTT Results:
We finished third in the team time trial. The British team of Harry, Mark and Chris won the TTT followed by the Danes Nils, Christopher and Oluf at second. Team time trial is an interesting discipline. It doesn’t matter how strong your best guy is but only how well your last guy can work with you to get across the line faster. Taking the third person’s time for team’s time meant it is how strong your third guy is and how well others can help him get across the line. Chris has clearly demonstrated that he is way stronger than Oluf. So although two on two the flat course suits Nils and Christopher, than it does to Harry and Mark, Chris Hay had done a better job of hanging on to Harry and Mark to cross the line faster.    

Day 7 CS and Overall Results:
At the start of the Day 7 competitive section, the blue jersey in the Men’s category was hanging in balance with a 31 sec advantage held by Nils Eigil Bradtberg against Mark Bruce. The battle for third place on the podium was also quite close with Harry Wiltshire holding a 1:10 advantage over Christian Graver Larsen. But as predicted the rolling terrain on the final CS was more favorable to the powerful Danes than the slightly built British riders. 

Men’s Day 7 CS Results

Nils won the 16km time trial with a 1:08 building on his 31 sec advantage and won the blue jersey by a margin of 1:39 secs. Christian finished second by a mere 3/10ths of a second ahead of Mark but 2:19 secs ahead of Harry displacing him from the third spot on the podium.

Men’s Final General Classification – Top 15

In Master’s category the top spot was taken by the fun loving doctor, Christopher Hay with a lead of over 4 mins even before the last CS. He further extended his lead to 6:01 and won the blue jersey in master’s category in style. Bjorn finished a comfortable second both on the day 7 CS and overall. 

Master’s Day 7 CS Results

Before the start of day 7 CS, Gautam Raja had a buffer of 2 mins over Louwrens Van Der Steen but lost a few seconds as he couldn’t shift up to the big ring and had to ride the entire race in small chain ring. The downhills must have been like super high rpm pedalling drills. That didn’t prevent him from retaining his podium spot however. He finished third in Master’s, just like he did last year. 

Master’s Final General Classification 

In Women’s category, Vicki was never in danger of losing the blue jersey. She has put in another 40sec gap and won comfortably with a margin of 9:04 over Linda Evans. The way she has dominated all the CS sections in GC consistently was phenomenal. Linda not only takes home the podium loot for second spot but also the Queen of Mountain(QOM) on Kalahatty! Great stuff from these two ladies!

Women’s Day 7 CS Result
Women’s GC Results

The Spirit of Tour of Nilgiris: The Arohi Boys! 
 Arun DeSilva, the only rider to ride 5 editions of the Tour of Nilgiris has been a charity rider for most of those years. Like last year, this year also he collected 4 lakhs for Aarohi, a not-for-profit grassroots organization, involved in integrated rural development in the Central Himalayan region of Uttarakhand. This year however is special for him and team Arohi which now is joined by Ashwin Bhatia and Usha Bhatia as they give two young boys from the Aarohi school system to experience cycling in the Nilgiris.

Rakesh Rana and Pramod Kumar Bisht, the boys from Arohi have completed studying Intermediate and are looking to take the next step to college education with aspirations to do well in sports. They both love cycling and have won a few small distance races in their region. Team Aarohi has now given these two kids an opportunity to experience cycling in a much bigger scale and a chance to interact with athletes from various regions including other countries. 

They rode their simple hybrid bikes with great agility and showed excellent fighting spirit even in the face of massive challenges like Kalahatty. They not only completed the entire tour, Rakesh has finished in 10 position while Pramod is placed 15th overall in Men’s open category. It is indeed great to see the potential in these kids and hopefully Aarohi can help them realize this potential fully in the coming years. 

The winners as well as top 6 in each category took away lots of prizes from Kracher, Procycle, Oakley eye wear, goodies from Volswagon and Himalaya among other things. A few riders like Mr. Tukaram, Krishna KP, Christian, Rakesh and Pramod from Arohi, Tony and Chua from Singapore have been awarded the spirit of Tour of Niligiris awards and received gift hampers from Procycle.

It was great day to wind up another great year at Tour of Nilgiris. The participants from UK and Denmark have livened up the race like never before. The close contest between them was a delight watch. The initial couple of competitive sections put the Danes in front while the next two CS with a bit of climbing put the Brits on an even keel. Then the last CS on rolling terrain tilted the scales again, with the Danes taking two out of the three podium spots. More than their cycling abilities, which were top class, their sporting nature and their willingness to share knowledge have endeared both the Brits and the Danes to all.

It was not just the top guys who enjoyed the racing. Every participant would look forward to the results every evening and compare their timings against their friends’. The fun element of the tour stayed in tact as always with the participants having loads of fun exploring the beauty of the Nilgiris and the local cuisine wherever we went.

Participants from all over India and various countries had great fun riding the tour and were unanimously appreciative of the way it was organized. There was a feeling of a college farewell on the last day as we took buses to Bangalore from Mysore. We’ll have to wait for another year to experience that unique joy that only TFN can bring.    

Photos from the day are here.

You can look at the results in detail here.

Also Read:
Day 1: Let The Fun Begin! Bangalore to Mysore
Day 2: The Legend of Kalahatty: Mysore to Ooty
Day 3: Ooty Kunda Lovedale Loop 
Day 4: Rest day! Party time!!
Day 5: Ooty – Kodanad – Ooty 
Day 6: Ooty – Sultanbathery  
Day 7: One Hell of A Ride: Sultanbathery – Madikere

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