Short and Sweet(?): Ooty – Kunda – Lovedale Loop:
After the toughest day on TFN so far, thankfully a shorter stage of 65km was on schedule for day three. Since the stage was short, it was decided that we’ll have a 9:30 am start instead of the usual 7ish start. It meant that the riders could rest for a couple of hours more, recovering from a brutal day. It also meant that the sun was up and it wasn’t freezing cold as we started.
The suffering from the previous day was still fresh in many legs. With the first half of the climb being mostly downhill, we needed to use our arms working the brakes more than the legs. Although the sun was up, the descent through the shade in the initial part was quite chilly. As soon as we got out of the shade though, the sun helped keep us warm.
Although it is mostly downhill, there was a fair share of climbing to be done dealing with the rolling terrain. The descending was super fun with the roads being in a fairly good shape unlike last year when they were laying them. The scenery was as surreal as ever. With the sun out and the clear skies the verdant views were enchanting.
Competitive Section: 9km, Kunda Dam Climb:
We rolled into the first support station(SS) at 31 km mark near Kunda dam and got ready for the competitive section which was setup 2 km from there on the way to Lovedale. The CS was a 9 km stretch with about 320m of elevation gain.
The initial section started off as a steady climb until 1.5 km where it flattened out for about 750m before it picked up the gradient a bit till 4.5km into the CS. From there on it was almost like a false flat where we are able to build momentum and big ring it. The last km again went up and took the breath away as we hit the finish line. Some of the riders went so hard that they had nothing left to even get off the bike. Vicki just put the bike aside and laid down on the middle of the road. We were all worried and ran to her. But to our relief, she began picking herself up after a minute as she got her breath back.
Results: Changes Galore:
The Kunda dam climb CS saw quite a few changes in the usual CS results as well as in the GC. In the Men’s category Mark Bruce finally managed to break free of the second position he got in the first two days and make it to the top. He managed to finish the CS in 21:48, 11 secs ahead of Nils. Harry Wiltshire finished third, 17 seconds further down.
|Men’s Day 3 CS Results|
In Men’s GC, Nils is still holding onto the blue jersey and is 1:54 ahead of Mark. But Harry Wiltshire managed to put in a great time on the climb and managed to displace Christian from the third place on the podium. He not only covered the 8 sec lead that Christian held after day 2, but also managed to put 1:19 on him. The battle between the first four places is getting more and more interesting with each passing stage.
|Men’s GC Standings after Day|
|Master’s Day 3 CS Results|
|Master’s GC Results after Day 3|
In Women’s category Vicki again managed to add 1:30mins to her already huge lead. She now has 8:03 advantage over QOM Linda Evans. With only two competitive sections remaining it looks almost certain that blue jersey is Vicki’s while Linda has to settle for the orange jersey she already earned.
Mad(e) For Each Other: King and Queen of Kalahatty!
Harry Wiltshire has been involved in triathlon since 1998. He made his debut for Great Britain at the Junior World Championships in 2002. He has also represented the British team at under-23 and senior international level. Harry won the World Student Games in 2006 and the Iron distance triathlon at Outlaw Triathlon in 2012.
His long time dream has been to make it to the Olympic team and was focusing on being selected as a domestique for Brownlee brothers as he is quite strong in the swim and bike but not at the same level with his running. He couldn’t make the cut for the London Olympics but he is hopeful of making it in the future. His immediate goal is Ironman Newzealand on 1st March 2014. Apart from training and coaching he is also studying to be a barrister.
|Harry Wiltshire and Linda Evans, KOM and QOM on Kalahatty!|
When one of the guys he coaches, Christopher Hay(current Master’s cat leader), registered for Tour of Nilgiris as a cycling holiday to India and asked Harry if he wanted to join, it didn’t look like a bad idea. He thought it could be great a way to go for a holiday in India that he could also use as base training in the hills for his next racing season.
Having convinced himself, his next job was to convince his girl friend, Linda Evans, to join him on the trip. Linda is a third year medical student and rides mainly during the weekends and some turbo sessions during weekdays when she can. They first saw each other at a training camp at her University and ran into each other later at a coffee shop. Having recognized each other from the camp, they talked to each other. Later on began to see each other more and been together for the last two and half years.
Although she was initially not so sure about it, she began to like the idea of a cycling holiday after she joined him on longer training rides in the winter. So, they joined Chris and another friend Mark Bruce for TFN.
The ‘made for each other couple’ were the fastest man and woman to climb Kalahatty on day two and won the King and Queen of the Mountain titles for this year’s tour. Harry is on the Men’s podium at third while Linda is on the Women’s podium at second. It has certainly been a great tour for them so far with both of them having great fun training and holidaying at the same time.
All of us at the Tour of Nilgiris wish this great couple a great time ahead.
Day 4 is the well deserved rest day for the riders. The riders and volunteers have been partying all night, some tending to their bikes, some exploring the scenic surroundings of Ooty while some plan on going on sight seeing trips around. It is going to be a long fun rest day. Day 5 is going to be a 100km ride to Kodanadu and back with a competitive segment of 8.5km climb with 282m elevation gain. The riders would be back to give their best having rested well.
More photos here and here.
You can look at the results here.
Day 1: Let The Fun Begin! Bangalore to Mysore
Day 2: The Legend of Kalahatty: Mysore to Ooty