There are days when everything falls in place, everything works perfectly and you get what you want. There are days when everything seems to go against you and you feel like every bird in the neighborhood was waiting for you to come out of the house to move it’s bowels. Last Sunday wasn’t like either of those days for me. It felt like one of those days where everything seemed to be going wrong but in the end there were guardian angels watching over me shooing away the waiting birds and laying floral bridges so that I can get over the hurdles.
I got out of the house at 5:30am and switched on my Garmin Edge500. It switched on and by the time I got down my first floor flat, it switched itself off. After that it didn’t respond to any of the buttons and completely died on me. This, I later learned, was the result of the software update I did on it the previous night. So much for the decision of focusing on pacing myself instead of focusing on the pace with my pacing tool completely dead.
It crossed my mind to forget about racing and just volunteering instead. After all, till the other day when my teammate, Hari Menon, offered to take my place volunteering at BAR along with Venkatachalam Ramakrishnan(Da Lam), I had no plans of racing. And I was in no way ready to race blind on such a long time trial. But it was too late to inform Hari and ask him for swaping places now and I didn’t want his gesture of sacrificing his race to volunteer in my place go waste.
I got to the Emeral Isle resort, where the BAR ITTs start, at around 6:05am and it was still dark and quite cold. I began to ride up and down on the service road just to keep myself warm. In another 5-10mins Hari and Vicki arrived. When I told Hari about my Garmin he quickly took his Garmin out and placed it on my bike. What a savior! I had no further excuses and I began to warm up. All I cared for was to know my heart rate and my cadence to pace myself. So, I paired my HRM and cadence sensor to Hari’s 310xt and pulled the screen up that showed those two variables along with the lap time and lap pace.
|All set! On your mark! Go! Riders were ready for take off! Photo: Mayumi Oe|
The Calm Start:
I’ve made it to the start line. With the first four to start being Naveen John, Naveen Raj, Lokesh Narasimhachar from Specialized KYNKYNY Cycling Team(SKCT) along with their team boss Vivek Radhakrishnan on his sexy Shiv TT bike, I knew I will have no carrots to help my pace. I started started sixth with Sharath Raju starting before me with a 30 sec gap. As the count down began, I clipped in my right shoe and got to the start line.
I was surprisingly calm and didn’t end up groping for my left pedal for too long like I usually do. After a small start line sprint, I settled into the saddle determined to stick to the plan of not going too hard at the start. Still I managed to pass Sharath pretty quickly and felt the legs to be turning smoothly. Five minutes into the race my HR entered the bitter-sweet-spot I wanted it to be and stayed there with occasionally going overboard on the inclines.
When The Time Flies and You Tag Along!
The clock was ticking away at a surprisingly quick rate. The pace seemed to hover around in the high thirties before it got quite close to forty before finishing at 39.5kmph as I made the U-turn. That was surprisingly quicker than I had anticipated since there was supposed to be a mild headwind till the U-turn. It was then that I began to feel hopeful of reaching my season target of 40kmph for that course in my first race itself. I wondered if it was tailwind that helped me till then but also thought that the Spectrum skin suit that I was trying for the first time along with the shoe covers that my skipper, Arvind Bhateja gifted me that morning, must have had some say in it.
The smooth pace continued till I crossed the Volvo factory on the return and it was after that, that I noticed my cadence not being so smooth any longer and that my HR was dropping. I struggled to maintain pace for the next 10mins or so. Instead of picking up the pace in the supposed tailwinds on the return I was only able to maintain it around 39.7kmph. The clock was ticking away and I was running out of time and tarmac to make amends and push the average to 40kmph. The target that seemed so close seemed to be slipping away with every passing second.
The last incline about 5km from the finish line was a real struggle and I kept goading myself to use that incline to push the heart rate up again for the final effort to the line. I somehow managed to mash my way through that incline and in the process managed to push the heart rate up and also motivate myself to continue the effort through to the finish line. As the downhill after the incline slowly pushed the average to 39.8 and then 39.9 and to finally 40kmph, I began to grin through the pain and continued to push through the last few hundred meters for the finish line.
|Vicki was a blur.. flying on her new Cervelo P2! Photo: Mayumi Oe|
Then the target became to finish below 50 mins but the seconds kept ticking by as the line got closer and that target slipped away. I crossed the line with the heart ready to explode and with the clock showing 50:11 and more importantly with the avg pace at 40.05kmph! As I rolled on for a cool down spin, the grin on the face was clearly visible while the pain in the legs wasn’t.
Something To Take Away!
Although I am thrilled to have met my season goal with the first race itself, there are quite a few things that could be improved. Although I must say I was pleased with my pacing in general, I couldn’t quite explain the brief lull in the effort during the return. Perhaps I needed some recovery or perhaps it was just a lapse in concentration. Also, I need to take care of the occasionally plunging cadence because of my laziness to shift into the right gears with the ever changing terrain. That might help the legs give a better output for longer and more consistently. May be I could shave off those extra seconds and finish the course in under 50mins. Of course, every race is a learning but I’m glad there were more rights than wrongs I did in this race.
The first race of the season saw enthusiastic participation with 38 participants turning up and giving it their best. It is the longest time trial for a lot of us and it was all about how well one paces oneself for the entire distance. The participants ranged from 15 year old to 49 years old and the age categories were set at under 25, 25-35 and Over 35.
|1st BAR ITT Results – Top three in each category!|
In Under 25 Category, Arogya Swami Pradeep from team Student Foundation for Sports(SFS) put in a great effort to finish first in the youngster category with a timing of 51:59 at 38.69kmph followed by his teammate Praveen with 53:01 and Vishwesh Arya with 55:54. If these young kids could manage speeds like that now, it makes one hopeful what they can do in the coming years with more miles on their legs. They won themselves one sugar candy each sponsored by Mayumi Oe who brought a box of candy for the riders at the race.
|Under 25 Category winners! Praveen(2nd), Arogya(1st) and Vishwesh Arya(3rd) Photo: Mayumi Oe|
The Men’s Open category(25-35) saw Procycle‘s Aditya Kaul(1st) and Ajjay Kamble(2nd) sharing the podium with Sandeep Shet(3rd). They happily posed with their podium loot of one sugar candy each.
|Ajjay Kamble(2nd), Aditya Kaul(1st) and Sandeep Shet(3rd) with their podium candy! Photo: Mayumi Oe|
In Master’s category(Over 35), the bald Belgian, Ronny Schrijvers beat the hell out of much younger guys to finish with a timing of 49:57 at 40.2kmph. BikeyVenky(i.e., yours truly) finished second with 50:11 at 40.02kmph followed by Spectrum Racing skipper Arvind Bhateja at third with a timing of 51:02 at 39.39kmph. We gladly posed with our sugar candy before sucking on it for the following hour. We were overwhelmed by the prizes and owe to strive towards more candy in the coming races!
|Over 35 podium.. with our podium candy! Your’s truly(2nd) with Ronny(1st) and Arvind(3rd) Photo: Mayumi Oe|
In the women’s race Vicki Nicholson ruled again with a timing of 51:30 at 39.03kmph that was much faster than most men. She shared the podium with Manjula(2nd) of team SFS and Hema Rajanikanth(3rd). We ran out of candy and had to give away the empty candy box to the winner. You can see how thrilled Vicki was with her trophy!
|Yay! I got the candy box! Oops.. It’s empty though! Photo: Mayumi Oe|
The Elite category saw four participants from SKCT who flew on their Specialized bikes to set the course records. Naveen Raj in his slick Karnataka state aero skin suit finished first in 47:32 at 42.3kmph. He almost overtook his one minute man, the power house Naveen John who finished with 48:29 at 41.46kmph. Loki finished third with 49:41 at 40.46kmph. Since we ran out of the candy and even the candy box, they got their own bananas for podium trophies in typical BYOB style. They owed to bring their own beer cans in addition of bananas next time to make for better podium trophies at the BAR.
SKCT team boss, Vivek, however decided that 33km race is for kids and gave the U-turn a miss. He proceeded to head towards Chennai and almost made it before he remembered he had other appointments for the day and returned.
|The pros do it in style! They do a BYOB(Bring Your Own Bananas) for podium! Photo: Mayumi Oe|
Here are the overall results sorted according to categories. Over the next three BAR races, the course remains the same so that the participants can gauge improvements over time. Time trial is after all a race against self.
|1st ITT – BAR 2014 Overall Results – Category sorted.|
Thanks to Hari Menon, Opendro, Mayumi Oe, Venkatesh Shivaramma, Dipankar Paul and Da Lam and all other volunteers for helping out. Special thanks to Mayumi Oe for great photos of the event and for sponsoring the podium candy prizes. The photos can be seen here but sorry, we finished the candy!
Next race is on Feb 16th.
Details on the event page here.
Some notes from the BAR organizers:
IMPORTANT: We are experimenting with building efficiency on the organization bit and one of the things we have done is to give permanent BIB numbers. Please do bring the BIBs for the next race, we will provide the tags (you can keep it permanently tagged or tag it before the race yourself also – the zip ties we give is just a back up for riders who dont tie the bib on the bike before coming to the race). Debut riders on that day will be given BIB on the spot, and that would be your BIB number for all the BAR races. By doing this, we as organizers will gain about 10+ minutes and will ensure we start on time. We started 10 minutes late on Sunday.
VERY IMPORTANT: There will be a fine of Rs. 20 if your lose your BIB. (Or better, if that is not a deterrent, we will add a penalty time to your race time)
MOST IMPORTANT: Next race will start ON TIME! 06:59:59 AM! 🙂