Another Sunday and another race. This time, it is the season opener individual time trial at the Bangalore Bicycle Championships(BBCh) where the mantra is, ‘Live to race’! ‘Line up to race’ was the mantra for over hundred participants who have lined up with their indemnity forms singed and ready to collect their bib numbers.
From the time where a handful of friends got together to race each other for fun to having some of the best riders in the country compete for the podium pride, BBCh has come a long way in the last six years. While the competition at the top has sky rocketed with some of the best riders at state and national level participating, it hasn’t deterred either the weekend warrior on his MTB going for a joy ride or the time crunched MAMIL with unrealistic performance goals, from participating in these races.
At the one end of this spectrum of participants are the pros with their TT rigs, disk wheels, skin suits, shoe covers, TT helmets and the legs to match the paraphernalia. At the other end is the newbie weekend warrior on his knobby tired MTB and backpack struggling against the little inclines on the road as well as those on his tummy. Somewhere in between are the confused lot who aspire to match the performance of the pros with the time budget of the weekend warrior. Amongst them are an enthusiastic lot who venture to buy all the paraphernalia to match the pros only to realize the legs, sadly, can’t be bought and that the pain can’t be outsourced.
All these riders of such diverse of abilities, backgrounds and aspirations are brought together by the joy and the pain that only cycling seems to offer. BBCh seems to be providing an ideal platform for such an amazing diversity with these races.
|The man and the machine against the elements and the clock! Eventual winner, NJ! Photo: Chenthil Photography|
Against The Clock and The Self:
The long queues at registration for signing indemnity forms and collecting bibs meant, despite the majority of riders registering online, we had the start delayed by ~45 mins. The riders lined up one after the other and were flagged off for the 33.5km time trial. Time trial is essentially a race against the clock where the riders are not allowed to draft and are sent individually with a standard time gap between riders. We were sent out with a 30sec gap.
When you’re suffering against the winds and racing against the clock, fighting a lonely battle, it is essential that you are in top shape both mentally and physically. With an unscheduled visit to hometown early in the week that had loads of eating junk and little riding, neither my legs nor the mind were ready for the race. Racing halfheartedly without proper preparation is one of the meanest things you can do to yourself, especially in a time trial where enduring the pain in the solitary confinement of your mind can be hellish.
If you don’t go into the race with a positive outlook and optimism that accompanies proper preparation leading up to the race, the negative dialogue that takes its place can be a torture to bear. This race was one of those races for me where I had to go through the motions and get it over with.
|Vicki in her TT tuck! Not her best effort but still good to win by a good margin! Photo: Chenthil Photography|
I started behind my teammate Vicki Nicholson with the intent of using her as a carrot. I struggled the first few minutes to try and get into a rhythm. The headwinds meant that the speed was no where close to my target pace but I kept an eye on the HR to pace myself. Although I crossed a few riders on MTBs, I took about 12km to cross Vicki and then went past Hari Menon as I neared Volvo. However, the other riders I was targeting, my teammates, Shankar Jayaraman and Arvind Bhateja were no where in sight.
As I made the U-turn, I was almost 2 mins slower than the target pace. I didn’t realize at that time that it was the headwinds and I put it down to poor legs. The return was considerably easier owing to tailwinds but I wasn’t able to pace myself. The HR kept dropping and I was not able to spin and generate speed to take advantage of the favorable conditions. About 5km to go, I went past another of my teammates, Gaurav Dwivedi but was not able to see Saravanan, Shankar or Arvind who started ahead of me. I finished the race in 51:07 at 39.3kmph almost a minute off my best time on this course a few weeks back.
After our race, a few of us went out for breakfast and came back to wait for everyone to finish and the results to be out. The results were out but we immediately realized that something was wrong with them. So, when we asked the timing crew to review the results, it was clear that the settings in the timing app were resulting in it giving the finishing time with respect to the start time of the first rider instead of the start time for each individual rider. That glitch due to a manual error in the timing app’s settings(most likely mass start instead of TT) meant they had to resort to going around and taking the timings from the individuals’ Cyclo-computers to come up with the podium results. The rest of the results were sorted only later in the day.
Although the such manual error is unlikely to repeat, such oversight at such an important race doesn’t show BBCh in good light as it is growing into awesome new heights. I’m sure the able team at BBCh will take the necessary steps to avoid the glitches and ensure that we start and end the races on time.
Most of the riders however had a great race with some fantastic results. Having the ‘woosh woosh’ of the disk wheels on Naveen John’s Specialized Transition TT bike go past me as I was suffering through my race was a hair raising experience. He finished the race with a course record of 44:33 at 45.12kmph.
|Updated results table as on 26th Feb!|
Update(26-02-2014): What I missed mentioning in the report earlier was something a lot of us saw and reported on the day. While we were on our return we saw some of the pro riders in Red uniforms and blue uniforms drafting each other. A few of us have reported it to the organizers and they promised action. The organizers seemed to have sorted who all were involved in drafting after reviewing photographic evidence from the event. While it is sad, it not only resulted in the delinquents getting a disqualification in the race but also losing their place in the team. SKCT has announced this morning that they have sacked a couple of their riders apparently based on this unsportsmanlike conduct.
The complete results can be found here.
In the MAMIL(Master’s) category, Vivek Radhakrishnan, Director of SKCT showed his boys how it is done. He put his Specialized Shiv TT bike to good use and finished at the top of Master’s category with a 47:59 at 41.9kmph. Craig Raynes of BOTS racing that Aussie watt machine finished second 49:41 at 41.4kmph. Spectrum Racing Skipper, Dr. Arvind Bhateja, finished just short of the 40kmph mark with 50:28 at 39.8kmph and finished 3rd. Despite an unsatisfactory race, finishing 4th with a timing of 51:07 at 39.3kmph, was a consolation for me.
|Master’s podium! Photo: Spectrum Racing FB Page|
Spectrum Racing‘s Vicki Nicholson won the women’s race with a considerable margin finishing with 52:28 at 38.3kmph. Geethanjali and Shaheera Attar of Team Wheelsports finished 2nd and 3rd with timings of 58:19 and 59:25 respectively.
|Women’s podium Photo: Chenthil Photography|
Naveen John of Specialized Kynkyny Cycling Team(SKCT) finished at the top in Men’s Open category with a 44:33 at 45.1kmph. He was followed by Manender Balahara of Team Globeracers with at 45:21 at 44.3kmph. Naveen Raj of SKCT finished third with 45:46 at 43.9kmph. These are the course’s best timings to beat in the coming races on the course.
|Open men’s podium! Photo: Chenthil Photography|
In the Under-18, Kumar Lama of Team ProCycle finished first with 51:38 followed by Karthik G and Kushal EV at 2nd and 3rd respectively.
|Under 18 boys podium! Photo: Chenthil Photography|
The winners have received medals and BBCh T-shirts.
What a massive turn out! 104 riders started and all of them finished the race. Both the number of participants and the level of competition at BBCh has kept on growing over the last 6 years and this year is no different. It is great to see the volunteers running the show also becoming more efficient with each passing race although there is still a lot that can be sorted. Looking forward to the upcoming races!
You can read about the upcoming races here.