Team Racing Fun!! SFS – Team Time Trial – Race 1

Student Foundation of Sports(SFS) had organized a fantastic road race in July last year. Having seen how professional they were in organizing the event with closed roads and all, a lot of us were keen on taking part in the series of Team Time Trial events that they announced recently. 

Was a nice team outing for everyone!

If a time trial tests an individual’s mettle against the elements and the clock, a team time trial tests a team’s collective strength and co-ordination in racing against the clock and the elements. 

Seven teams have started the race with a gap of two minutes between each with a lucky draw deciding the order of the start. The course was set to be two loops of Emerald Isle to Volvo and back on Old Madras road to make for a 50km team time trial. This was the longest race a lot of us have ever done as a time trial event if it was a team time trial. 

Team Work Above All:
With a race that long, it was all about pacing well both as individuals and as a team. Any mistakes at individual level or coordinating as a team will cost the team valuable time. The ideal scenario in a team time trail is that all the riders in the team are at similar abilities. But that hardly ever happens especially in the realm of amateur teams consisting of weekend warriors and a few more serious middle aged men juggling between training and the general stuff that life throws at them. So, managing the show despite those differences in the abilities and skills to ride as fast as a unit takes a lot of coordination and patient team work. 

The rules for this race stipulated that there be a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 4 riders with the timing of the third rider being counted as the team’s time. Spectrum Racing’s team A, which I’m part of started with our skipper Arvind Bhateja, Shankar Jayaraman and I. Arvind and I are more or less of similar abilities while the pencil thin Shankar is known to struggle a bit when the speedometer hits high numbers, especially on downhills.

We decided to stick to pace not more than tempo on the first lap and hit it hard on the second lap. Despite our best efforts, the first ~12.5km till we took U-turn at Volvo factory was the fastest(~40kmph) and we could only manage about ~39.3kmph evenly for the remaining 3 sections of 12.5km. The all too frequent shouts from Shankar and I as our skipper sped off at the front during his turns, didn’t help the cause of maintaining 40kmph overall. 

Seeing him struggle a little initially, we asked Shankar to skip his turns while Arvind and I took longer turns with Shankar eventually coming to his own during the end of the second lap. As we approached the finish line and were giving it all, Arvind and I were drilling at the front and I gave a shout out asking Shankar to hang on as it is the third guy’s time that counted. Shankar took it as a call to hit the front and put his foot down on the accelerator leaving both of us behind and cross the finish line a good 20-30 meters in front of us. He certainly seems to know how to peak at the right moment.

Results:
Team Globeracers who started two minutes behind us overtook us towards the end of the first lap itself. They finished just about 5 minutes ahead of us. They completed the 49.8km course in 1hr 10min 31secs at 42.3kmph. Spectrum Racing team A, finished second with a timing of 1:15:48 at 39.5kmph. The young guns of Team SFS finished third with a timing of 1:16:43 at 38.9kmph. We received nice medals and certificates from Shivaram Sports and SFS.

50km SFS – TTT results

Team Globeracers won it in style!

Spectrum Racing Team A finished second!

Chiddu from Cleated Warriors presenting certificates for team SFS which finished 3rd!

Flat Out!
Having decided to start with the minimum required number, if one of us happens to have a flat, that would be end of our race. Thankfully that didn’t happen to us in this race. With in a couple of kms of the start, Alwyn Kumar of SFS was seen on the road side with a flat front tire while the remaining 3 riders, Andrew Jerald, Arogya Pradeep and Praveen Kumar rode on. Team ProCycle(Aditya Kaul, Ajjay Jaywant and Kumar Lama) was another casualty of the flat gods with their third rider Kumar Lama having a flat after a super fast first lap. They had to slow down but decided continue riding with the flat tire ending up a few seconds ahead of the last team to finish. 

Organizing:
One word. Fantastic. Team SFS did a fantastic job of organizing a superb race again. The start was slightly delayed(by 15mins) as the teams arrived late but once the race got underway, everything went butter smooth and the results were out as soon as the last team crossed the finish line. Every team which crossed the finish line got their own musette with bananas and bread and jam sandwiches for post race nutrition from Shivaram Sports. That was a nice touch that all of us enjoyed. Mr. Prasanna Krishana of Shivaram Sports also helped the race organizing along with Mr. Durai and Amarnath Jayaraman and the student force of SFS.

They have not collected any registration fee and a lot of the participants suggested that a donation box be put forth so that whoever is interested can contribute. The proceeds of such a contribution can be used for race costs and/or towards nutritional needs of the young team of student cyclists at SFS.

What Next?
I think more teams will participate next time. Those who are not part of any team surely can form a team with a couple of friends and experience the intricacies of racing as a team in these races. Watch out for updates on SFS FB page. Below is the schedule of races ahead on their current calendar.     

Schedule of TTT series of races from SFS!

Sign up and be there on 30th March for the next TTT. In the meantime, there is a BAR ITT this Sunday. Details here.

Photos from the race from my phone are here and from Mayumi are here.

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