A Team Sport Indeed! – BBCH Team Time Trial – March 2015!

Trial By Time!
Individual time trial(ITT) and team time trial(TTT) are interesting desciplines. They are very similar and yet very different. In the individual time trial you race against the elements and the clock. There is no hiding from the wind. No respite from the ticking clock. An individual, his machine(of course the aerodynamic paraphernalia) and their race against the clock. It is the purest of tests in cycling, in a way. No wonder it is often referred to as the ‘Race of Truth’. Usually a person with the ability to hit steady threshold or higher power and keep at it for the distance would do well in ITT. And flat ITTs tend to favour the person with a higher FTP(Functional Threshold Power) and most aerodynamic position and gear(as in Aero/TT bike, skinsuit, aero helmet, shoe covers etc).

Some had TT bikes and full aero gear at their disposal!
 
Some had their road bikes and aero bars added in the mix
 

A Team Sport!
When the descipline is extended to a team, a lot more dynamics come into the picture. Along with the factors that apply to the ITT, it is also about cohession and communication amongst the team members. It helps if all the team members are of almost equal abilities. But when that is not the case, the team can go as fast as it’s slowest member. How the team works with and leverages the strengths and weakenesses of it’s members to go as fast as possible on the set course, determines its performance in the TTT. 

Some just had their road bikes and their fabulous smiles to aid them go fast!

Work With What You Got!
In our team, Spectrum Racing, we have always given importance to TTT because it challenges us in different ways each time. Being an amateur team with mostly masters athletes(35+) of various backgrounds, it is always difficult to have a set of riders at similar level at the same time. In our team Shankar Jayaraman and Hari Menon were in decent shape but the course doesn’t really suit their ultra skinny selves. Our skipper, Arvind Bhateja, just got back on the bike 4 weeks back after a back surgery and I got back on the bike a couple weeks before the race after a 3 week forced break due to various injuries. But we have decided that this combination is our best bet based on our practice rides during the weekends preceding the race Sunday. We have also managed to fine tune our communication and pacing strategies based on the blunders we did during our practice rides. 

Cleated Warriors Master’s team in action!

We took to the startline as the penultimate team with the two man team of Vivek Radhakrishnan and K Kiran Kumar Raju of SKCT starting at the end. We have decided to start with a two minute pull with Shankar starting followed by Hari, Arvind and myself. After the initial 10km of moderate start we switched to 1min pulls for most of the distance with 30secs each in the final kms. We were mindful of not starting too hard and probably were a bit over conservative at the start. But we decided to stick to our plan and not get excited even when the two man SKCT team went past us barely 10kms into the 49.3km race.

We knew trying to match someone else’s pace is only going to throw us off our rhthym and ultimately hurt the team. So, we continued with our plan and kept working smoothly. We went at a fair clip of 40kmph till the halfway point(24.6km). At this point we were 2mins slower than during our last practice ride a week before. It might be due to unfavourable winds or due to our conservative tactics. With such a distance it is not easy to guage how hard we could go for how long. If we over cook the effort we might end up burning out too soon and if we are too conservative we end up being slower than what we are capable of. It is a fine balance and we probably decided to be safe than sorry by being a little conservative.

Spectrum team A in action!

A few kms after the U-turn at the halfway mark, after doing a fine job of putting in some solid pulls at the front, Arvind told us to go ahead as he is unable to continue with the effort. Hari, Shankar and I kept going trying not to be not too fast on the uphills and not too slow on the downhills. About 5km to go we switched to 30sec pulls. Being almost 8 kgs heavier than the remaining two, I decided to take longer than 30 secs on the final downhill leading up to the finishline. The three of us crossed the finishline almost simultaneously in 1:12:17 at an average of exactly 41kmph.

Results:
Masters Category:
As it turned out, with the oldest rider being 48 and the youngest being 35 with a 38 year old and a 43year old in between, the mean age of our team A was also 41. May be we could have saved another minute or 90 secs if we went a little harder but we are not complaining finishing the second fastest overall(behind the two man SKCT team,1:09:02) and first in masters category.

Our team B of Vicki Nicholson, Ravi Ranjan Kumar and Mohan Kumar finished 2nd(1:16:57) in masters with Cleated warriors Deepak Mhasavade, Thoudam Opendro Singh and Nalla Konar finished 3rd(1:19:06).

Master’s Podium!


Women Category:
In the women’s category, the all star team comprising of a couple of German nationals(Sabina von Kessel, Lena Robra) and an Indian(Mehvash Arslan) took the top prize. They finished the race with a time of 1:30:53. They were followed by Team Wheelsports women team of Tim Tim Sharma, Sowmya Urs and Geeta Bhist with 1:46:19. Harsini G and Payal Kini of Team BOTS finished third with 2:14:44.

Girl power at BBCh!


Open Men:
With their main riders resting, it was upto SKCT owner, Vivek and their MTB rider, Kiran to defend the team TTT title and they did a swell job of it with a superb timing of 1:09:02. Team Wheelsports consisting of Paigamber Nadaf, Anantha Vishwanathan and Shivraj M finished second with a timing of 1:13:39. Team BOTS consisting Craig Raynes, Muralidhar and Akshat Khanna finished third in open men’s with a timing of 1:14:45.

Open Men Podium!


On a Right Note!
BBCH 2015 season started off on a right note with ITT last month and TTT this month seeing record participation. We have had 26 teams and about 80 riders participating in this race while ITT last month saw 105 riders. For both the races, the BBCh council has started the practice of giving out the start order and start times for each of the riders, a day before the race. This not only enables the riders to time their warmup and nutrition but also ensures that everything goes smoothly on time. That is just an example of how BBCh keeps getting better every year.

Another great thing about BBCH this season is that it is completely community driven with each of the Bangalore based teams taking the responsibility to help the BBCh council of volunteers to execute the races. Our team, Spectrum racing, was responsible for ITT last month and TTT this month. I think they went very well even if I say so myself. The BBCh council of volunteers, Suman Paul, Promise Gangani, Marghoob Hasan and Khuram NK have been doing a great job along with other volunteers like Opendro. The next race(100km road race) on 19th April is going to be driven by Bangalore’s most cheerful team, Cleated Warriors. I’m looking forward to it!

Sumptuous Breakfast:
Our team also sponsored breakfast for all the riders and volunteers at the end of the race. I was the first to grab a plate but I ensured that I left enough for others to eat. The buffet breakfast of idly, vada, kharabath, kesaribath, coffee, tea etc., was just what we needed after a hard race. Thanks to our skipper Arvind for coming up with the idea and doing all the arrangements.

Spectrum Racing! One happy team!

All the photos in this post are by Raghu Mohan Photography. You can like his FB page to follow his superb work in Sports photography. The album from this race can be accessed here

3 thoughts on “A Team Sport Indeed! – BBCH Team Time Trial – March 2015!

  1. Shyam, indeed there were many single speed bikes in the race. But, having ridden a fixed gear bike for years(and my first race ever was on it), let me tell you there is nothing heroic about racing with a single speed or a fixed gear bike. It is just a choice… IMHO. 🙂

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