Rain Or Shine, We Live to Race!!
Just as I was getting out of the house to ride to the BBCH Team Time Trial venue, it started pouring down! Having given a pre-race bath to my trusty Lemond, I was not looking forward to getting it wet and muddy this soon. But, with no time to waste, I quickly got back into the home to fetch a jacket and promptly got on the bike. Thankfully, the downpour became a light drizzle by that time. As I got on the highway, about 4km from home, our team car, Spectrum mobile, picked me up. By that time the bike and myself were already dirty.
After reaching the venue, it was great to see that the rain did not dampen the spirit of the riders and the usual festive atmosphere of BBCH was pretty much there despite the gloomy weather. Many riders like Lena Robra and Vicki Nicholson gave the rain a cold shoulder and just rode to the venue completely drenched in their matching Cyclogy jerseys and charming smiles.
New Teams on The Block!
Team Time Trial is usually a time for riders to scurry and form teams of 2 or 3 to be able to race as a team. But for a few years, we have not seen any new teams of substance coming together and staying together. That is slowly changing and we now have a solid new team with riders of exceptional talent and more importantly a great passion for sport. Meet, BMR a.k.a Bangalore Mavericks Racing under the leadership of Rajani Kanth. With passionate and talented riders like Naveen Raj, Venky Keyframe, Murali Dhar, Kamalino Ramadoss and young Kiran Raju, this team is going to shake the bike racing scene in this part of the world. So, watch out! We need many more teams to come up for the sport to flourish in its true sense. Hopefully we will see more teams come up in time. All the best guys!
We took the bibs, strapped the timing chip on the left leg, did a few warm up rounds up and down the service road and lined up at the start. The drizzle increased in intensity and turned to rain. I was part of 3 man Spectrum Racing’s master’s team comprising of Arvind Bhateja, Mohan Kumar and myself. Mohan was recovering from a fever earlier in the week but the complete team man that he is, he shows up to most races and contributes in whatever way he can without excuses. While Arvind and I had no such afflictions, we were not really in great shape ourselves. The prospect of a 50km sufferfest in rain, drinking in the rainwater and tasting the mud from the road, wasn’t really a great motivator. But, conditions were same for everyone and no one was going to let a bit of rain get in their way of having fun racing. We decided to give it a fair go and see what happens. With only two teams in master’s, our best case scenario was finishing first and the worst case scenario was finishing second. So, shouldn’t be that bad, we thought. 😉
As we sprinted to our start, Arvind took the first pull for a minute. I was behind him and Mohan was behind me. We didn’t really go all guns blazing knowing this was a long race and we didn’t want to overcook the start. As I tried to get into aero tuck and get behind Arvind, the wheel splash got right into my face and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I didn’t put my glasses on as they would be useless with mud and rain. May be we needed glasses with wipers on! In those conditions, it is very easy to make mistakes like touching the wheels and go down crashing. So, had to move slightly to the right to avoid the splash, keep the eyes open and stay upright. Not an ideal way to draft but the best under the conditions.
I thought we were not really using the tailwind on the way out to go faster. But with Mohan distanced by 10km mark, it was unto Arvind and I to see it to the finish. Arvind was putting a great effort on his turns on the hills which I happily left to him. I felt as if I was recovering during my turns at the front which were mostly downhills and suffering to stay close to him when he was at the front on the uphills.
We ended up at the halfway mark at around 42kmph which wasn’t great considering the helpful wind conditions. The way back was going to be all headwind and slow going. After the U-turn, we took a couple of minutes to gather our breath and get into the rhythm again, against the headwinds. The strong efforts that Arvind was putting on the hills seems to have taken toll on his back and he was beginning to suffer. I decided to take longer pulls to let him recover. The power slowly went up to the levels we were maintaining on the way out but with the headwinds, that didn’t translate to similar speeds. The speed soon dipped to under 40kmph.
After an hour of effort, it was just about ticking off one roller after the other and counting down the kms to the finish. Arvind gathered enough strength to put one last effort on the last hill despite the bad back. Then I got to the front to use my superior weight(Yay.. I heard that! Don’t call me fat!) to our advantage on the long downhill towards the finish. As we got to the last 500 meters to the finish, we decided to give it a go side by side, pushing each other to the line. We stopped the clock at 1:15:51. At 39kmph, it was not our best but it was what we could manage on the day.
The Veloscope team dominated the Amateur category podium and took 3rd and 1st spots. It is great to see one of the oldest teams in Bangalore coming back to life with some really promising riders on the roaster and starting to do well in all the races!
Lena and Vicki put in a great effort to finish first in Women’s category and well ahead of a lot of men’s teams! These two rock-stars missed their third partner in crime, Samira Abraham, but they didn’t let that deter their spirits or their performance.
In Master’s category, we did end up with the best case scenario of finishing first among the two teams in the category. So, not a bad day overall. 😉
In Elite category, Scott team of Ashwin Govindasamy, Sreenath Lakshmikanth and Nagaraj Harsha put in a massive performance by finishing in 1:08:22 at 43.2kmph! Their performance is all the more commendable considering they have never ridden together before. The mean looking TT rigs they were riding were made for speed, no doubt, but they still had to use their legs to make them move! Move they did and how! Well done, guys!
The Spectrum racing gang consisting of our U-18 talent, Gagan Reddy, and our 50+ talent of Craig Raynes and Hari Menon put in a great show to finish second in the category. Once Hari got distanced in about 20km, it was down to the youngster and the Aussie engine to power the pace. They started a minute ahead of the Scott team and got caught and finished almost with them. So, ended up about a minute behind the first team.
There was a bit of drama for 3rd spot on the podium. Initially the results had the other Scott two man team at 3rd spot but it was quickly discovered that Bangalore Maverick Racing’s team A finished well ahead of them followed by Veloscope’s team A. So, the Scott team was, in fact, 5th in Elite but the initial results had them at 3rd. But they were sport enough to concede the spot when the results were corrected and they were informed.
For most of us, it was a first race on road in rain. We ended up with muddy bikes and muddier faces. The BBCH organizers hired a passing water tanker to help the rider clean their bikes and wash themselves before heading home. Many riders queued up and used BBCH’s innovative customer service. 🙂
Thanks again for all the volunteers and organizers for pulling off another successful BBCH race! Thanks to all the sponsors for supporting the awesome cycling community and the races at BBCH. The sandwich post race from ‘My Cousin’s Place’ was yummy and provided much needed post race nutrition.
Thanks to Veloscope for the awesome race day pics!
Full results from the day are published on BBCh site here: http://bbch.in/BBCh17Race08.htm#BBCh17_08_TTTResult