Finishing On A High: Kemmangundi Hill Top Finish!
The day 3 of Tour of Glory is the shortest but also the most intense stage of the tour. The 50km stage with about 1100m of climbing started from Lingadahalli and finished on top of Kemmangundi, a beautiful 11km climb! With the hilltop finish we were set to finish on a high literally and figuratively.
The route is peppered with enough climbing to make it a climber’s stage but also gives others hope of doing well as it is not a long stage. Going full-gas all the way and getting away with it is quite possible in a short stage like this which makes it all the more interesting.
Talking of making it interesting, the organizers of course had it covered in multiple ways. They put a KOM competition points for the 5km climb that starts in less than 5km from the start. If anyone had any doubts about how intense it was going to be, those disappeared as soon as the KOM climb started in the first 10mins of the race.
In Open men after a couple of km of sharing the pacing with Naveen Raj(BMR), KKR(Trek) attacked and gained a lead of about 30 seconds on the climb and took the KOM. Shiven(Track and Trail), Naveen Raj(BMR) and Adarsh(VeloAmici) rode together fighting for rest of the points on the KOM section.
In Master’s category, Arvind(Spectrum Racing) was about 3minutes behind the leader Rajani. So, he was to make any inroads, he had to try something early in the race. So, he began setting a high pace on the climb hoping to drop Rajani and his teammate, Venky Keyframe(BMR). He kept surging to gap Rajani but he kept coming back slowly. The cat and mouse game went on until the last km of the KOM section. With 500m to go Venky and Rajani took the inside line on a steep hairpin bend to go ahead and distance Arvind. Arvind wasn’t able to regain contact after that and it sealed the Yellow jersey fight in Master’s category.
After the KOM climb, there was a brief respite and the road climbs again for 3-4km more before descending for about 3km before we took a U-turn. So, we had to climb back for 3km before descending the KOM climb section and back to the starting point. We then take left to ride towards Kemmangundi. After about 5km after the turn, the 11km climb up Kemmangundi takes us to the finish.
While KKR soloed away from the rest, Shiven, Naveen Raj and Adarsh were riding together until Shiven got distanced on the downhill.
Naveen Raj was mashing away trying to drop Adarsh and he finally succeeded with about 4k to the finish on the final climb. So, the top 3 in open category remained unchanged and with Sarvesh not starting the last day due to illness, Shiven moved to 4th and Venky Keyframe moved to 5th overall.
The young kids rode a brilliant race today. Clearly the shorter distance and the road pointing up worked well for them. Both Prajwal and Niranjan rode well to finish 1st and 2nd in U-18 category.
I rode with Vicki until the base of Kemmangundi and then put in a decent effort on the last climb. She rode at her own pace and finished an impressive 9th overall.
Rajani rode another brilliant race in the hills to take the win in Master’s category.
The beauty of the Kemmangundi climb is hard to explain. The road is very narrow and most of the climb is covered with thick vegetation on either side. At times you see fantastic valley views on the right and hear gushing water flowing in waterfalls as we rode on. The climb itself is very steady and allows us to get into a nice rhythm and ride. It is one of the most beautiful and pristine climbs I have ridden in recent times. It was a perfect setting to finish the lovely tour on a high.
The organizers at LeadOut Sports have done a brilliant job along with the volunteers. The police support from Chikmagalur Police department headed by SP Mr. Annamalai had been phenomenal. The routes were fantastic and need good bike handling skills to race in. Apart from the occasional cow traffic, the traffic on these roads had been sparse and mostly well behaved.
With the successful execution of the inaugural road cycling stage race, I’m sure we will see growth of this event and a few more such events coming up. The Aadrika Hotel in Chikmagalur was fantastic and the food was amazing. I’m surprised that they were able to provide such lovely accommodation and support for such a reasonable race fee. Thanks a ton guys (Sunil Nanjappa, Balu, Dr. Shankar, Sharath and team)! Looking forward to the next edition already!
Read Day 1 report here: https://bvcoaching.in/2017/10/tour-of-glory-day1-bring-your-race-face-on/
Read Day 2 report here: https://bvcoaching.in/2017/10/tour-of-glory-day-2-climbing-up-the-stairs-of-heaven-in-hell/