Tour of Goa was the only event we could take part in 2020 before everything changed for the entire world with the corona pandemic! Now after exactly an year, we are back at Tour of Goa 2021 thanks to Cycling Goa! Hopefully, this is the first of many cycling events we are going to be part of this year!
40 men and 8 women from various parts of the country and from Goa made it to the start line of the tour this year. While we explored the South Goan routes in 2020, this year the tour is taking us through the villages of North Goa. Day 1 of the tour is a 80km loop of Bambolim – Sevoi Verem – Bambolim.
The ride was flagged off by our friend from Bangalore, Pooja Srinivas, with the 8 ladies leading the ride out of the Bambolim Beach resort where we are staying. The youngsters from the local team, Team Equipe Goa, Team Bros from Bangalore and team Spectrum racing makes the majority of the field this year.
All of us donned the beautifully designed Tour of Goa 2021 jersey and started riding the lovely interior roads of North Goa. Although the climbs are not as steep as those we saw in South Goa last year, the road always points either skyward or down towards the sea, constantly rolling!
The lovely winding roads kept the mind alert while their rolling nature kept the legs and lungs primed. The day started with a nice morning chill but as the kilometres ticked by the sun began staring down curiously at us. The nicely paved tarmac began radiating the heat and started contributing to our raising core temperature!
We regrouped every 20km or so to refill water or refuel on bananas or samosas. Some of us made friends with the locals at some of our pitstops and the menu expanded to stuff like yummy mango poi!
The competitive segment for the day is a 6.8km section on the highway which was nice rolling route with a false flat kind of climb at the beginning.
It was a short intense effort on the cards. A perfect prologue to begin the tour.
With the start and end of the segment marked on the road it was upto Strava to decide the timings. A few guys from Team Bros, Muralidharan, and my teammates Saravanan Sivaraman and Arvind Bhateja were ahead of me as we started the segment.
I kept chasing them using them as carrots and kept going. The HR quickly jumped up and the power was slightly above planned effort. But, I kept at it knowing that the second half is easier and it is short effort. I caught the guys in front one by one and passed them wide. Murali was still ahead of me and Mani caught up and went past me.
All three of us were trying to stay ahead of the other two for a few minutes. I kept my distance from the two by riding wider on the road considering it’s an ITT and drafting is not allowed.
As the downhill and the flat section came, I overtook the two and finished a few seconds ahead of them. But, since Mani started a few seconds behind me, he finished 2 seconds ahead of me for the day while Sudhir from Team Equipe Goa finished 3rd for the day 2 seconds behind me.
With a longer TT section (16.8km as opposed to 6.8km segment today) in tomorrow’s ride, the time gaps might be a bit more than they were today. But, it is great to see the top 10 being seperated by just about 30 seconds.
Proud of Manigandan who took the win for the days CS!
You can check out the days video on YouTube using the link above!