Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bangalore MTB Race : August 3rd

The Bangalore Bikers Club is a community of cycling enthusiasts in Bangalore. It hosts a wide range of discussions from choice of cycling equipment to weekend ride plans. A few weeks back, a group of cyclists upped the ante and decided to hold competitive events to test the speed and ability of the group members. The first of these events was a ride from Hebbal to Nandi Hills. Due to the extreme nature of the event, the participation was very poor with 5-6 people showing up and only 4 people finishing. The group therefore decided to make the next event more accessible to a larger audience and that is how the idea of the first Bangalore MTB race was born.

The event was held on Sunday, the 3rd of August. An offroad trail of 13 km off Sarjapur Road was recced and marked for the race. The trail was fairly challenging, the terrain ranged from short stretches of smooth tarmac to typical unpaved roads and trails found everywhere in India. The recent rains had converted some sections to slush, some of it so deep that a truck got stuck during the race. It passed through fields, a garbage dumpyard as well as some manmade forests.

The response was extremely good, around 30 cyclists showed up and 25 participated in the race. Though the race was scheduled to start at 8:00 am, there was a delay as the organizing team took longer than expected to mark the trails. It finally started around 8:45.

A few of the riders just took off at the start, I decided to pace myself as I didn’t want to run out of steam in the latter part of the race. I followed a cyclist for almost the entire first lap, but then found that he was going quite slow and once I got past, I left him quite a way behind. I completed the first lap in around 45 minutes and was 11th out of 25 riders. The second lap was almost solitary without much company and I was able to maintain my pace and recorded an almost similar time. On the third lap, I caught up with another rider, Dinakar midway and we rode together till the end of the lap. Though we did not overtake many people, we found ourselves in 4th and 5th places, as many of the riders who had ridden away had dropped out. The timekeeper encouraged us by mentioning that we were just a minute behind the 3rd placed rider. Dinakar took off in pursuit, but I decided to rest for a few seconds before starting off. I used the time to eat a couple of bananas, this was to prove invaluable later. I caught up with Dinakar a couple of kilometers later and as we entered the offroad section, we could see the other rider upfront. I encouraged Dinakar to come with me and we caught up with him quite easily. By then we had come to the slushy part and we found that a truck had got stuck completely blocking the way. Since, we were still racing, all of us dismounted and carried our bikes over the slush. At this time, I was really pumped up and wanted to ride really hard for the next section to put some distance between me and the other two. However, those two guys were really spent and fell quite a bit back, so I relaxed a little bit and concentrated on getting a good rhythm going.

Towards the end of the lap, I spotted another rider (I thought he was the second placed rider, but he was a lap behind) and set about catching him. Though I was able to catch up with him, I decided to wait until the final straight to overtake, it was a long uphill slope and I figured that if I really pushed and got past, he would find it difficult to respond. It worked exactly as I planned, as he saw me coming, he started to pedal faster, but after I shifted to a higher gear and kicked hard, he was unable to respond and gave up. I finally finished almost 50 meters ahead of him. My lungs were literally bursting from the final effort but the feeling of achievement made up for it.

My total time for the 4 laps was 2:55, the lap timings were really consistent, between 43 and 45 minutes for each of the laps. I was quite a way behind the first and second riders, who finished in 2:22 and 2:26 respectively. There were 7 people who finished behind me, the last rider finished in 3:30. In all, 17 out of 25 people completed atleast half the race.

5 comments:

Sanjeev Kumar said...

Dude, I am amazed at your fitness!

reshma M said...
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reshma M said...
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Hai Baji said...
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