ISSUE 08 SEPTEMBER 15TH 2013
MEN OF STEEL KHS ULTRA SPORT 2.0 RACE ACROSS AMERICA DOWNHILL DOMINATION
The CRANK with ProCycle Team Publisher and Managing Editor Vikram Limsay Editor Rahul K Thomas Technical Editor Nilesh Dhumal Bike Tester Ajay Kamble West Zone Bureau Divya Tate South Zone Bureau Anita Bora Contributions by Vasanth Ramaswamy, P V Venky, Vasanth, Veloscope Photography, Brijesh Nair, Venkatesh Murugan, Sudheep, Sachin, Prasad, Tamil Nadu Cycling Club, Venkateswara Rao Navanasi, Dario Bruhlmann, Peter Van Geit, Nimmi Sebastian, Nagaraj Harsha and Richard McDowell Registered to Procycle and Sports India Private Limited. Corporate Office: Indiranagar, 889, First Floor, 7th Main, 4th Cross, HAL II stage, Bangalore - 560008. Tel: +91 80 41161902 Showroom: Indiranagar, 37, 11th Cross, 1st Stage, Bangalore - 560038 Tel: +91 80 25202004Â +91 98802 16064 Website www.procycle.in. For queries regarding advertising and subscription, mail us at email@example.com Cover Photograph: Vinay Menon is all business at the Turahalli Downhill Race. Image by Veloscope Rear cover photograph: The ProCycle car stands between the Ministry of Sound and Hedkandi at Sound Awake Printed by: Print 2 Last Solutions
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4 IN THIS ISSUE 1. The World’s Toughest Race by Divya Tate 2. In and Around Town by Anita Bora 3. KHS Ultra Sport 2.0 Reviewed! 4. Lazer Helium Helmet Reviewed 5. Downhill Domination by Rahul K Thomas 6. Men of Steel 7. ProCycle Profiled: Girish Basrur 8. Community Race Roundup 9. Boys’ Toys
Hi! This month we travel out in a camper with Divya Tate as she crewed her way across America in one of the most gruelling bike races in the world. Then we head on over to the continent to take a look at the ‘men of steel’ from near home who completed the Zurich Ironman against all odds. Meanwhile, its been an exciting month at home with new races popping up all over the place. The Bangalore Amateur Race is an exciting new format which pits people not only against others but, perhaps more importantly, against their own limits. The Students Foundation for Sports also held one of the most exciting and well-organised road races we’ve seen for a while. All this time, the Tamil Nadu Cycling Club has been tirelessly promoting bicycling in the sweltering heat of Chennai for the enthusiastic community there. We also review the KHS Ultra Sport 2.0 - the new hybrid on the block, and the amazing Lazer Helium helmet. And of course, we cover arguably the most exciting biking event in the calendar - the BBCh Downhill Race. Mud and mettle came together yet again on the slopes of Turahalli as the best battled it out. Turn the page and read. Then get out and ride!
FAR FROM HOME
RACE ACROSS AMERICA – THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST BICYCLE RACE Text and Images by Divya Tate
In 2012, Divya Tate was part of a crew supporting a solo rider from India as he made his third attempt at cracking the Race Across America. Sadly, he failed. But, Divya was exposed to an amazing event. Its gruelling nature impressed upon her how critical preparation and detailed planning are to making a successful attempt on it. Given the burgeoning interest in longdistance cycling in India, Divya knew there was a lot of interest in the Race Across America (often billed as the world’s toughest
As I stood with my back to the Pacific Ocean, cheering my team at the start line, I got goose bumps, as the Race Across America (RAAM) map popped up in my head and I pictured the team cycling all the way across! “Head East, keep going, till you reach the Atlantic!” What’s the Race Across America you ask? Well, imagine a cycle race that is one long Time Trial - 4800kms, 52,000m of climbing, from West to East across the United States, starting from the Pacific coast and ending at the Atlantic coastline. It is exactly what the name suggests.
race). So, early in 2013, she sought a crewing position with a RAAM team, in order to get on-road experience so that sometime in the not-too-distant future, she can help an Indian crew make a successful attempt on the RAAM. This is Divya’s story of what its like to be on a Race Across America crew.
Male solo racers (who ride the entire distance) have 12 days to finish. Women solos and solo riders in the 50+ age category have 12 days and 21 hours. There are also ‘relay teams’ of 2, 4 or 8 persons, share the riding and get 9 days to finish. Riders and crew alike will face challenges - physical, mental,
who turned to cycling 3 years ago after suffering running injuries was hooked when he heard about the cause. With a deep commitment towards the children, all 4 followed an intense training regimen for the year preceding RAAM, simultaneously raising awareness and funds through friends and family. Most of crew consisted of family, friends and a network of supporters of the shelter who also came together for the cause. We were 14 crew members and 1 videographer, in 3 mini-vans and 2 Mobile homes (RVs). RAAM rules require that racers be accompanied at all times by a support vehicle either directly following the racer or leapfrogging. In a 4-person team racers would be required to ride about 6 hours each per day. Typically racers take turns (in a relay format) from 20-30 minutes to 2 hours before being relieved by a team mate. The 3 mini vans would be used as support, outfitted to provide riders with space to rest and recuperate while they were taken up the road and dropped off at the spot where the rider exchange was to take place. The RVs may not provide direct support to racers while they ride, but provide riders and crew with everything else they need along the way, food, drinks, change of clothes, showers, and a place to sleep. Riders and Crew alike, retire in turns to catch some rest in the RVs, while they are driven up the road. Every crew has a physiotherapist, nutritionist and bike mechanic while the rest of the crew will have to handle a variety of tasks from driving and navigating, to cooking and washing. Pre-ride work involves, strategy building and planning, administration work and building an inventory of all the things that will be needed on the road. I volunteered to manage the metrics and did the time-station projections in the months before RAAM. On the road my role was to work with the nutritionist, on feeding the crew, and to that end I organised the kitchens in the mobile homes before start. Lori at Red Rocks - Arizona
emotional and psychological and sometimes all at once! Crew members can expect to go for up to 2 days without any sleep at all, miss a meal every now and again, and shower only if they are really lucky (or really smelly). One has to quickly learn to do without privacy, live intimately with a group of strangers under high stress and remain functional even as your abilities slow down with sleep deprivation! Needless to say, good humour, an adaptable nature, love and commitment to the riders and their cause, will serve you well. I was crewing for a relay team - Team Break The Cycle (referring to the cycle of abuse), a mixed 4 person, 50 plus team came together to raise funds for a childrenâ€™s shelter in North West Arkansas. The team was conceived by Chip Gibbons, an avid cyclist for 4 years, who thought of the idea 3 years ago, discussing it with Mike Brady, his cycling buddy, both of whom have been involved with the shelter over the years. In 2011 the plan crystallized and Lori Oâ€™Conner who has been cycling for 11 years and has been involved with the shelter for as long, was excited to join the team. Randy Jackson
We left the start point soon after the riders, little knowing how soon we would all have our resilience tested!
Team and crew at start
Before the first day ended, while we were still settling into our roles, the team was dealt a serious blow. One of the riders, Randy developed a health issue that needed to be attended to in a hospital and we were suddenly 1 rider, 1 crew and 1 van down. This meant that the other riders would have to ride a lot more than planned to make up for Randy’s absence. Chip, Lori and Mike showed great resolve, quickly accepting it, while the crew adjusted to new roles to accommodate the changes. For the next 2 days we all operated under ‘higher’ pressure, anxious for Randy’s health and for the well being of the riders under these circumstances. His return to the team was a joyous moment and we welcomed him
back dressed up in ridiculous costumes! While this had been the biggest hurdle to overcome, small glitches, errors, bad decisions and mistakes due to human error all come with the territory, and had been dealt with (mostly) with forgiveness. After leaving the Coast we had driven dry rocky scrubland that soon changes into dessert sand dunes. The terrain continued to be dry and hot, as we went through the spectacular Monument Valley in Utah, finally changing only as we started climbing the Rocky Mountains. We were just past the Great Plains, where the terrain was so flat with a relentless and unpredictable wind. As we continued East in an uplifted mood we got a couple of days
Lori in between pulls
A rare picnic lunch
All teams lined up for start
to enjoy the gently rolling green hills, using music and cow bells to cheer the riders through the last few days. On the last day the rollers became bigger and more challenging as we started to climb the Appalachian Range, the toughest section on RAAM. Once we were over that, the mood was jubilant, knowing that we were finally nearing the Atlantic, having crossed an entire continent from coast to coast. Finishing the race in less than 7 days and 10 hrs, Chip, Lori, Mike and Randy had ridden about 650 kms each day. For the team, the Race was a accomplishment in many respects, the riders finished within the target they had set for themselves, the fund raising had been highly successful and the event had created awareness for the shelter.
Time Station 6 - with itâ€™s celebrated pool!
As for me, I got the invaluable opportunity to learn on the road and, most importantly, we forged great relationships - the kind that has been tested in trying conditions and last a lifetime.
Team at the start point
Team and crew after finish
Racer and crew exchange
IN AND AROUND TOWN
OFF THE BEATEN PATH IN CHENNAI by Anita Bora
In our series of trails and rides around some of our major Indian cities, Peter Van Geit takes Anita Bora through some of his favourites around Chennai. Belgium born Peter became an avid explorer of Indian mountains and jungles by feet, bike and cycle, and says, “Being in virgin nature purifies my soul.”
Favourite trails One of my favorite routes is the scenic Buckingham canal from Shollingannalur to Muttukadu - a wide, flat gravel track alongside a wide canal amid green surroundings, migratory birds and total peacefulness. From Muttukadu (or ECR), one can connect through the scenic backwaters to Kelambakkam for yummy early morning breakfast before returning along a beautiful small road that runs west in parallel with the busy OMR. In between, one can cycle on top of a little hill (where the Puthuppakkam Aanjaneyar resides) from which one gets stunning views of the lush, green plains of the west alongside the high rise buildings of the IT corridor. Before reaching Shollingannalur, one can take a refreshing dip in one of the many big wells in the surrounding paddy fields. The entire loop is around 35 km. The plains around the city are only cycle friendly early mornings or late afternoons, given the tropical sun which is scorching down on us. So my favorite locations for cycling are the hills around the city - one of my favorite destination for off road cycling is Javadhu hills, just a 3 hour ride from Chennai. Located near Vellore with altitudes varying from 800 to 1100m, it is cool and scenic.
Peter van Geit hits the trails
Yet another wonderful destination just 5 hours South of Chennai is the lesser known Shevaroy hills, near Salem. A large part of the hills are covered by coffee plantations which provide lush green and shady surroundings for the cyclist. The hills are dotted with 60+km of little tar roads that wind alongside the slopes between 1000 to 1200m altitude offering astounding views on the surrounding plains. Inside the estates one can find oranges and pepper all around. Some of the estates and coffee factories date from the British era built in the 1920s. There are 3 beautiful ghat roads that connect the plains with the hills, some of them going through dense forest and beautiful bamboo fields. From the Northeastern slopes one can admire the nearby Kalryan hills which are of similar altitude.
Group rides Happiness is greater when shared so I mostly ride along with some 10-15 other like minded cycle enthusiasts.
On planning Whether it’s on bike, feet or cycle Google maps remains my favorite travel planner. Google maps not only shows the lesser known tar roads that connects rural villages and wind through nearby hills, it also allows you to discover wonderful dirt tracks which are great for off-roading. Images courtesy Peter van Geit
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KHS ULTRA SPORT 2.0 This month, we decided to check out the new-bike-about-town, the KHS Ultra Sport 2.0. The Ultra Sport series of frames are both beautiful and robust with arguably the most fluid-looking tubing we’ve seen on a hybrid yet. The 2.0 is their mid-level offering with affordable componentry. Dressed in conservative but beautiful matte black, she’s a looker all right. The shape of the down and top tubes seem clearly derived from their range of hardtails (albeit of less thickness) and have a strong, robust look about them, rather different from the usual slim, roadie-leaning hybrids. In terms of kit, the Ultra Sport 2.0 comes with a decent drivetrain. The Suntour XCT crankset is a slight notch above the non-branded
stuff we are seeing on hybrids these days. The 8-speed drivetrain has a Shimano Acera rear derailleur and Shimano hyperglide cassette with an Altus front derailleur linked by a KMC chain. These are controlled by Shimano Altus shifters up front. All-in-all, shifting is very smooth and is exactly what we’ve come to expect from these components. If you have them set up right and learn to shift properly (taking pressure off the pedals when shifting), they will last you ages with no fuss whatsoever. What makes this bike a bit of a gem is the 75mm travel Suntour NVX fork. More travel gives you a better ride on worse roads and while you won’t be thrashing down trails with your buddies on
Bengal mechanical disc brakes
Budget suntour XCT crankset with a Shimano Altus FD
hardtails, it’ll outshine the average hybrid competition which have 50 to 63mm travel forks. Ride quality is excellent and we found ourselves enjoying breezing along on the Ultra Sport 2.0. In our opinion, this really does qualify as a trekking bike - good for long recreational rides and day tours. With eyelets for racks and panniers, it’ll make for a good multi-day tourer as well, if you’re willing to trade effort for comfort (given the suspension). An added bonus here are the excellent Bengal mechanical disc brakes. The no-name levers help keep the price down while the Bengal brakes and 160mm rotors bring the Ultra Sport to a stoppie in quick time. Watch out for those brakes ‘cos they bite! The Weinmann X-Star wheels roll well and are shod with Kenda 700x40c tyres, further highlighting the bike’s trekking intent. We have to note a bit of an oddity here though. The rim states it is rated for up to 700 x 38c tyres (and general ETRTO norms do back it up per se) so the stock tyres seem a bit wider than recommended. In our experience, there shouldn’t be a problem with using 40c tyres on rims of these dimensions but its rather unusual that the manufacturer would contravene his own recommendations. Our bike also came with a faulty tube up front which had to be swapped. Neither of these are anything more than a niggle but we thought them worth mentioning.
Shimano Acera Rear Derailleur with the Hyperglide cassette and KMC chain
Handling on the KHS is excellent and one of the things which contribute to this are the shorter-than-usual stem. We haven’t seen this short a stem on any kind of hybrid before and we love it! With Suntour NVX fork with 75mm travel - a cut above any other hybrid
Kenda 700x40c tyres make for a very comfy but still nippy ride
an FSA headset to complete the steering package, the bike is very nippy in traffic. So whatâ€™s the bottom line?
Weinmann rims (with the odd tyre sizing mismatch) A nice, ergonomic saddle
The KHS Ultra Sport is an excellent trekking bike which trumps any and all hybrid opposition out there in the Indian market. Excellent design and better-thanthe-average components set it apart from the competition. Considering the horrific slide of the ruppee against the dollar, this bike is now even more value-for-money than before considering other brands are speccing lower level components at much higher prices. If youâ€™re looking for a nippy runabout during the week which will also afford you some weekend fun and mile-munching, this is the bike for you.
The Rollsys Wheel
LAZER HELIUM HELMET This month, we bring you the gorgeous Lazer Helium road helmet.
molded into the top, giving it added solidity and a bit of bling too.
Headquartered in Belgium, Lazer is one of the oldest helmet manufacturers in the world, having been around for more than 90 years (you read that right). So these chaps know what they’re doing. The Helium is their premium road cycling offering and we’ve spent quite some time testing it.
In terms of ventilation, the channels are deep and wide and provide excellent airflow to the noggin. Like other premium helmets, it uses X-Static pads to wick away moisture. The pads can be machine washed and are designed for quick drying.
First off, the weight weenies will be disappointed considering it weighs in at a rather daunting 300 grams plus which is a good bit higher than other helmets at its price point. But, this helmet conforms to not only the European Community CE standards, but also the US’ CPSC and Australia’s AIS which are much more stringent than the CE. Interestingly though, a rider hardly feels the difference in weight. This is thanks to Lazer’s brilliant Rollsys fit system. Basically, this uses a cable running around the helmet to tighten the entire helmet around the head, rather than simply pushing the head from behind, against the front of the lid, as is the norm. It is controlled by a wheel at the top of the helmet and can be adjusted by a simple roll of the finger over it. The Helium also seems to sit lower on the head giving the feeling that one is actually in the helmet rather than having something perched on top of you. Protection at the sensitive back of the head is excellent while being comfortable at the same time. The helmet is made of foam of different densities, making it extremely robust and it also has carbon
The straps are silkier than you would believe possible and are extremely comfortable. Attention to detail abounds with touches such as the little rubber band meant for securing your phone cable. And the excellent magnetic clasp which ensures you don’t have to fiddle around under your chin every time you want to do it up. Overall, with its focus on fit and safety over grammage, some of the roadie tribe might prefer other premium helmets but we love this and we’ll be hanging on to it for a long time to come.
Gautam Taode launches the final jump Image courtesy Veloscope
DOWNHILL DOMINATION by Rahul K Thomas
It had been grey and overcast all week and race weekend dawned no different. Competitors lined up for their practice runs on Friday and Saturday in drizzle and rain, just as they do every year. Sunday the 21st was different however. The weather Gods smiled down on the 3rd edition of the BBCh Downhill Race and even the sun peeked out for a look at the lads laying it all on the line for some serious cred. The top half of the course remained the same as last year with a change of course at the end. Since it had had a night to drain off and dry a tad, the mud was fairly compact with no slush to be seen and just enough moisture for tyres to grip - confidence inspiring enough to let rip.
biking with none of the hairy-scary moments the main line has in store for the unsuspecting. It kicked off at about 8:00 a.m with much enthusiasm, while simultaneously competitors for the main event (the ‘pro’ category) began the trudge to the top.
The Competition Line Off the start rock, into the long curve and then a hard left around a bush (grown dense in the monsoon). Get on the gas hard, rocket through the gap in the rocks and bank hard right. Skitter over the rock and dodge a thin tree stump. Bank right and take the long lefthanded curve around the rock. Stay in the rut or risk being thrown off your line. Stomp down hard and pedal up the slope.
This year the organisers decided to introduce a separate line for the women and for a beginner category (somewhat misleadinglynamed ‘amateur’). This was a short slope on the side of the hill and it aimed to give people a little bit of a taste for the sport of mountain
Roll down the big rock and lean left. Try not to hit the little boulder lurking on the right. It may be covered with a climbing mat for safety but it’ll still send you for a toss.
Countdown to blastoff! Image courtesy Veloscope
Vinay Menon does a slider around the overgrown bush. Image courtesy Veloscope
Look straight and gun it! Stick to the bushes at the apex of the curve left or risk being thrown off course. Keep pedalling until you hit the off-camber rise.
Piyush Chavan rails the long lefthander Image courtesy Veloscope
Take a millisecond to refocus and then just fly. Its all down to the finish from here. Straight down, past last year’s little jump. Stick to the left as the ground dips beneath you and you hit the stutter bumps. Watch the exit and choose your line. Go left around the patch of rock and you will lose time. Go straight and you’ll go over a little rock which will give you proper speed. Get through the exit and in a flash you are past last year’s middle jump. Pedal, pedal, pedal! The ground dips three times as you pick up speed. This year, the last jump has been put on steroids! Its a monster now with a good ten feet to cover before even crossing the lip of the drop. Contestants even in practice were in two minds. Hit it with enough speed and you’ll catch air and keep on going. But, just a little bit slower and you’ll case it and go flying minus your bike. Even the mental dirt jumpers from Pune and some of the fullsussers decide to give this one a miss or treat it like a drop. If you’re on a hardtail, fuggedabahdit!
Seeding run Conditions were fairly windy and a bit nippy at the top and riders were found warming up in sweats for their seeding run while organisers waited for the beginner’s event to finish.
Jibin Joy gunned his way to 5th place Image courtesy Veloscope
Ajay Padval hits the bottom of the course Image courtesy Hellmuth Conz
There were crashes aplenty Image courtesy Hellmuth Conz
Contestants lined up in the order in which they were registered. Riders hit the course with a measure of caution. This year around the organisers didn’t allow practice runs on race day so riders were half in testing mode - testing soil, grip, tyres, suspension, bikesetup and, of course, their own bodies. Grommit Piyush Chavan’s improvement over the last one year has been phenomenal, partly inspired by the arrival of his gorgeous new rig and partly by a shift in focus from freeriding to racing. Naesar rider Gautam Taode’s game has been at its peak with his solid 6th place finish in Hattiban in Nepal. ProCycle rider Ignatius Chen also went to Nepal for the same race and came back with a mission to up his game. Vinay Menon was a freerider long before people in these parts even knew the term. It was a packed, competitive field. By the end of the seeding run, Piyush (third last year) was seeded first with Gautam Taode (first last year) in second and Ignatius Chen in third. Vinay Menon had a bit of a mishap on his run, finishing in fourth with dirt jumper Ajay Padval rounding off the top five.
Final run As the lads trudged up the hill for the final run, organisers quickly redistributed bibs and the scene was set for the final act. The hardtailers put in a solid show, going for broke. There were a number of falls, most of which happened at or around the big jump. Luckily nobody was injured. Kerala boy Jibin Joy had qualified in 8th place. Those who are in the know and had watched him place second at last year’s 4X nationals in Kovalam, knew what he had in him. And boy did he pull out all the stops, putting in a scorching run of 1 minute 15 seconds. A scarcely believable time on a hardtail which earned him 5th place overall. Down to the last four and Vinay Menon came blitzing down the track. As he took off the big jump, onlookers had their hearts in their mouths as he sailed off the course and the front of the bike dipped.
ProCycle rider Ignatius Chen blitzes his final run Image courtesy Veloscope
Vinay Menon catches some big air Image courtesy Veloscope
But, that Fox 40 stood up tall and he finished in style with a grin to boot. 1 minute 8.5 seconds earned him the King of the Mountain hat with still three riders to go. Next up - ProCycle rider Ignatius gave it his all and his improvement was evident. Sailing through with some great air, he landed his jump and sprinted for the finish with a personal best time of 1 minute 9.2 seconds. Gautam Taode came around the curve with trademark fury and hit the jump with all he had. His rear wheel just kissed the lip as he broke the tape in 1 minute 9 seconds, leaving Vinay in the lead with one rider left to go. Being up front isnâ€™t something Piyush has experienced before but he kept his cool like a veteran. As he hit the last jump, spectators knew it must be a quick lap but nobody knew if it would be enough. 1 minute 8.4 seconds! The 2013 King of the Mountain, wins by just a tenth of a second. The podium was held with much fanfare after which the lads decided to do a few jumps and tricks for the cameras. Special kudos to the timing team who did an absolutely standout job. We canâ€™t wait for next year!
The kids and ladies have some fun. Images courtesy Hellmuth Conz
The jump which took Piyush to victory Image courtesy Veloscope
THE IRONMAN Swim - 3.86 km (2.4 miles) Cycle - 180.25 kms (112 miles) Run - 42.2 kms (26.2 miles) Time limit - 17 hours Race Start - 7:00 AM Mandatory swim cut off - 2 hours 20 minutes Mandatory bike cut off time - 5:30 PM Marathon cutoff - Midnight
MEN OF STEEL Most of us have heard about the Ironman. For a lot of us, it seems a long way off - an event completed by the kind of people who we don’t or won’t know. For a few of us, we might know the sort of person who would try something like this. Well, completing the Ironman is becoming something of an obsession with India’s growing running and cycling community and a few intrepid souls recently headed out to Zurich for the Ironman. Held on the 28th of July, there were some 2,400 odd competitors. Today we profile two men of steel who earned the right to call themselves ‘Ironmen’ out by Lake Zurich.
Nagaraj Harsha This young Bangalore boy, by his own admission, was never really athletic. In fact, he says the maximum distance he had ever run before the bug caught him was 5000m in his second year of college. In 2011, he got his first ‘modern bike’ and took 13 hours to ride to Nandi and back. Soon after, inspired by a friend, he decided he would train for an Ironman, despite barely being able to swim a couple of hundred metres. He set his sights on the Colombo Half Ironman in 2012, giving himself just 3 months to train. But complete it he did. And in style, coming 5th in his category. With some success under his belt, he immediately registered for the Zurich Ironman in 2013. Overcoming fractures in his foot, he made it to Zurich in good shape for the
Ironman. But, the day before the event, ha broken bottle cut his foot, potentially hampering his effort. Nagaraj began his swim calm and confident when halfway through he realised he had left his bib behind at the hostel. On coming out of the water, he ran to the organisers where a kindly official took pity on the young boy and issued him a temporary bib.
Ecstatic, Nagaraj blitzed the ride. He suddenly found he was going faster than advisable and slowed his pace a tad. He found himself struggling at Heartbreak Hill, along with hundreds of other competitors. The sweltering heat saw competitors collapsing by the side of the track, vomiting and passing out. At some point he cramped up and simply keeled over himself. A kindly volunteer gave him some soup. Re-energised, he climbed back on and ground out the rest of the 180 kilometres. Heading into the run, he had given himself four hours to complete the 42.2 kms and he seemed to be making good time for the first hour. But, cramp struck yet again and slowed him down considerably. Nagaraj Harsha finally crossed the line and became an Ironman in 13 hours and 17 minutes. Images courtesy Dario Bruhlmann
Richard McDowell A British national, Hyderabad is now Richard’s home and he’s a familiar face to anyone on the cycling scene in India. Richard ran his first marathon and did a couple of half Ironman races last year, in preparation for the Zurich Ironman. Training was proceeding well when right at the end of May, Richard broke his arm. With swimming impossible and cycling a no-no, Richard upped the ante on his running. While this helped him keep in shape to an extent, it meant he was also running the risk of injuring himself (pun intended). This didn’t stop him from racing in a duathlon in Delhi, complete with his cast, which was probably illadvised given that he fell off on a speed-breaker, not being able to hold the bars with his left hand. He still won with a 20-minute lead.
When he cut his own cast off a week early, he found yet another obstacle in that his regular pool was closed for a week. He managed to wrangle membership in another pool just a few days before leaving and got in just enough swimming to calm his rather frayed nerves. Having said that, he had only managed 1 km nonstop and the most he’d ever swum at all was 3 kms. The Ironman required him to swim 3.8 kms so it was still a matter of some concern, considering he was aiming for a sub-10 hour finish. With 2,400 people diving into the lake at the start, competitors have to be prepared to get kicked and punched as they get overtaken in the water. Richard played it safe and smart by hanging back and staying on the edges. 1 hour and 36 minutes later, he was done with the swim section. Then the bike ride. Richard’s layoff had meant he didn’t have as many hard miles under his belt as he would have liked. He started off a lot quicker than he planned and averaged nearly 40 km/h for the first 30 kms. The inclines like the Beast and Heartbreak Hill seemed to go on forever but the declines went in a flash as he hit speeds of 80 km/h while flying downhill. He finished the ride in a time of 5 hours and 35 minutes. The run was what Richard was best prepared for considering all the extra time devoted to it in the preceding months. What seemed like a flat course to the eye was felt very differently by his tired legs though but by lap two, things improved and he found his rhythm. With his parents cheering him on every lap, Richard fought through the low phases and kept going, finally crossing the line in 11 hours and 6 minutes, to massive cheers. The effort had taken so much out of him that he had to be put on a drip. He’s now looking forward to breaking that time. Images courtesy Richard McDowell
Girish Basrur Techie Girish Basrur hadnâ€™t ridden a bicycle for nearly ten years. He did make an attempt a couple of years ago and that quickly fizzled out. That all changed earlier this year when he picked up his new Scott Atacama X60. Now he commutes twelve kilometres each way, several times a week. Not content with that, he regularly heads out on weekends for fifty to sixty kilometer rides. We wish him many more happy bicycle miles.
COMMUNITY RACE ROUNDUP
A Tamil Nadu Cycling Club road race. Image courtesy Tamil Nadu Cycling Club
We kick off a new section called the ‘Community Race Roundup’. In this section, every month, we will give you the lowdown on what’s been happening in the cycling scene across various cities.
Bangalore Amateur Racing (BAR) Those following the community bicycle racing scene in India would be somewhat puzzled by the change in its character. What was a pure amateur, weekend-warrior scene a couple of years ago is now infused with national level riders and semi-pro teams. This usually results in the average amateur, recreational rider being unfairly trounced and sent home.
other using a handicap system. Its a little too intricate to get into here, but the essential idea is that anyone who rides should be able to measure his or her own improvement over time and be recognised for it. Thus, a national-level rider may enter but he may lose to a journeyman by the second race, because the journeyman has improved more than he or she has. In only two races so far, suffice it to say that the BAR is a smashing hit. The very first Individual Time Trial saw 27 competitors, including 3 who made it down all the way from Chennai. Siddharth Kansal and Sarvesh Sangarya from Trek Firefox took the first two places with Gautam Raja and Arvind Bhateja of Team Spectrum taking 3rd and 4th respectively.
Enter a group of riders who decided to level the playing field for their weekend clan and give themselves something to look forward to and train for, every couple of weeks.
In a now familiar sight, Vicki Nicholson came first in the women’s category.
The men from Team Spectrum and Cleated Warriors have come up with Bangalore Amateur Racing - a race which comprises Time Trials (both Individual and Team), which pits riders against each
The second ITT saw Jehaan Punjuani of Team ProCycle setting a new course record of 37 minutes and 35 seconds with Rajanikanh Puttabuddi coming in 2nd, Arvind Bhateja in 3rd and Mohan Kumar
The men and women of the BAR. Image courtesy Veloscope
in 4th (both of Team Spectrum). Applying the handicap system, Sharath M S came first with Prajval Ray in 2nd and Rajanikanth creditably making it to the handicap podium as well, in 3rd. The BAR is in the process of experimenting with various ways of making racing fun for the amateur (other than the hendicap system) so we suggest you stay tuned at https://www.facebook.com/ BangaloreAmateurRacing
over 40km per hour on the way out, but had to fight headwinds on the way back. In the end, Siddharth Kansal of team Trek Firefox timed his sprint to perfection to finish first with Dev Veeramachaneni in second. The next four places were taken by the same young guns who had already raced in the U 23. Whew!
With the input of Venkateswara Rao Navanasi
The top six winners of the race head out to compete in the state championships later this year.
Student’s Foundation of Sports - Bangalore District Level Road Race
With the excellent organisation of this race, SFS has definitely set the standard for other clubs to emulate.
The lads from Students Foundation of Sports (SFS) decided to hold a ‘district level road race’ and they did it in style.
With the input of Venkateswara Rao Navanasi
Tamil Nadu Cycling Club Held on Old Madras Road in the Hoskote area, two lanes of an entire section of about 12 kms of road were closed off to the public with police patrolling the entire area and volunteers in key places. There were three categories - Under 23, Women’s and Open Men’s. The U23 and Women’s categories raced about 25 kms while the men’s open category was nearly 50kms. The Under 23 podium was swept by SFS with Arogya Pradeep, Andrew Gerald and Praveen Kumar taking first through third. Sarvesh Sangarya came in fourth. What was even cooler in our opinion, is that after sprinting their hearts out here, these boys then turned around and competed in the open category as well. In the Women’s category, Vicki Nicholson of Team Spectrum blitzed the field winning with the ‘small’ lead of some 15 (ridiculous) minutes. In the Men’s Open category Team Spectrum dominated the peloton with SFS making up the second largest group in the contingent. It was perhaps only appropriate then that Spectrum drove the pace of the race. Forming a peloton, they clipped along at a merry pace of
The Tamil Nadu Cycling Club has been around for a few years and have quite the packed annual itinerary. In fact, if you were to glance at it, you would see everything from trail rides to time trials to factory visits and tours. Their stated goal is to ‘promote Cycling across all walks of life as a Sport, for Good Health, Greener Environment, eco tourism, and as a sustainable mode of transport.’ And they certainly go about that with a vengeance. They have quickly gained a reputation for having arguably the best organised races on the community racing scene. Their last Individual Time Trial held on July 14th saw 27 of the best riders around. The leaders tore up the tarmac at average speeds in excess of 35 km/h with the winner, Richard McDowell (also featured in our Ironmen story) clocking an amazing 40.67 kms per hour on average over a distance of 24.65 kms. Ramesh Nagaraj, Aditya and Vishanath finished 3rd, 4th and 5th with Sarvesh Sangarya rounding off the top 5. Follow the TCC at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ tamilnaducyclingclub/
ELITE CUSTOM RACE BOTTLE CAGE
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MUC-OFF C3 CERAMIC WET LUBE
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GET OUT AND RIDE! ProCycle at the Sound Awake EDM festival, in front of the Ministry of Sound and Hedkandi stages
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