Thursday, October 24, 2013

2013/2014 Randonneuring Season - When journey is the destination

Alright.You have done brevets in Hyderabad before. Does it make sense to do this again this year? Has there been any changes from last year? Actually there are. And lots of them. If you are the kind who likes adventure and challenge, the brevets this season is something you  should look forward to.

Here is a brief writeup of what has changed.
  • Highways and Country roads, only loops : Unlike the previous years, this years route have a good mix of highways and country roads. All the routes are loops. That is, you are not going to trace the same route back while coming.
The country roads during the recce of one of the 200 km route

  • Scenery and Adventure : The routes this times are going to provide you a glimpse of some of the most scenic places around Hyderabad. As a result, very often you will find yourself on the road less taken. You will ride through some stunning countryside, crossing fields, hills , lakes and even forests. As an example, one of the 200 km brevet route takes you through Anathgiri hills ( near Vikarabad) past the Kotepally lake. A few other routes passes through Kawal wildlife sanctuary, Pocharam lake , and Narsapur forest .
One of the lesser known roads through Ananthgiri hills
  • Challenges : You guessed it right.The routes have become tougher. You will encounter climbs and rolling terrain, stretches of bad roads and navigation challenges. You will also have to manage your supplies well as your ride through the country roads at the wee hours of the morning. The medals, though, will be well earned.
At the top of one of the climbs

  • Control points : There's going to be more frequent control points. Manned as well as unmanned. We will ensure you are on your toes, always:-)
Control point

  • Variety : There is going to be multiple 200 km and 300 km routes this time. So you can choose to do the ones what excites you. You could also end up doing all the routes :-) 
A stretch on the 300k brevet

Here is a link to the brevet routes this season -

Before I sign off, I must thank the entire Hyderabad Brevet organizing team who have been owned the whole thing starting from working out the route options, doing the recces  for each and every shortlisted routes, and filling up the route approval forms. We look forward to a great 2013/2014 Randonneuring Season.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Inside Business Ethics

Can 'business' and 'ethics'  survive together ? Hmm, I can tell you for sure, that’s not easy. I thought I might as well put a few questions down here and have you guys ponder upon them.

Would you always recommend a bike because you think that is the right bike type( hybrid , MTB etc) for the customer ( based on his usage, body dynamics, etc). What if that 'right bike' is not in stock? Would you let the customer know that the bike/size you think suits him best is not in stock and he has to wait a week or two for it ( If your answer is yes, you can lose the sale)? Or would you rather not be transparent and suggest him something based on what you have? What if you had a really bad month so far and can't really afford to lose the sale?

Would you stock a product if you know it is not a great product? What if the margin is very good? What if the guy distributing /importing the product is a very good friend/relative of yours and could put your relationship at risk if you deny him? Is your answer still 'No' ? Lets assume you are the kind who at any cost will not keep something you believe is not 'up to the mark'. What if you did a mistake in product selection and only realised it later that the product is not of desired quality? Would you admit to your customers when they ask for suggestion, knowing you will be stuck with the products that you think is 'bad'? What if it has huge financial implications and set you back in a big way ?

Would you stock something knowing the product is great but the margin is too small for the whole thing to turn out profitable? If the answer is 'No', would you admit the reason to customer when they ask you why you not stocking it? When the customer asks you opinions on the same product, would you give him honest opinion knowing that it might result in you losing the sale and he going and picking up the product from a different channel?

Luckily, we knew what we believed to be the right answers even before we started in 2009.  And over the years, the answers have not changed. These are the answers that translates into our 'values', gives meaning to TBA and our life.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Review - Bergamont Helix 2.3

Dharma Teja started cycling in early 2010 on his Hercules act 110. Since then he has owned and ridden many bikes  including a giant rival MTB , Schwinn Madisson and a Fuji Roubaix 1.3. On the bike, he loves to push his limits and takes special interest in randonneuring. Here , he reviews the Bergamont Helix 2.3. All pics by Manu Balasree.

This is first of the two road tests to test and compare two popular dual sport bikes in market today. Bergamont Helix 2.3 and Trek 8.2 DS are the two entry level dual sport bikes that claim to offer balanced road and offroad performance. We hope to give detailed insight into the two cross roaders to help buyer make an informed decision.

Helix 2.3 - Just another city bike?

When I was asked to review the Bergamont Helix 2.3, first thoughts that crossed my mind are it's just another hard tail hybrid . But the hundred kilometres that I rode on proved it is much more than what meets the eye. This road test comprises of riding 30 km in city traffic, 55 km of road riding and 20km of trail riding. And incidentally the trail riding part happened during a cross country race where I finished fourth riding it stock without any kind of changes.

Bergamont Helix 2.3


Frame is double triangle with slightly sloping top tube, a geometry that is perfect for a cross bike.

Adapt on road and off road, Bergamont classifies the bike under 'Cross'

The blue/black matte graphic scheme gives an overall smooth flow of appearance to the bike. Frame protecting tape and cable rubbers are nice touches.The bike weighs a tad less than 14 kg . The overall build stands upto highest quality levels that is expected of a German make.

German Engineering

Tubing is single butted 6061 aluminium alloy with heat treatment to improve tensile strength.

6061 aluminium, single butted tubing

The bike ( men's version) is available in size 46cm and 52 cm in India.There is also a female version of the same bike , available only in size 46 cm.


Drivetrain : The bike comes with 21 speed trigger shift , 14-28 teeth freewheel and 48-38-28 crankset. Nothing much to write about here, the gearing is standard across hybrids and cross bikes.

Bottom bracket : The make is unspecified, but we found it to be fluid and efficient.

Wheel set : Rims are pretty strong and did not go out of true during the test. Hubs are decent and they roll well.

Fork : Fork is Suntour NEX 63mm travel.Even though it's a short travel fork, it doesn't bottom out nor is hard for road jolts to travel upto rider arms. This makes this bike a joy to ride both on road and off the road. Wide tyres complement it by cushioning road bumps. The fork comes with disc mounts, in case you opt for the same in future.

Suntour NEX 63 mm

Brakeset : The Tektro brake callipers and levers are of good quality and braking power is quite good. Gradual two finger squeeze is all that is needed and there is enough power for emergency braking. 

Tektro calipers and brake shoes grips the rim well.

Tires : Stock tyres, though of 700x38 size, have a got lower contact area to due to tread curvature , consequentially offers lesser rolling resistance than expected of a 38c wheel.

Stock tire of helix 2.3

Cornering is not compromised as there are two outside knobby patterns that provide the required grip. The well designed saddle is comfortable, and is neither too soft nor too hard .


Some observations

The bike comes with slightly longer steerer than usual. Aggressive riders may want to lower the stem as per their taste. Handle bar has got slight rise allowing minor adjustments in reach. Grips are comfortable and non slippery. Saddle could be a personal choice , but I found the saddle  comfortable and did not find any pain or numbness . I liked the fact that the seat post has scale marked to get correct position. This can be useful every time you change height between road and off road riding or if you share your bike with friends or family.

Seat post with marking


Road Test

Being a cross bike, on road, the bike behaves slightly differently than a regular hybrid with rigid fork. What it means is that you ride it more like a 29er MTB but with a narrow handle bar. Zipping through traffic is effortless and one doesn't need to worry too much about undulations and road hazards. In fact, on congested roads, one can get onto pavement or off the road shoulder easily because of wider tires and good suspension.
The fork is surprisingly good on road even without any lockout. It does eat up some pedal power but it is far from anything to be called 'soft'. In fact, it is just the right suspension to take on all road bumps and yet to give considerably easier ride than any other hard tail MTB or hybrids. For riders who need fenders, there is ample clearance under fork and between seat stays for various types of fenders to be fit. 

Ample clearance for fenders

Even wider tyres can be fit without issues. As far as road performance is concerned this bike rides and handles better than a regular MTB but a tad bit slower than a equally specked hybrid with rigid fork. 

Dirt Test

Take this bike to a dirt trail, that is where it leaves all other hybrids and many MTBs eating dust in its wake.  I had the opportunity to ride this bike in a 20 km cross country race where it held up very well. Stock tires come with slick grip and knobby thread on out side which improves handling in sand and mud. Cornering is very good . At one stage in that race, I took sweeping corners in dirt to overtake other racers and the bike was asking for more. Suspension soaks up all short drops and bumps. Drops of up to 2 feet are no big deal, both the wheels and fork does good job of keeping you straight on landing. On the flat and slightly inclined(down) stretches of the race, I appreciated the fact that the big chain ring is of 48 teeth. Stability is very confidence boosting, thanks to the geometry and tires that dig deep when necessary yet can slice like a knife through butter. There is very negligible amount of frame flex under hard acceleration uphill. Brakes have good bite through slush and water. Even though this bike comes with basic derailleur configuration, I didn't have any problems shifting gears while attacking uphill sections even on dirt roads.

Stock pedals are not the right choice if one wants to venture off road on this. Even slightest wet patch will leave you hunting for grip on those plastic entry level pedals.To summarize, The helix 2.3 is rightly called a Cross bike.



It is fair to say that I have been taken by surprised by the Bergamont Helix 2.3.   This is one versatile bike which rides quite good on both paved and unpaved paths. For someone in the market looking to buy a bike that can sail them over potholes and bumps on road and exploring trails around, this is a very apt ride. Most new riders who buy MTB end up riding it on road more than on trails. For them, this could be a  very good option  as they can still enjoy occasional offroad trips without sacrificing much fun on long road rides. At the price point of INR 29,000 as on date, this bike is worth the money you pay for it. There are cross bikes like Montra Blues at lower prices but the geometry is not right and suspension is too soft. There are faster hybrids without suspension at this price point, but if one is looking for purely road(particularly non city road) use then this is not the bike to pick anyway.  Next we bring you test report of Trek 8.2 DS and review how the two bikes stack against one another.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monsoon Maintenance of your Bike

Venkat Anil is  a passionate mountain biker and senior Bike Tech at TBA. Apart from playing the role of Tech Expert , he is also in charge of Quality Control and Process Implementation of the Tech Department. Here he talks about taking care of bikes during the rains.

Photo Credit : Manu Balasree
It is monsoon time! The green cover is as good as it ever gets. The cloud cover will give us the magical shade that  inspires us to ride the whole day. Add to it the burst of rain that you might absolutely love or hate on a ride. Whatever it is, riding during these monsoon months is something that you would not like to miss out on.

However, riding in rain also calls for some  basic bike maintenance steps. Unfortunately, new riders are not aware of this which leads to premature wear and tear of components.That includes worn out chain, noisy bottom bracket, poor gear shifting and stuck seat posts. Assuming you won't have time to indulge in a full fledged  cleaning routine every time you are back from a monsoon ride,  here is a 10 min routine you need to follow as soon as you re back from the ride.

1.Turn the Bike Upside Down : Keep her like  that for a min to drain out water from some of the nuts and bolts which otherwise might pick up rust.
2.Wipe and lube your drive train : Turn it back on wheels and spray  water on the drive train parts(cogs, chain, chain rings, jockey wheels) and wipe them off with a cloth piece . Apply lube liberally. The extra lube will drive out the muck from the chain links. Do this as soon as your back from the ride.

3. Use Wet Lubes : Lubes like Finish Line Wet  are designed for wet conditions. They don't get washed away in rain or water crossings easily and hence stops the chain from running dry in wet conditions ( unlike the dry lubes which will get washed away with a  short spell of rain).
4. Clean your Rims and brake Pads : Use a piece of cloth to wipe the rims and brake pads surface after every ride in rain. This will ensure two things :
  • brake pads will not wear-out soon
  • Braking efficiency will not do down.
5. Clean you Rotor and disc brake pads :Clean the rotor and brake pads with a piece of cloth the same way as point no 3 above.

6. Wipe of muck from your seat post and  around the seat clamp : To do this, lean the bike to one side and take the seat post off and clean the seat post and the interior part seat tube of the frame. This will ensure the muck doesn't get inside the seat tube.
One last bit of advice. Use a full mudguard. It will not only save your back, it will save the amount of time you spend cleaning your drive train and brake sets.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

HCCC 2013/5 - Team Time Trial

Its the almost the end of August and the  2013/5 Time Trial is not far away. The race is on the medchal road with approximate distance  around 25km. So if you haven't got a team yet, pull in a couple of your riding buddies, form a team and sign up for the race.

Here is the point standings for the road category till today for the road season(ending in Dec 2013)

Like  the July 2013 mass start race, we are going to have 2 categories for this race as well. - Road and GLNDY( Got Legs No Drops Yet).  There is going to be separate podiums  for both categories!

REGISTRATION ( mandatory) : HCCC 2013/5 Team Time Trial Registration
When : 04 Aug 2013
Reporting Time : 6 am
Reporting point : Narsingi Circle (refer map below)
Route map - (2 loops of the route in map)
Distance : 20 km
Registration fee : Rs 150

  • This race is the 5th race of 2013 race calender. Riders will receive points for each of the 9 races in this calender year. The grand winner of the season will be declared at the end of Dec 2013 race. There is going to be separate winner for Road and Mountain Categories.
  • HCCC 2013/5  is a Team Time Trial. Riders need to be part of a team to participate in this. Min team size is 2, max is 6.
  • The clock stops only when  the third rider of the team crosses the line. In other words, a team's time  will be the time taken by the 3rd rider of each team crossing the line.
  • All participants will be required to sign an indemnity bond before start of the race.
  • Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent (who will have to sign the indemnity bond and take all responsibility of the participant)
  • Helmets  are mandatory.
  • There are going to be 2 categories - Road and GLNDY( Got legs, No Drops Yet). For a team to fit into GLNDY category , none of their riders should be riding a Road bike/Time Trial Bike/Drop bar bike.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Race Report , HCCC 2013/4 - Luck, Teamwork and Podium

As told by Richard McDowell

Riders chit chatting before race.
The HCC race began with a pleasant 20km warm-up spin to the start-point where a small group of eager cyclist was gathered on a variety of bikes, from roadies to MTB's and single-speed hybrids.

The Race :
Once the MTB/Hybrid category ( named GLNDY - Got Legs No Drops Yet) race had started the rest of us were entertained by the late arrival of Maninder getting all excited about having to sign indemnity forms and get a race number before he could start and try and catch up with the racers.  After he had departed the 6 roadies got ready for their race to start. Phani and Jetharam  were all on their Trek Madones, Aditya on his Trek 2.1, Chitti Babu was on his bar-tapeless Orbea, Gokul was on his classic Cannondale and I was on my Chinarello.
Instructions before the race starts.
Things started at a sensible pace, with folk taking their turns on the front although it wasn't too long before Phani dropped off the back due to limited time on the bike recently.

Can you spot the 5 riders in the paceline?

After about 10km I injected a little bit a pace which reduced the pack from 5 to 3, with Jetharam and Aditya and I.  Aditya was at a distinct disadvantage as he was up against 2 team-mates who would be working together, but clearly his recent training has paid off as he rode very strongly.  My plan of constantly attacking back-fired as it turned out that he could respond to the changes of pace better than I could, and I was distanced from the lead pair as we a approached the turn-around point.  
Me getting dropped

At the turn around point
The marshals and photographers were entertained with a bit of boisterous riding at this point which was darting all over the road! Normally this would be the point where I would have been resigned to 3rd place at best, and watch the leaders work together to disappear off into the distance, however when one of them is a loyal team-mate, things can go a little differently! 

Jetharam did a good job of controlling the pace up front to let me catch up, and Aditya didn't seem particularly impressed to see me join their group again.  After a few brief changes in pace things settled down to a comfortable speed with everyone wondering who was going to launch an attack first.  It was probably more by luck than anything else that I happened to be on the front of the group when I spotted the hi-vis vests of the marshals at the finish line, and Aditya was caught a little off-guard when I accelerated with about 150m to go.  It was a very close finish, with all 3 of us within around 1 bike-length, but Jetharam managed to nose ahead of Aditya who was a most disappointed 3rd.  

Onto the Podium!

Unfortunately it isn't always the strongest rider who wins, luck and team-work can play a huge part, and I can say without any doubt that had I not been on the same Trek-Firefox team as Jetharam, I would have finished a long way back from the first 2 finishers.  Next time Aditya will have to make sure that his team mate Raman turns up to support him!  The other 3 roadies finished soon afterwards, along with all the MTB/Hybrid riders.  The excitement in that category was apparently Maninder catching everyone, but then being delayed fixing a puncture.  
Waiting for the other riders to turn up

The support :

I think a good time was had by all and thanks to the sponsors - Ozone ventures( Distributers of Bergamont bikes, Schwalbe tires and Vincita bags) and HappyEarth (Distributor of polar bottles, park tools,  night rider lights and many more) and Sphere Fitness and Sports( distributor of sigma lights and computers, Ridley bikes, Vredestein tires), we had a great set of prizes to distribute to the podium finishers.

A special thanks to the photographers and volunteers. Manu and Sarita did a great job with the camera. And Sarita, along with Sumit and Krish did a splendid job in managing the registration desk, manning the run around point and time keeping.

The Result :

Race Report , HCCC 2013/4 - Racing on 48x18

As seen by Dharma Teja :
The Race :

It was the 7th day of July, 2013, Sunday.  Stage was set for the fourth HCCC race of the season, the 55 km Medchal Road Race.Racers from different places in the city started arriving at the start point by 6 AM. From TheBikeAffair (  store, a group of volunteers and racers arrived by two cars, followed by a vehicle carrying their bikes and stationery. Few more came riding to the start point which is about 20 km from heart of the city. 

Riders setting up their bike

A chat on race strategies?

                         Race was on open roads on Hyderabad-Nagpur highway, which is a very nice road with  moderate amount of traffic and without any unexpected road surprises. Organizers had shortened the  original distance of 55 km to 44 km to avoid a checkpost on the way. They had also moved back the finish line by 6 km  to avoid the busy Medchal intersection.
Registration Desk, Managed by Sumit and Sarita
                          Registrations commenced by 5:50 am. Inclusion of new category called GLNDY( Got Legs No Drops Yet ) for amateur racers have drawn decent number of riders. There were 3 volunteers apart from The Bike Affair organizers helping out registrations, taking timings and overseeing race arrangements. Manu Balasree and Sarita were snapping  the race proceedings, capturing all the defining moments with his usual zest. 

                        I was on my single speed - the Schwinn Madison. I didn't get to ride or train for the previous 4 days and I had no expectations whatsoever of outspeeding others who were on multispeed road bikes, hybrids and mtbs. Had it not been for Krish who persuaded me to sign up, I would have been volunteering there shooting with Manu or helping out some way. Myself with my Schwinn Madison was just there to see how I could time the distance under  that competitive stimulus. I had done a 200 km on the same bike at an average of 25 kph on the same highway  but  that was about 10 days ago. Having not ridden much before that day,  I planned to ride 20 odd km distance from home to start point, for warming up to the race. But Krish's message that morning announcing that they got bike transport to race point got better of my lazy self.  I dropped at TBA store which was about 5 km from home. Having reached the start point in comfort of Manu's car, I thought of doing my self some favour by stretching out to do some volunteer work. Laid out the  start line and helped with some other minor things.                        
Marking the start line
                        Race started at 6:30 am sharp, by flagging off the amateur racers first, followed by roadies. I was standing last, behind everyone as I knew I would be struggling to get shoes into toe clips.  I didn't want hinder any racers behind me. I put those toe clips only the previous night and didn't even  test ride them. I even took the stock platform pedals along on bike, incase I found toe clips too uncomfortable to complete the race- to quote 'Forrest Gump', “ stupid as stupid does”.  The intention was to prevent pedal slip during high cadence spins.  As I had expected, it took me a few moments after flag off to get my feet into clips and get comfortable. Meantime, everyone else sprinted off the start line, it all was like the repeat of my previous cross country in Feb where I had a pedal seize just after flag off.  But this time a bit luck was on my side.

GLNDY guys, just about to start.
                        With no gears to worry about, all I did was to pedal with my strength  and  gradually  overtook other riders who were still getting into a proper gear suitable for the  initial gradient just after start.  I was a bit surprised with that take off and wanted to continue the lead.  Until then I didn't have a strategy but then I realized that with a dashing take off I could break the strategies of other riders as it is natural instinct to chase anyone going faster than us.
Race Started!
                        Spotted a green jersey in distance and as I sprinted past him, found him to be Srinivasa Hosamane who recently did London-Paris challenge. He maintained a good lead till I crossed him. Looking over my shoulder I found Magin George and Anubhav chasing me. The race distance yet to be covered was considerable and I cannot be sprinting at same pace all the way. Having thought so, I eased my effort to group with Magin and Anubhav. Anubhav on his Trek MTB was leading for some distance. Magin was keeping close on his ACT110. We rode alternating the lead till Medchal after which road started sloping down. Anubhav and Magin quickly outpaced me with higher gears and I responded by spinning faster. My speed is limited by how much I can spin and I knew the max I could do was to spin at about 120 rpm to reach 40 kph. The road after Medchal has a moderate gradient and thats where I overtook the duo. Sprinting up an incline is so much fun on an appropriate singlespeed. 

Magin George powering his way out

Anubhav leading, followed by Sri, Maninder and Eswar
                        Having  done two long rides on that highway previously, I had a fair idea of the terrain and road conditions. I knew the road after turn around point is mostly downhill with moderate climbs here and  there. It is tough to shake off anyone on a geared bike  on such a fast stretch. I thought I have to give my best while it was tough and uphills were my best bet. I kept sprinting up slopes at speeds of 27 kph. Within a short while I had built a good lead and to keep it intact I had spun very fast on downhills.  About half an hour into the race, my average speed was about 32 kph which was the fastest I ever clocked on any bike. That effort tired me and realizing atleast an hour more of race was still on, I eased effort on uphills and kept spinning on downhills. Within a few minutes I started recovering from that initial drain of energy and sipped a few ounces of water. It was difficult to even gulp while maintaining cadence, had to take a mouthful and swallow slowly over distance. 

Vishu and Abhimanyu
                        I never realized when  Krish's car overtook me but I saw them down the road waiting with cameras to snap riders racing. The second time I met them, I faintly heard Krish screaming  that I had about 30 sec lead over Maninder. Looking over shoulder I saw no one in distance and wondered if I heard Krish right. After all, Maninder didn't turn up at the start and maybe it was Magin whom Krish was referring to. Thinking I might have lost too much time, I increased my effort  to better the pace and maintain good  lead. Kept looking  back  and still saw no hint of  any other rider. Was also wondering why it took so much time for road bikers to catch up, later learnt that road bikes were flagged off   some 15 minutes after our take off. Sensing that am going overboard again,  I  eased  my effort to maintain a much more comfortable pace. After all, it is still better to finish race in any position than to carry a DNF flag. I was anticipating that any moment,  roadie jets would  zoom by firing on all cylinders.

Jetharam, Richard and Aditya
                        Road bikers eventually zoomed past me. It was JeethaRam, Richard and Aditya in a tight pace line. A short while later, I saw Chitti Babu going past me and chasing them. I heard later that initially all roadies were in a single pace line but couple of riders pushed the pace to shatter the group. Eventually it was that trio I saw who kept close to one another dropping everyone else behind. Chasing those guys would have been like trying to catch a running train, so I kept riding at my own pace, happy about having lead in amateur category. 
Maninder speeding past other riders on his aero MTB
                        That was until Maninder overtook me. That was a shocker. He was drooping so low that I thought he was trying to pickup something on road while riding. I had no clue how he managed to ride like that on MTB with wide handle bars. (Later learnt that he was riding holding front suspension!!)  And the fact that he didn't start with us also meant he too must be riding at  his limits to  make up for the lost time. So I thought even though I may not  overtake him immediately, by trying to tail him as close as possible, I may get a chance to sprint on  uphill somewhere close to finish line.  Having set  my radar on him, I tried to keep a constant distance between us. He was riding off the saddle on uphills where I was comfortable sprinting still on the saddle, that's where I used to reduce the gap. He gained back that lead on downhills. 
Anubhav taking the corner at the turn around

                        It continued that way till turn around point after which I had to slow down to get hydrated. I still couldn't manage to drink while spinning. At the turn around point Krish, Manu and others were taking snaps of the riders.  A short while after turning around, Gokul overtook me on his classic Canondale road bike. Didn't knew why his carbon lady was left out. I maintained as much speed I could on every little uphill that came by because on downhills I had a clear speed disadvantage. Kept going like that with Gokul and Maninder in my sights. After going over one such uphill, I  saw only Gokul and wondered if Maninder has used some unseen jet pack to vanish. Going down that slope, I suddenly realized Maninder has pulled over and was inspecting his tires. I screamed out asking if he needs any help, to which he nodded negatively. Knowing he was self sufficient, I continued my effort. For about a few kilometers  it was a very fast downhill as I expected earlier and I topped out spinning at 41 kph. All road bikers including Gokul vanished off. Knowing that less than 10 km to finish line are left, I kept pacing without stretching myself to limit. Having lost Maninder, with a good lead already built up, I then tried to get the best timing for myself. The last 2.5 km to finish line was a gradual ascent which tested rider's mettle and mattered a lot in the finish timings.

Me at the finish line
                        Close to Medchal, at the finish line, I spotted the volunteers and roadie group and was thrilled to experience my first ever podium finish. It was even  more special because it came so casually. I was not even wearing cycling outfit save for the helmet. Didn't have any pain some  butt discomfort  because of intense spinning. Thought it was time I got a good set of bibs.

                        Magin George came second in amateur category followed by Abhimanyu Pamulapati. Abhimanyu started slowly but amazingly maintained a consistent pace to outrun everyone else on  hybrids and MTBs. Maninder fixed his flat and finished after Abhimanyu.  Learned that the first three finishers in road bike category came close at each other heels, literally.   Also heard there were some confusion as some of the road bike riders spotted the finish line pretty late resulting in a very late sprint.

Post race banter
The Support :

                        After all the riders finished their race, we proceeded to start point, which was about 8 km down the road to attend  podium celebrations. A big thanks to Ozone ventures( Distributers of Bergamont bikes, Schwalbe tires and Vincita bags) and HappyEarth (Distributor of polar bottles, park tools,  night rider lights and many more) and Sphere Fitness and Sports( distributor of sigma lights and computers, Ridley bikes, Vredestein tires) for chipping in with the goodies.

Me, Magin and Abhimanyu on the podium

The complete group.

The Result :

Timings of podium finishers in each category:

Friday, June 28, 2013

HCCC 2013/4, 7July2013, Road Mass Start, 55 km, Medchal

Its time for the 1st Mass Start Road Road race of this season – HCCC 2013/4, Mass Start Road/Medchal/55 km. There is some good news for non roadies. We have now introduced a new category . Its called – GLNDY( Got Legs No Drops Yet). So in essence, its  less about the bike , more about the legs :-). There is going to be seperate podium celebration for both categories!

REGISTRATION ( mandatory): HCCC 2013/4 Race Registration

When : 07 July 2013
Reporting Time : 6 am
Route map ( Miyapur to Start Point) - How to Reach
Driving direction : The start point is right after the flyover which comes immediately after dhola ri dhani, while driving from Dhola ri Dhani to medchal. Its around 1 km from Dhola Ri Dhani.
Distance : 55 km
Registration fee : Rs 150
Transportation : We will try to carpool riders to start point. If we need to hire transport to carry bikes to start point, the cost is going to be shared among riders opting.

  • This race is the 4th race of 2013 race calender. Riders will receive points for each of the 9 races in this calender year. The grand winner of the season will be declared at the end of Dec 2013 race. There is going to be separate winner for Road and Mountain Categories.
  • Mass start - All riders start together.
  • All participants will be required to sign an indemnity bond before start of the race.
  • Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent (who will have to sign the indemnity bond and take all responsibility of the participant)
  • Helmets and gloves are mandatory.
  • Anybody who is not riding a road bike fits automatically into category GLNDY.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

HCCC 2013/2 - Cross Country Mountain Bike Race

For all you Mountain bike fans out there, this, for a change is not about setting the tarmac on fire. This one is meant for the knobby's and is going to test your skill and endurance. Welcome to the second race of the season, Cross Country MTB race.

What is a Cross Country Mountain biking ?
Mountain Biking  puts you closely in touch with nature and the landscape and every ride has the potential to become a mini adventure. However, for some, the ultimate test is to start racing.

Cross-country racing emphasizes endurance above technical prowess. Cross-country races traditionally feature a mass start or interval start, where riders are released in several large groups divided by age and/or ability. Courses and trails consist of a mix of rough forest paths, single tracks and dirt.

Event Format : 5 laps , each lap can be summed up as 3 km of dirt, rock and climb to test your skill and endurance.

Venue : Ameenpur lake. Click here for directions  from Miyapur X roads
Race starts @ Sunday 5.40 am , 05 May  2013
Registration fee : Rs 200/rider.Will be collected at the venue at 5.00  am.

Things to Get Along :

1. Bicycle in Good working condition.
2. Water Bottle/Hydration pack
  1. This race is the second race of 2013 race calender. Riders will receive points for each of the 9 races in this calender year. The grand winner of the season will be declared at the end of Dec 2013 race. There is going to be separate winner for Road and Mountain Categories.
  2. Mass start - All riders start together.
  3. All participants will be required to sign an indemnity bond before start of the race.
  4. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent (who will have to sign the indemnity bond and take all responsibility of the participant)
  5. Helmets and gloves are mandatory.
  1. You are requested to report at the venue an hour before the race starts. Participants will have to give their details, sign indemnity bonds, and install the bibs on their bikes before the briefing starts at 5.30 am.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hyderabad Duathlon on 28th April 2013

Want to set yourself a challenge? Think you are tough? The Bike Affair along with Hyderabad Runners presents the Hyderabad Duathlon for the athlete in you. Be there to get your bragging rights.

What is a Duathlon ?
As per Wikipedia, "Duathlon is an athletic event that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and then another running leg in a format bearing some resemblance to triathlons." In simpler words, A duathlon is like a triathlon without the swimming,  involving two disciplines – running and cycling and three stages (run-bike-run). The distances of each activity vary according to the challenge entered.

Event Format : 5.5 km of run, 30 km bike ride, 3 km run. The clock doesn’t stop till you finish your last run. This is a race and ranking would be published after the event is over.

Venue : Gachibowli stadium, 5.30 am this Sunday(28th April 2013)

Registration fee : Rs 200/rider. Can be submitted at TBA,Kondaour before 27th April 2013 or at the venue at  28April, 5 am.

Things to Get Along :

1. Bicycle in Good working condition.
2. Running/cycling shoes.
3. Water Bottle
4. Energy drink and energy bars for you during the event

1. Mass start - everyone starts together.
2.Timing : The clock stops only when you finish your second run. Your time is going to be the full time from the start to the moment you finish the race.  So ,  transition time between running and cycling and then from cycling to running is going to be a key part of our timing.
3. Categories - only 2 , men and women.
4. Drafting is not allowed during cycling - you are not allowed to ride closer than 5. Meters to the rider in front of you. When you want to overtake, be in a different lane.
5. Follow the rules of the road - the roads are not blocked and there is traffic. Ride carefully, keep to the left of the road at all times.
6. Helmet is a must! rider without a helmet is not allowed to participate.
7. Water - Bottles drinking water would be provided at the start point of both the runs as well as the ride. You are advised to carry your own bottles during the ride.