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: