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 :

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