A thousand deaths

I am a simple man. I see a good road bike, I drool. So when I saw the notification about the BAR 20 km Individual Time Trial (No team support, no protection from the wind, it’s only you against the clock.) on the Manchanabele Machas facebook page (out of the friggin’ blue, as usual.), there was no dilly-dallying the decision. Even the elevation profile of the course was not going to keep me away from the race.

March 13, 7:10 a.m. Distance: 0 km, Average speed: 0 kmph

 I took my position behind Demon Duggal, fighting a nervous breakdown at the sight of the veins bulging out of his ginormous calves, and consoling myself that at least I didn’t have a pink ball with a smiley face dangling from my saddle. He said something about it being a lucky charm from someone (Presumably his girlfriend. I’m the only loser around here, apparently.), or something to that effect. My apologies to the dude, but it looked seriously funny.

7:12 a.m. Distance: 0.5 km, Average speed: 40 kmph

I pushed off into the block headwind rolling over the grey expanse of the road, still chuckling at the memory of Duggal’s lucky charm and at Akshat’s plan to pace himself using me as a reference.

“Bad choice, mate!”

I had the most elementary of plans- get on the bike, watch the distance and hammer till I puke. Shrewd pacing strategies are simply a waste on someone with my weekly training volume.

7:20 a.m. Distance: 6.2 km, Average speed: 36.5 kmph

“What the…!!”

I watched with desperation bordering on panic as Ronny slowly went past, apparently without breaking a sweat. I bit down on my tongue (hard!) and started clawing my way back to him, but my heart rate was telling me I could not sustain this power for more than five more minutes. That left me with two choices- maintain a constant gap with Ronny without drafting him (I was not going to cheat!) and blow up within the next ten minutes, or slither back down to my threshold power level and finish the race. It stank. All of it.

“MAN I got to get stronger!” (But there’s no time to train! *sighs*)

Only consolation (read excuse): the guy’s Belgian!

                                                       Meme credit: Manchanabele Machas

7:27 a.m. Distance: 9.1 km, Average speed: 33.4 kmph

“AHMAHGAWD-where-the-heck-is-that-bleddy-service-road-grrrrrr-I-hate-you-lactic-acid!!”

7:28 a.m. Distance: 10 km, Average speed: 33.2 kmph

“Oiii speed up speed up!” I heard, or rather I thought I heard Akshat yell as he crossed me at the U-turn. It was time.

“God Mode: Engage!”

(My personal God Mode does not give me super-strength, but brings my situational awareness down to only the bare minimum required not to smash into anything or fly off the road. The results are a blank mind and almost zero pain. It usually requires a reference point to focus on to, and lasts for about an hour in a TT effort. There are other names for it like digging deep and HTFU, but I think God Mode sounds a lot cooler.)

The return leg was a blur, thanks to God Mode. I vaguely remember zipping past some other racers; drawing level with a mini-truck and leaving it behind, sprinting whenever my God Mode nexus (Akshat’s back) threatened to build up a gap greater than a hundred meters, and WHOA! I was at the finish line!

“What? Already?”

I got the shock of my life while comparing Ronny’s ride data with my own. The bugger clocked an average speed of 39.7 kmph at an average heart rate of 150 bpm; while I died a thousand deaths, heart rate hovering around 177 bpm, to crawl through the 20 km course at 35.3 kmph. Heck, where do I stand in terms of fitness?

Nevertheless, my last season of racing in Bangalore has been a lot of fun so far, and here’s a picture of me in God Mode at the finish line. Heh! Uncool as always. This is starting to get tragic.

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