I’m not a sprinter. Gosh… I haven’t the faintest notion what on earth I am. I’m too fat to fly up hills, too slow in time trials, and by the time I’ve found the right gear for sprinting, my rivals are already waving like windmills from the podium. Boy, does it get frustrating at times! Well, I certainly am a sucker for punishment, because when I saw the notification about the BAR criterium on the 26th of June , the only thought that crossed my mind was,
“Why the hell not?”
An open category race- on a course with corners tight as a jar lid and headwinds that make you feel like you’re forcing your way through congealed silicone oil- against all the speed-fiends from the darkest depths of Bangalore, eager to dole out unlimited servings of pain… sure, why the hell not?
What had I gotten myself into?!!
My heart was bursting, my legs were screaming, my bike refused to respond to sprint efforts, I was on a constant and futile lookout for the draft… I was so out of my depth here!
“Why in the whole wide world did I give those wheels back??!”
Another corner, another speed bump, another surge like the Devil himself were after us, and I was spat out the back like a gob of chewing gum.
It was carnage. The field was being torn apart by the big guns up at the front. Another half lap, and the breakaway was clear.
“Dang! When would I have an engine like that?”
I began my examination of the debris.
Awesome! My race wasn’t over yet.
“My turn!”, I yelled at Mohan as we cornered into the windy downhill stretch. I had had to sit back for one full lap to recover from trying to chase the break on my own.
“Better start our team time trial now!”
The group gathered at the start point seemed to be growing larger with each lap. The break seemed perpetually to be one curve ahead. I kept slipping in and out of a daze, only dimly aware of my surroundings and the sizzle in my legs. It felt weird. Was I chasing? Or was I being chased? I stole a look at the clock on my Garmin. 38 minutes.
‘Just a little longer…”
“It’s over!”, Venky’s shout barely cut through the cobwebs in my head.
“Good one!”, Mohan said as we rolled to a halt and shook hands. Relief washed over me. We’d escaped being lapped.
This was the first criterium I have ever ridden, and it was certainly one for the memory banks! I need to develop a king-size engine to keep up with the big guns, but next time, whatever happens- I puke, I die, I fly off the road into a bush- I’m not riding amateur . “Elite rider” has a nice ring to it. Hmm…
I was a little incredulous when I received a few pats on the back and was told I had put out a good ride. Now that’s not something I get to hear often. 🙂
Oh, did I mention it was Mallick and Duggal’s last race in Bangalore for some time to come? The crit, and the yummy lunch at our favourite local bike shop afterwards was the best way we could have told them to get lost, I guess.
What a day!!
Here’s my ride data on Strava, and now that it’s out of my system, it’s time to go into blogging hibernation again. I got a bleddy PhD to finish!