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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

"Taste of 100"

When we all did Rode to Janapadloka and back, i felt i did not do justice to First timers in my blog post; writing about them and sharing their experiences. Here is the list of bikers who did their First 100 kms that day....Charu keharArchana s, Nithin shetty, Alok shrotri, Manu srinivas,Vijesh mohan, Nandan saha, ERaja Ma, Giridhar kamath, Vibha Ramakrishna, Aniruddh Iyengar, Gautam Ramini, Chandrashekhar Mudaliar, Sridhar Maddy, Abhijit Srikanth, Supreet Singh Dhanjal, Chitharanjan Rao, Prashant hiremath, Harshini Govindaraj, Rakesh Kodoth, Yashas, Aditya Rangaswamy, Venkataraghavan Srinivasan. (if you know anyone else also did their first 100 kms ride please do let me know, missing them is not intentional, list is too big....) When i approached each one of them below bikers responded with the write up sharing their experiences, it is as it is and in their own words.  I just loved reading each one of these personal experience, wish more bikers responded. If it motivates just one Sole out there the purpose of this blog post is served. Would like to read your comments and appreciate the time taken in advance. 

I am Nandan saha, I have been riding since October of 2013. Usually I ride for an hour or so most weekday mornings. I used to commute once a week (about 8km one way) but shifted closer to office last month and the distance has reduced to under 3km and prefer to walk or cycle most days while continuing to ride early mornings.

My first cycle was a Rockrider 5.1 which is bought at the end of 2011 and rode occasionally for few months before giving up for well over a year and half and restarting in last year. The bike was however a bit big for me and given its aggressive riding position, I found longer rides giving me back and wrist pain, so I bought a new Bergamont Helix 2.3 at the start of this year.The longest ride I had done prior to the 100km ride was about 40km. In Feb I had cycled totally about 300km and about 220km in March.
I had been thinking about doing a 100km ride but had no idea about how to go about doing so. So when I saw Anil's email to BBC I signed up right away.My thinking was that things would we easier with many people around, but I had no idea what was in store!I followed the posts on tips on the Facebook event page and carried Electral, and a couple of energy bars. Got an extra bottle cage fitted to carry more water.I tried to rope in a couple of my cycling buddies from work for company, but they decided to ditch citing the hot weather (something of wise choice, I must say in hindsight). However they were supportive and encouraged me to do this. Told some close friends who also felt I was a bit crazy but were supportive, none the less.

As the days counted down, a bit of apprehension and self doubt began to replace the unfettered enthusiasm. I was concerned about my back or my wrist or my butt not being able to handle the ride which I knew would mean spending 5 to 7 hours on the bike.
On the morning of the ride, got up, got ready, ate a few nuts and left home in Koramangala and headed out towards infantry road. I decided to go via MG road as I was familiar with that. I was a bit late and was concerned that the ride would start without me. As I came towards the MG road entrance of Cubbon Park, I noticed a group of cyclists headed the other way. I immediately got off, crossed the the rode and joined the pack. Asked one of the riders if it was the 100km ride and continued. Thus started the ride of my life, one that I almost missed :-)
I must say that the group I was with did set a fast pace and the kilometres rolled by really fast on the cyclocomp. After a while the group splintered into much smaller groups of 2 or 3 riders, and as we hit the highway the riders were quite scattered.  I rode side by side with some folks and managed some conversation. I was quite curious to see if people were first timers or not and usually broke the ice with that question. Most conversations were around how long someone's been biking and how much they ride usually and stuff. The conversations didn't last too long as it's hard to ride side by side for long due to riders' pace as well as traffic on the highway. Most of the ride was spent in the company of my thoughts, turning wheels, and spinning pedals. 

Riding on the highway didn't feel as dangerous as I may have expected. Most of the time, vehicles pass you with sufficient side way gap that you don't feel rattled, though there were a couple of instances when someone honked quite loudly and had to go off the road to make room, typically when the vehicle is overtaking from the left. I must say I didn't feel too unsafe on the highway during the whole ride and had a couple of close calls in the city on the way back with BMTC buses overtaking from the left and squeezing me on to the pavement.
Don't remember taking too many breaks on the way to Janapadaloka. Stopped for water mostly in about 30 - 40 minute intervals. Didn't feel much soreness or stiffness. Finished off one electoral sachet and one energy bar. Had some conversations while resting. I didn't stop too long anytime as I wasn't feeling tired. The rolling terrain was awesome with mostly down slopes which would come to bite on the return, but at that time I was happy glancing at the speed numbers on the cyclocomp and wind in my face. (Too bad, the helmet ate the wind in my hair :-p)

Just before reaching Janapadaloka felt a bit of soreness on the thigh just above the knee, but didn't really pay too much attention to it. figured a little breakfast break would fix it.
The sight at the breakfast venue was awesome. Outside of cycle day, I haven't seen so many cycles parked together and so may cyclists at one place. Spoke to some people while thulping breakfast and got some gyaan about riding on the highway, assurance that I'll make it back despite beginning to feel tired and the nasty weather and a great feeling of camaraderie amongst strangers.  Decided to head back pretty early with a group that was riding out. Figured it would take a while given that I'll need to take more breaks.  Soon I found myself towards the back of the pack and about 30 mins or so into the return journey a few of stopped. My legs were hurting a lot, especially my left thigh, just above the knee. That was the first time, I felt, I may have made a mistake embarking on this ride. I still had about 50km to do to get home! The only question on my mind at that time was "how am I going to get home?" Things seemed bleak.Started talking to the other folks who were taking a break and learnt that I wasn't the only one feeling aches and pains and having doubts. The way forward lay in taking it slow and resting adequately. Feeling a bit better after the break, we head out again.

It then becomes a loop of ride, rest, repeat. Find a shady place, cool off, drink water, find coconut water if possible, and look at the cyclocomp as it inches closer and closer to 100km.
As I reach the city, get hit by loads of traffic and going gets slow. Though I doubt I could've gone much faster given my physical condition, it felt good to blame the traffic for a lack of progress! Ran out of water and found a petrol bunk and bought some.  Once I reached MG road, I stopped and called some friends and replied to some messages. Finally felt that I would make it.

Got home around 3:00pm and just lay on the bed for 5 mins just thinking about what I had been upto since 5:30 that morning. I had pushed myself physically more than I've ever had. Spent more time on a cycle in a day than ever. Travelled more distance than ever on a single day on a cycle. Quite possible spoken to more strangers in a single day than I've ever done (I am a textbook introvert)!  The overwhelming feel though was a sense of relief to be indoors. A shower and a meal never felt better.I expected to be fast asleep after lunch, but couldn't sleep. Was just too excited.During the ride a lot of local people we met on the road, thought we were in a race and cheered us on. There was one person who rode up to me on a motorcycle and asked me if we were in a race. I said "No", he kept asking me the same question and could not believe that we were doing this "Simply".I've asked myself why I did it, and quite frankly I don't know still, all I know is that I want to do it again, go further, get better, live more.
Nandan saha extreme right, in the corner, could not find pic of him that clicked during this ride....!

My name is Aditya and I'm a cycling enthusiast. I was also a participant at the 100km ride to janapada loka. i can talk proudly today because i have successfully completed this ride. First of all talking about my cycling, i was extremely interested in this field,but due to my studies couldn't join rides like this mentioned above.But as soon as a completed my 10std studies i was free. Most people say dreams come true! Yes it does. my brother gifted me a Mountain bike and what else do you need for a person like me??
"Practice" that is what i did the next day after the exams were over. i went cycling all around bangalore exploring places with the help of few of my friends and relatives.

Then the day had come. I checked all the details about the ride with Anil Kadsur sir. I started early  and reached Kengeri from where i joined a few of my friends. While going the ride was smooth and plane.  After a while it started getting sunny. By that time i had reached Janapada loka. There meeting with other cyclists i discussed with them about the ride. Then we had a sumptous breakfast and i decided to leave early.  i started cycling fast and by one hour i had travelled 25km. By that time the sun was still rising but it was 35 degrees celsius. i was quite tired by that time. so i took a minute break and then started again i moved at a slow pace hence saving my energy. Then my body started cooling when i saw a stall for water and glucose. There i filled my bottle and then started fast and reached kengeri within no time. The ride was completed and we went back home.I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I would like to thank the masterminds behind this Event. I would also like to thank the BOTS team for helping us through the ride.

Aditya Rangaswamy - on the right with Yashas both of them did their First 100 kms

I am Archana, during my engineering days, while I used to travel from Bangalore to Mysore, almost every weekend, used to spot some cyclists and I would go "Whoa I wanna do that too!! " Never really thought that I would be able to realize that dream. I used my maroon ladybird, gift from dad when I was 13, for almost 9 years to commute to school, tuitions and sometimes to college, till I bought my Access125. It all began with the Bengaluru cycle day, October. Later, was interested to participate in the Vodafone Cycling Marathon, but wanted a geared cycle and guess what..I met Anil Kadsur, my inspiration to take up cycling as my passion. Rode his merida( first geared cycle that I rode) , he taught me all about geared bikes, how to use them, how to lock your bike n everything.

My first 100km( covered 125km) ride to janapadaloka and back was an amazing experience. The onward journey was very pleasant, speeding up during the downhills feeling the wind, experienced riders guiding you through and motivating when most needed ( Sohan Sintre). Lovely breakfast with new found friends( Aakash and Nithin) and a small Photoshoot before starting the return ride. The sun was up n shining bright. Just before starting , I was a little worried about the heat but I seriously did not feel it at all while riding back! Quite surprising that I realized this only once I reached home. Now this is called beating the heat. Tagged along with Pradeep Naidu, who taught me how to gain speed while riding downhill. Not only did I ride back with ease but chatted a lot, almost non stop, with fellow riders enroute. Drank some tender coconut water for hydration and when my water bottle was almost empty, spotted BOTS support station! Felt blessed. When I reached home, my mind was already thinking about doing a 200k, that was the prowess of this experience. Thanks to Anil for initiating this! Body needed some rest though. Overall this was a wonderful first experience, couldn't have got any better.
Archana S with Nitin shetty, Iqbal and Aakash

I am Prashant, I'm from Hubli. I started cycling when I was in 3rd standard:) It was fun getting a bicycle at such an early age when none of my friends had it.I actually started cycling to school when I was in 7th standard and continued to ride it passionately till my PUC-II. I went for a ride of 60kms with my college friends when I was doing my Engineering and thats it, never cycled after that:( But the hidden love for cycling came out last year and finally I took this Cannondale Trail 6 last December(inspired by a colleague).  After that I used to cycle to office once a week with a round trip of about 50kms(Vijayanagar to Electronic City).  Later I came across this Vodafone Cycling Marathon which I thought will not be possible for me to ride in 90 min (40 km ) - Passion ride. But I was overjoyed when I completed it in 66 min:)

And the grand finale and my first 100k(to Janapada Loka and back), which I came across when surfing the Bangalore Bikers sounded interesting and which was within my reach:)  You finally did what I was waiting for.. A fb event:) I was glad to enroll myself. Let me talk about the excitement I had the day before the day we went for this 100k, frankly speaking, I didn't sleep much because of the excitement.  I had prepared myself with the things I need. Woke up at 5am and started from my room in Vijayanagar at 6am and when I reached Nayandalli signal I saw few fellow riders and we waved at each other with a smile.

I wanted to reach Janapadaloka  as soon as possible so I started overtaking every fellow biker:) I finally managed to reach Janapadaloka at 8amthat morning and I was indeed very happy.  Enjoyed the buffet breakfast. Chatted with other riders and checking out the other cool bikes and all the accessories they had. Had super fun with the like minded people.  And it was now time to return back, the other half of the journey which was somewhat tiring due to sun. I was accompanied by a fellow rider who rode with me till Vijayanagar on our way back.  Took a few breaks to hydrate ourselves and finally reached home completely exhausted and with that sense of accomplishment.  All in all it was really a SUPER event and special thanks to you ANIL for organising it. Please organize more of such events so that it would be more fun:)  I'm aiming a 200 next time. Let's keep this ON. Nice meeting you sir.

Prashanth Hiremath at Janapadaloka

I am Chitharanjan, I started cycling in the month of September(2013) after I bought a MTB. My rides were limited to max 30-35 kms and it was only in the weekends. The max I had cycled was 37kms in the month of January(2014) with ICycle team.

The ride to Janapada Loka was fun, exhausting & surprising(as I had completed my 1st 100km ride!)I took up the ride because of the encouragement given by my brother Harishankar that I can do 100kms easily & it'll not be as tough as you think.  Yes, it was not that tough as i'd thought.  I started off from home that day by 6:15am & came back by 1:45pm.  It was nice to have people of all age group participating in the event.  Looking for another such kind of long ride, but never ever in the months of March, April, May & June, the sun is a killer in these months.

Chitharajan Rao....Photo credit: Icycle
This pic tells a lot about the kind of fun what we had.....i just love this!!!!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

"Things that Hurt Instruct....!!!!"

Ride statistics
Ride: To Janapadaloka and backDistance: A Century rideNo of Bikers: 141 bikers took partRoute: SH 17First timer 100 kms: 21+ bikersYoungest biker: 12 years (2 of them)Event page link here

After each ride I just look back at the ride and contemplate how did it go....what is the learning for the day? At this point of time I have two choices, either to blame the circumstances or to look at those things that I have control and try to work on. When I focus on what I can change, to that extent the ride becomes more meaningful. Looking for Gold, there is always something good in every single situation that one thinks that went wrong.

Bikers who completed 100 kms for the First time (at least 4 of them missing here)....Photo credit: Iqbal
When it comes to riding on Highway, I can blame at it as too much of traffic or look at the superb tarmac road and the speed what it gives me and the kick what I get when I look at kmph and improve my Personal Best. When I look at the heat either I can blame or learn how to hydrate myself and look at the bikers who ride in coastal belt and understand how much I am blessed because weather is that much better here. Recently in Chennai 13 guys finished Brevet 1,000 kms in under 75 hrs, how did they do, they did not had heat, humidity, what is the take home for me, last year when I was riding during brevet kgf 300, I suffered while riding Vaniambadi stretch. This Friday I took some time off from work, rode between 10 to 1.30 pm to get adjusted to the heat, by that I can enjoy the ride next day. Is not this saying is more apt here, "More you practice, less you bleed in the battle field". Also I can get up as early as possible and finish the ride before Sun becomes too hot. Summer is lot more better compared to winter and rainy season is not it? You do not feel like sleeping much you get a chance to ride more.

At the U turn point - Janapadaloka.....Photo credit: Iqbal

When I ride in a group I will come to know how pathetic I am as a rider, either I can beat myself or speak to the biker and find out 'how does he train' 'how often he rides' 'what else he does apart from cycling' 'does he do cross training' there is so much to learn and so much to improve, as I keep saying, "Fitness is not destination, it is a journey". If I am taking 7 hrs to reach home, where others are taking 3.5 hrs there is something I need to work seriously on my fitness. I need to understand where I am going wrong, it is so pathetic either I can quit biking or learn from Naveen John, Sohan Sintre or Vivek Radhakrishan. This city has countless role models in biking I need to keep my three letter word (Ego) aside that comes in the way of asking for help.
See of bicycles parked at Janapadaloka - what a seen it was! - Photo credit: Iqbal
There is this beautiful poem written by Da.Ra. Bendre, I have picked a line from the poem...."Sante yolgondu maneya madi shabdakke nachidodentayya" (you have built a house in the middle of a market, can you shy away for the noise.....)!? Today when you are riding anywhere on a bicycle you are surrounded by other motor vehicles and honking/sound and noise level is high, either you get used to it or what choice you have 'can keep getting irritated every now and then'?  "It is the container that holds the acid gets the maximum damage" decide what you want to be? Ride to Janapadaloka and back was one of the awesome experience where so many bikers riding on highway and spending time at break fast point, that attracted maximum attention of the other road users. There are lot of interesting stories to share about this ride, will keep it for some other day (when you go through this blog post, if you were part of the ride, please do share your stories, i would like to read about it.....).

Saw this too, there was so much space and comfort to rest too Promise and others having rest - Photo credit: Promise
Bikers just having great time eating yummy breakfast, it was so convenient to sit and spread out in that area....Photo credit: Promise 
We saw them too of course without bicycles....Photo credit: Promise
Support car for the ride - Naveen john, Sagar TU, Sooraj and Darshan  dwarakanath....Photo credit: Gautam Ramini
Two of my good friends, most approachable and humble bikers, impressed they coming for this ride and having good time with everyone - JP (an SR) and Sohan sintre (one the brevet 1,000 kms finisher) Photo credit: JP

Some of the "Who is Who" of Bangalore Biking, who took their time for a short ride (for them i even doubt it was a warm up ride.....) and spent lot of time with all of us. They lead from the front, spent hours with newbie's sharing their experiences and making all of us life richer we had one awesome time riding with them.Here is those bikers who made a huge difference to Saturday's ride and i say THANK YOU, "Each one ofYOU made a difference" Ali PoonawalaSohan Sintre Silvester Rajpaul Vivek Radhakrishnan Naveen John Namu Kini Jayaprakash Eranthakaje Ravindra Rao Vivek Kubaji Sanath Kumar S D Suman Paul Suraj L. N. Swamy Giridhar Kamath Harishankar ModurTvm Aditya Balu Balakrishna Yateesh Kumar Promise Gangani Pradeep Naidu Ashish Nabira Rajesh P Nayak Darshan Dwarkanath Michael Steiner Pavan Shetty and a special mention to Team BOTS for all the support.

Below is the posters that was created by Tvm Aditya and scripted by Naveen John some awesome work by team BOTS in compiling everything the newbie's wanted to know about the A, B, C D's of biking and what it takes to do their First 100 kms. Great job guys, i have put it as it is for the benefit of the reader, initially it was posted on event page.


6 TIPS ON BIKE SIZING so that your ride this Saturday is comfortable and injury-free!

1. SADDLE: Sit on the widest part of the saddle (close to the back) and NOT on the nose of the saddle, this way, your hips have a firm base of support to pedal efficiently

2. HIPS: Reach for your handlebars by bending at the hip and NOT by arching your back. Your lower back will thank you!

3. FEET: Pedal with the ball of your foot and NOT with the arch of your foot

4. FOOT ROTATION: Make sure your toes are pointing forward and NOT rotated excessively outward or inwards

5. SADDLE HEIGHT: Following the tips above, with your foot and pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke, you should have a slight bend in your knee, and NOT be completely locked out. Too high and you start rocking from side to side while pedaling. Too low and you start experiencing knee pain.

6. ELBOWS: Relax your upper body, let your legs do the work and do NOT lock out your elbows.


6 SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT TO WEAR so that you can knock out your first CENTURY more easily than Sachin Tendulkar!

1. HEADGEAR: Protect your head by wearing a HELMET; it saves lives! Get on your SUNGLASSES to keep the wind and road debris out of your eyes. If you're a heavy sweater, consider a BANDANA, to keep sweat out of your eyes.
2. GLOVES: It's turning out to be a warm Spring, so pick gloves with short-cut fingers and padding. You'll ride with better grip on your handlebars and bumpy roads won't be a bother.

3. CLOTHING DO's: Get a pair of CYCLING SHORTS with padding and a CYCLING JERSEY with pockets. Alternatively, go with a pair of synthetic tights underneath, paired with lightweight synthetic shorts, and a Tech T-shirt. Keep it simple and dress light!

4. CLOTHING DON'T'S: It's going to be a warm day, so AVOID track pants and wind breakers, because you're going to lock-in heat and sweat excessively. AVOID cotton shirts and shorts since they'll lock-in moisture, not allowing your body to cool-off!

5. FEET: Avoid cotton SOCKS and go synthetic here too. Your feet will stay drier and you'll avoid painful blisters! Wear your lightest pair of snug-fitting sports SHOES.

6. LOOSE ENDS: Grab a ZIP LOCK bag to put your ID, phone, keys, and some cash in. If you have a smartphone, use an activity tracking app like Strava Cycling or Endomondo Sports Tracker, so you can share your kick-ass achievement with friends later! 


The SECRET to finishing an endurance CENTURY is NUTRITION & HYDRATION and here are 6 guidelines to fueling your body's engine right through to your finish line!

1. NIGHT BEFORE: This is your last chance to top-up your body's energy reserves. LOAD-UP on carbohydrates and fluids and enjoy your dessert tonight! Suggestions: Rice, potatoes, cooked veggies, protein, and hydrate. AVOID oily/spicy foodand bank a good night's rest (7+ hrs)

2. MORNING OF: Eat a light breakfast, 1hr+ before the ride. Suggestions: Idli's, Uppittu, toast, cornflakes, oats, juice, coffee, are all good (but not all together!). Do NOT start the ride on an empty stomach!

3. EAT: Eating CONSISTENTLY is essential to finishing. Take in 200-300 Calories/hr in mainly carbohydrates. As a rule of thumb, that's a fistful size portion of food. Suggestions: Energy bars, Chicki (peanut candy), dried fruit and nuts (in a zip lock bag), peanut butter-jam sandwiches are magic! 

4. DRINK: Drinking CONSISTENTLY is also essential to finishing. Take in 600 ml - 1 liter/hr of water. This is especially important since it's going to be warm outside.

5. ELECTROLYTES: Muscle CRAMPS are associated with dehydration, electrolyte deficit and muscle fatigue. It is essential that you replace electrolytes lost through sweat. Suggestions: Bananas, Electral and Enerzal work well.

6. MID-RIDE MEAL: This is a great chance to reboot your energy systems. Take this opportunity to HYDRATE! Take in a liter of water while you wait for your food. Eat carbs, fruit, coffee (for a caffeine boost), and something sweet isn't going to hurt. AVOID spicy/oily food. Do NOT eat too much, as this will draw blood flow to your gut and away from your legs. Do NOT stop for too long.


10 TIPS on GROUP RIDING ETIQUETTE on your first group CENTURY ride. Make sure you check out the BONUS TIP at the end!

1. RIDE IN A GROUP: Find a bunch of folks who share the same GOAL (fun-seekers, speed demons, finishers, foodies, etc) and ride together to take advantage of the DRAFT (since you spent ~30% less energy sitting behind another rider). 

2. RIDE WITHIN YOURSELF: If you feel a group'sPACE doesn't match your ability, drop back to a slower group, or convince the group to slow down for you (and that is a test of true friendship, right there!). This point is key to FINISHING your first 100k!

3. HEADS-UP: Look up the road, NOT at your front wheel. If you're behind a rider, look at their hips (since that's where a lot of bike control comes from) to predict their next move . Also, look past the rider in front of you to preempt their next move. Similarly, if you're behind a motor vehicle, do NOT look at its tail lights to predict what it's going to do next, instead look past the vehicle, to preempt it's next move!

4. EARS OPEN: AVOID riding with ear buds on since you won't be able to hear passing cyclists/ vehicles. If you must, put only your left ear bud in and ride on the left of the road.

5. VERBAL COMMUNICATION: When riding in a group, for the benefit of riders behind you, CALL OUT things like potholes ("hole!"), debris, motor vehicles parked on the side of the road/approaching in the wrong direction 

("car up!"), or other situations requiring attention ("up!").

6. NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION: When riding in a group, for the benefit of riders behind you, POINT OUT things like potholes, debris, motor vehicles parked on the side of the road/approaching in the wrong direction.
7. MAKE YOUR PRESENCE KNOWN: Let the rider in front of you know that you are passing him/her by saying: "on you right/ on your left". If you are being passed, do NOT change your riding line abruptly like a BMTC bus!
8. HOLD YOUR LINE: If you find horns blaring at you, the ideal way to react is to be predictable, hold your riding line, acknowledge the vehicle trying to pass by WAVING them past when it's safe for YOU. This will illicit a 
positive response 99% of the time!
9. MAINTAIN ORDER: When we're out there riding, we're representatives of the whole community of cyclists. NEVER let a group get more than 2 wide and when it calls for, stay single file. AVOID forming amorphous blobs (of cyclists on the road). The more unpredictable a groups behavior is, the more unsafe it is for everyone. Do NOT use your cellphone while riding! 
10. SHARE GYAN: If you're a more experienced rider, share your knowledge with riders who are tackling this distance for the first time, or maybe doing something incorrectly (ex: too low a cadence?, incorrect saddle height?, not drinking enough!, helmet on wrong!?, etc). Genuine advice from the right place will not go unappreciated!

Read this blog post written by another biker (venkataraghavan srinivasan) who took part in this ride, to get a different perspective of the ride.