Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Tour de Peninsula - My first bike race

Ok now that I am into biking this blog will have some bike stuff as well. Hopefully swimming events will not be too far away either...:)

It was an exhillirating moment, racing downhil after sawyer camp, riding along with Vivek, with the slight drizzle on our face and breezing through the wind...

It all started with the bike buying spree and a few rides with Chethan and a few more with Vivek and Chakri. Saw the TDP posters in Sawyer Camp and well it sure seemed fun to ride.

Vivek, Chakri and me decided to ride a few sections of the trail on tuesday (considering we did not have tracks) and carpooled to Belmont. The prize of course was food at Veena's. :)
We rode along the canada road and back. It was a nice ride and we were cold and hungry very soon. :)

I was hooked on after the ride and signed up for the TDP. The day before the race was hectic, as we had run 16 miles in the sweltering heat in Oracle trail. Anyways Rajesh, G3, CK, Veena and Geeta decided to come and cheer us and well now there is no backing out.

My biggest concern and cause of much amuse was the question as to what if u get tired after climbing half the hill. How do you start again in the middle of the hill? Coach Martina told me to keep the bike perpendicular to the hill and start off. Simple, just like if your skis come off in downhill skiing. :))

One other concern was those #$%* cleats. How do you remember to take em off in time? Well the answer is you just remember you are on cleats and even if you don't and must fall, fall graciously (like land on your butt..:)) and not scrape the skin of your knee. My poor knees have taken quite a toll, before I could perfect this.. Vivek kept pulling my leg during the ride that I should probably patent this idea..

The plan was to leave early and reach the Sequoia school by 7:30, so we pick our bibs and start at 8. Due to over eagerness, I ended up at G3's place at 6:30 and found ourselves searching for a starbucks early in the morning. Vivek and CK joined us there.

After wandering around Brewster, found parking at James Ave. Rode to the school and picked up our bibs. Guess I was a little tensed and Vivek was talking about going to the war and we need a proper send off with tilak, aarti and vijayi bahava send offs..

We were at the start of the line and the announcer was making fun of people with mountain bikes saying how fat and beautiful those tires looked. Soon we were at the head of the line and the race started with everyone click, click clicking into their pedals.

The first few miles we were conservative as the Ralston Ave Hill was looming soon. With children riding randomly and some other cyclists doing a steady pace, we managed to stay clear and keep pace. Ralston Ave was one tough hill. In my stupidity of trying to save the last gear for further uphill, my quads started to hurt and I decided I needed to do these 4 miles first and preserve the muscles for the rest of the tour. After that Ralston climb was peaceful and rode along quite well.

Atop Ralston (Mt. Neverest) was the first water stop. Had our fill and picked up a few energy bars. From here the fun started and it was all downhill. We were having fun, zipping through polyhemus and before we knew we were already at crystal springs road. Those downhils felt great but were soon over.. It was here that I was so reminded of "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander" and the bike race. What a movie and what a ride.

Further up crystal springs road was the beginning of the sawyer camp trail and also the 21 miler shortcut. There was no doubt at all as to which way we were gonna. Considering sawyer camp was one way and we knew the trail so well, we were zipping thru the turns and enjoying the scenary. We were on top of the mile 5 and stopped to soak in the surroundings and Vivek remarks "we did it so fast - darned runners". :) I think the ride through the Sawyer camp was the best part of the course... At the top they had opened up the north gate and the ride backwards was along skyline blvd. It was a lot more hilly than sawyer camp and it had started to drizzle. It was a lot of fun riding through the rain.
Missed Chakri big time!!!

Since sawyer camp was only open to the bikers, I kind of forgot that we need to share the road and was infact riding on the wrong side of the road. Suddenly I see two bikes floating in the air and some lights. That is when it hit me, that were rack mounted on top of a car and I am in the middle of the road doing 25 mph. Oops, time to steer back to the bike lane. In the ride down skyline, there was this group of about 15 people (cyclista), who were riding together and I could not help wondering that it would be great to come down the hills in a formation with all of us in a team jersey of our own group.

After skyline, we biked a little on 35 and soon saw the signs for canada road. Great, known territory (we had biked this part of the course before) and we set off. Canada road is simply awesome and once more we found ourselves owning the whole road. CK called Vivek when they reached the intersection of canada and edgewood dr. We had just missed them and by the time the second call came through, we were on the other side of the canada road. :( Edgewood was the last big hill climb before home but then it was just a piece of cake.

The race was very very well organized with tons of volunteers, bikers, very well stocked water stops and an awesome course... I owe it to Vivek from all the bike tips, getting me to sign up for the race and riding with me through out the 33 miles. A very big thank you to G3, CK, Rajesh, Veena and Geeta for showing up early sunday morning and cheering us...

Now the interesting part - after race parties..
Lunch - Thabla.
Chai and Bourbon Biscuits - Veena's.
Rava Idlis for dinner - Ck's.

What a way to spend the sunday. Life feels great!!!


Rajeev Char said...

Very cool report Mouli - I see many triathlons in your future :-)

Keep at it - biking only gets easier from here on.


Chandramouli said...

Thank you coach. :)