Archive for December 17th, 2010

BSA-TFN 2010: Day 1 – A Cracker of a Start

December 17, 2010

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After 19,000 km’s cumulative riding in some 8 frenetic hours, the 100 lunatics of BSA-TFN 2010 have descended into this one horse town of Kollegal, Karnataka to draw the curtains on the eventful Day 1 of India’s most coveted biking event! What a day and what a result!

Today, at 6 am in Bangalore when the morning mist was still lifting and the metropolis was springing back to life after a dark winter night, the Koramangala Indoor Stadium National Games Village of Bangalore was awash with sleek bikes and folks wearing striking cycling gears with dream and determination in their eyes.  It was the start of BSA-TFN 2010!

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A stage was set up with the beautiful BSA-TFN 2010 poster as the backdrop just to let anyone crash-landing from outer space know- what this whole early morning thing was all about.

The support for the event was overwhelming. With riders from every part of the country and abroad and many biking enthusiasts and family members of the 100 lunatics (read participants), it was a great start of the event.

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A few encouraging words from the (our) sponsors- Mr. Vinod Menon (AGM – Performance Bikes at  TI Cycles), Dr. M A Balasunraminya (CEO SVYM)  and the philanthropic gesture of donating new cycles to  deserving kids, a quick dash of breakfast later, the Chief Guest Dr. H Sudarshan( Padmshree, Right to Livelihood Award Winner and the founder of VGKK) flagged off the 100 lunatics.

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The sky was overcast and it threatened to rain anytime but the 100 cyclists braved the winter chill and the crazy Bangalore traffic and descended into the serene Banerghatta National Park’s road. The road is well known for its many Elephant crossing paths and the riders formed clusters to ride together.

However, this was precisely here where the first mini-disaster of the day one occurred. On a long sweeping seductive downhill, Ram had a fall. The co-riders stopped and immediately called the ambulance. The ambulance came in double quick time and he was picked up.

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The same roads claimed Rohistah but he came up with a bloody forearm and bruised ego only. He got up, nonchalantly fixed his bike and sped off- so much for the injuries.

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After winding curves and tricky downhills , the platoon of brave bikers reached Harohalli and the super smooth NH (give the number of the NH) and what a relieved lot they were! This buoyed the spirits of the racer ilk like Roopak and  Paul and they went on a great pace line of 40 kmhr and broke away from the peloton.  The pace was relentless and in pace lines they sprinted at a power output of 600W! Sprint mode was on and many other riders just cut loose.

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Some more astute riders extended the legs of their mean machines and all the background turned blurred while they killed the distances with remarkable ease. Soon backgrounds blurred. Distances shrunk.

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Somewhere in all this madness the 1st Support Station came up at Sathanur, 85 km from the starting point. The riders rehydrated themselves and feasted on refreshments and nutritional supplements. It also was a time to exchange notes and general tips and tricks for the upcoming 100 km till the final pit stop for the day.

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After the 1st Support Station the riders had to choose between two options. One was a direct road to Kanakpura  or take a circuitous route through the picturesque Cauvery River loop to the same destination. As expected the majority of the riders chose the harder of the options and went for the Cauvery Loop which was some 40 km longer. Some did it for the kick of cycling and some crazy bunch decided to take a dip in Cauvery and made the most of the detour. “That was the whole idea for that loop” said Chidu and Ravi with big grins on their faces.

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The choice would also prove to be an excellently rewarding in term of scenic beauty. The road climbed beautifully through some lush green forests and descended to the magnificent Cauvery river valley. The beautiful green trees on the reddish colored soil with the black tarmac and blue sky painted an amazing colorful easel. The route had its share of excitement with a lot of monkeys and jungle fowls running on the road all the time. If that was not enough, the riders would occasionally get stuck behind the blockades of the bovine kind. And finally, the steep uphills and downhills had pretty much broken tarmac that tested the bikers’ concentration to the fullest.

Just out of the Cauvery Loop , the route was dotted with some awesome quaint villages. The highlights of the villages were the kids. The school kids would line up and cheer the riders at the top of their lungs and give them high fives as they raced by.

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However, amidst all this beauty and excitement, the support staff was kept busy by two more falls of Vinay Bhatia, the guy who came to TFN with an 8 month lay-off from biking and still completed the 185 km and of Supreet. However, both the riders had minor issues and they finished the day on their own and on their bike!

Meanwhile, just beyond  Kanakpura, the lunch stop was a welcome sight. The riders were greeted with Veg Biriyani and juices. The group delved on food as a pack of hungry wolves and everyone was at splits when the Raghavan, a rider from Bangalore, quipped “If my wife knew I had Veg Biriyani, I am done”. Amidst this laughter and light hearted banter arrived Boni Gopalan, a greatly respected rider from Pune.  People were shocked to see his bike missing the rear derailleur! Apparently a rogue motorbiker developed a liking for it and knocked it off. Boni, however, appeared unfazed and announced to a crowd with dropped jaws that he would do the 2000m Ooty climb in his broken bike which was now single speed!

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Post lunch, there were two distinct moods that set in. One the riders who had fallen back dreaded to be swept off the road by the sweeper vehicle. And the riders who were still going like diesel engines had broad smiles on their faces as the end was just 60 km away.

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Stay Away from the Sweeper Vehicle that picks you up from the road if you are slow and beyond a cut off time. Wonderfully depicted by out very own rider Malvika Jain!

One this last leg one more interesting thing to note was the crowd reactions. A cycle always evokes emotions and Neeta did a fabulous job of catching those amazing reactions to the fullest. Check out some of those great reactions caught by her. For all the days days’ exhaustive pictures, please visit her website and feast on the treat on BSA-TFN 2010‘s  day 1.

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Finally, the 185 km bike Day of BSA-TFN 2010 ended at Kollegal Yatri Niwas. The riders poured in victorious. What an achievement! See the day’s elevation profile as captured by our ace rider Roopak Suri.

Stats of Day1

Tomorrow another grueling day of biking awaits the 100 lunatics. A day when they are supposed to ride 170 km  to the foothills of Ooty with lots of climbing. What to expect? Expect more drama, more heroics, more amazing moments captured through Neeta’s lenses and my words. All I can say is a cracker of a day in the offing for tomorrow. Ready for it?

-Manasij Ganguli

manasij.ganguli@gmail.com

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