Ending the year on a high can be so good for your state of mind. 16000 km YTD isn’t too bad.
After my LEL ride, my health took a bit of a beating and I wasn’t too sure of making any big riding plans. But the weather in India turns good starting November and I knew it would be a waste not to maximise it. So when my friend Lokesh mentioned riding a 1000 km Audax in Bangalore. This would be my biggest ride since August and though I wasn’t sure if I was really fit enough, yet I didn’t think twice and managed to bully Lokesh into riding it with me.
For me the main challenge and also the attraction was the infamous Karnataka elevations – 8000 m+ of elevation gain. A 1000 km in the Delhi region will at best fetch you an elevation gain of 1000m. It was time to again test my limits. What I didn’t know then was how stretched these limits can actually be.
Along with the crazy elevations, what has made this my toughest ride of the year was the massively strong headwinds (I promise they were an average of 50kmph at least) and the terrible burning day time heat. I mean how hot do you expect 35degrees to be? Furnace in hell if you ask me. Add to all this a really bad track of about 100 kms on day 2 and you have a totally stressed out rider riding against time.
Lokesh and I planned and planned and put it all down in our memory. Lokesh of course also put it down on paper just to give it that final seal of commitment. It is a different matter that post day 1, we were constantly recalculating and by end of day 2, we stopped even that. we just rode on and on.
Ambitious, ideal – say whatever. But this is what we were sticking too. No discussions to the contrary or alternative suggestions on our Kittur Whatsapp forum could change our game plan.
There was only ONE plan for this year, and that was to participate in the epic London-Edinburgh-London (LEL) Audax UK event. And obviously, to participate meant finishing it. Well, that was the plan.
And yet that’s not how it worked out.
I’ve been wondering what my main ride report focus should be. I’ve been reading wonderful accounts of finishers and a few from non-finishers about their challenges so have decided mine will be about goof ups! Oops, but it seems that’s what my LEL was all about. I hope someone can benefit from them. I seriously hope I learn from these not-so-laudable parts.
Let me not assume everyone knows about LEL. LEL is a brevet format, 1433km, out and back ride starting from London going all the way to Edinburgh and returning to London.
116 hours (and 40 min) to go up and down this route. Seemed difficult but not impossible!
What do you do AFTER you’ve quit a much planned BRM? Well, if you are like me, you sulk for a few days and fill your heads with all sorts of negative thoughts till dear friends shout at you and ask you to snap out of it or else!…
My key learnings from this failed attempt;
- Know your strengths and just knowing it isn’t enough. Work with them.
- Heat, humidity and I can never be friends. I have a big intolerance for it (aided by my medication I admit). I should have had better sense than to take on this challenge
- I am fairly consistent staying on the saddle. And come what may, I tend to increase my saddle time and take very infrequent breaks. I broke this rule 50 kms into the ride. And it just got worse and worse. don’t stop, keep moving even if slowly.
- Going solo on a long BRM, not advisable in the least. No just for help due to a mechanical or an incident, but also to help strategise, help motivate. I missed my Delhi riding buddies a lot. I lost the plot a bit and didn’t rise up to find it back
- Take stock of your situation regularly. My coach (Deepak Raj) had told me this many times, his voice wasn’t ringing in my ears on this ride though.
Joined in for an almost impromptu plan to do a night ride to Panipat this weekend. There was a pretty big group (my club Spinlife) and the group excitement got me all charged up despite a tough 110 km ride in the morning. But well, I am supposed to be training for LEL, so I cannot complain can I?
One of the perks of cycling is to enjoy nature up close. And when you go out of the city, in fact when you make the effort of driving 8 hours to reach the pristine hills of the Himalayas, this is not just a perk, but the very reason.
Kumaon is one of the mountainous regions of Uttarakhand (the other being Gharwhal), in Northern India. From Kumaon, we can see the Himalayan range pretty close. People travel a fair distance for this.