Sunday, June 9, 2013

Super Randonneur - 1500 kms of journey (Part 1)

With the Anchetty 200km Brevet last week end, I completed my super series for the first time and became Super Randonneur. 

For those who are new to the terms, 
A Super Randonneur title is given for those who complete 200, 300, 400 and 600 km brevets (super series) within one brevet calendar year of november to october and the rider can buy a medal for the completion. The title is valid for that one season. Newer to the terms brevet and randonneur also? Read the following pages.
2. Brevets and Medals (link copied from Gokul's blog)
3. Some more links (link copied from Gokul's blog)

People say, the hunger for an SR medal increases with completion of a 600km brevet (if done the series randomly). After 40 hours of nearly sleepless riding resulting in saddle soreness, burning eyes, tired legs, and state of mind (which gave up at times through ride), one never wants to leave the journey just by completing that particular 600km ride.

I did both of my series in a random pattern. In 2011 - 2012 season, a failure in 200 km forced me to start with 300 km completion. Next I dared to attempt 600 km in master brevet series. The surprised completion of 600 km in an MTB lit the fire and changed my mindset of just attempting, to complete super series.  I completed 200 km with 2 hours to spare. With one 400 km option available to attempt, I tried to close the series by riding it but failed to complete. So I carried forward my quest for SR to this season.

This season also, I missed out the Bangarpet 200km, the first brevet of the season as it fell on Diwali holidays and I had plans even before brevet calender was announced. So, started with a 300 km brevet, followed by 400 km and 600 km rides, and finally did a 200 km one.

Brevets, according to me, in addition to quenching my thirst for cycling, give me a chance to taste variety of food options (sometimes from different regions/states/culture in a same day). I like eating (more), so you will find in my ride experiences, I discuss about food also, may it be a small snack or heavy meals.

Following are experiences in first two of the rides which earned me the super randonneur title

Kolar Gold Fields 300 2012 - The usual starters

Having ridden the same route a season before and finished quite successfully as well to start my count of brevet kilometres, this attempt offered me no suspense, but a nice warmup for the upcoming higher distance variants and helped to open my account for this season. Rode with Kalpesh for the most part and finished 313 kms in 18 hrs 48 min. 

Notable aspects of this ride were, racing through mist in Old Madras Road, Chitranna and Idlies in Malur, Steep descents with an invisible and dangerous speed hump, icecreams at Pernambut, steady paced ride through greeny, tamarind trees covered, well paved Pernambut - Vaniyambadi section, messed up late lunch @ mufassas Vaniyambadi, steady pace till finish control with a dinner break at Kamat Shoolagiri.

This ride showed the signs of two problems I might face more in the future - pain in the muscles to the back of knee and feeling sleepy while riding. The first one I solved by stretching legs properly through the ride, and joined yoga and changed shoes later. The second one, I was feeling uncontrollably sleepy after Hosur. I even was about to fall once, which I managed somehow. Well, the problem showed its effect in 600 brevet.

Grand Southern Trunk 400 - A time trial through the heat

As I had to skip Bangalore - Chitradurga - Bangalore 400 due to personal reasons and as I didn't want to drag till the last available option, I decided to give a shot at Chennai. I registered and luckily got to stay and rest at my dad's friend's place which is very near to start / end control. Reached the start by 0420 hrs on the d - day, met three other riders from Bangalore - Ashok, Manjula and Ravindra. When I was about to ask for the cue sheet, Ashokji said, "it is just 4 turns and a U turn over 400 kms, so why need one?". 

We started exactly on time. I rode with Ashokji for most part. I knew the route and its elevation profile, so I wanted to have my personal best speed. I completed first 100 kms in 3 hrs 42 minutes. Hot sun taxed me afterwards till the U turn point which I reached in 8 hrs 5 mins from the start. In between, there was a secret control 22 kms before U turn point, for once it created a sudden joy that it was the U turn point and I need not go further in the heat. After U turn, head winds, though slowed us down, helped to cool down from the noon heat. My speed reduced much till 275th km after which it reached back 25+ kmph average. Ashokji and I finished 400 kms in a thumping 19 hrs 40 mins time. 

I cared least about food. I had only one stop for a tender coconut before 100th km. After sumptuous breakfast of idli, vada, puri and coffee at 100th km, I stopped for banana and kammankoozh around 150th km with Ashokji. A biscuit break at 190th km, made me reach u turn point where I had nice lemon soda (thanks to Sundar sir) and some bananas. In return, after a grapes/orange break at 220th km,  Ashokji and I stopped at 250th and 300th km for icecream/biscuit. Then at CCD vandalur at 360th km, we had burgers, puffs and cold coffee. No proper lunch or dinner.

One irritating thing did happen in this ride. Ashokji and I were riding together, around 270+ km mark, two drunk idiots in a motorcycle, came towards us, and started asking about our bikes. Till then it was ok, but one of them started blabbering and asked us to sell our bikes to them right there and tried to threaten, drove near to our bikes, etc., Though we were angry, we didn't react much and they left after some 3 kms. We are also normal people like them. We just were looking different because of cycling gears, which comfort us while riding. We are not disturbing anyone on the road, then why the heck they do these idiotic things?

Having completed 2 easy brevets,  I expected next two to offer me some challenge to close the series. And my expectations were rightly justified. The experiences in them in next post, as I don't want to bore with all the experiences in a single stretch.

Super Randonneur - 1500 kms of journey (Part 2) - The Fall Stories - here


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