TDC 3 07-08 NOV 15
While still relishing one amazing ride “Bliss in the Hills”, the keeda of The Deccan Cliffhanger (TDC) 3rd edition started troubling me. I knew that TDC 3 is one hell of a race, where in I have to give 100%, I was not very sure about my participation. But as the possibilities of buying a new bike were looking brighter, the desire to participate grew gradually. Then in the 3rd week of Oct, I gifted myself with a brand new BURASL Neilpryde bike and then in the 4 the week went ahead with registration and crew finalization.
Crew Hunt: Being in need of crew approached Nasik Cyclists group for support, was not lucky to find a prompt response, then went on with own JUGAAD. I sought help from my previous crew in Pune, but found that Arham is riding and the crew whom I had in my mind was crewing for him. That is a great news to know as far as Arham is racing, then sought help from him and he gave three contacts out of whom Dhruv was chosen. Niranjan was the other crew member from Pune whom I met him this year in Pune and found him to be capable of crewing. I was able to manage two of my buddies from my workplace and trained them on bike mechanics, navigation and nutrition.
Now I have a new bike, dedicated crew and a rider to perform. Came up with a strategy for the race, discussed with Dhruv many a times and also made an hourly nutrition plan, ordered “ON THE RUN” bars, even spoke to Mrs Shilpa. Level of preparedness was getting better as the race days were nearing. Bura SL was the primary bike and Giant TCR 3 the secondary bike.
Trained 600 km before the race on the new bike. I knew it’s a tough race for me and the level of preparation was not sufficient in all sphere was not sufficient especially training and nutrition. The whole race was discussed in totality on Whatsapp Group (Team Srini) as we as a team have never been able to meet in person. I shared all that was in my mind about the race. I firmly believed that support crew should be well educated and thereby well prepared for any eventuality
05 Nov 2015, Bikes and car were set for the race inspection. Dedicated crew with full Josh left to Pune via Mumbai. It took 5 hours to reach Deccan Gymkhana, Pune. Met Niranjan and Dhruv for the first time, also met Divya and Fred, Race Across America, Race director, kind of super excited. I discussed the strategies, the crew was assigned respective roles. We had an awesome dinner at Good luck hotel.
06 Nov 2015, Early morning shopping in a super market specifically for the race day and then reached Baner had chicken at venky’s store, reached Café nook, were done with the pre-race registration formalities in one go, race officials surprised looking at our participation, all credit to Sukhdev who had worked out our logistics so well in advance.
After a disturbed sleep the previous night, it was time to wake up by, 0245 hours then we all set up the car and ready to move by 0340 hours. Awesome energy all around at the start, amazing riders and the crew, lot of zeal and positivity.
The start was decent, but getting out of the suburbs was a challenge in itself, lost contact with crew early before the Katraj tunnel and was in need of water, Sumit was riding along and sensed the need and did offer a bottle of water, thanks a lot sumit, it was nice being there. Then I came to know that my crew had problems with the support car.
The next uphill was Khambatki was infested with heavy traffic managed to do so, completely separated from the crew till the toll booth and then another separation phase there and could meet them at Wani.
Pushed hard with Panchagani and Mahabaleswar climb with a decent descent except for one turn wherein I misjudged on curve completely and was head on with the Swift desire from the opposite direction, moved to the extreme right end of the road. At CP1 I was strong and fast with an overall standing at second, a few min behind the race leader.
Reaching Satara was a never ending affair, completely rolling after few min of descent from Medha ghat, was feeling a bit tired, this is the stage where I overhydrated with salts. Reached Satara decided to have a proper meal, sat down somewhere along the highway, could not eat the solid food, drank buttermilk did see a couple of riders passing by. After some stretching got back on the saddle, 40 min into the ride felt really nauseating and then multiple bouts of vomiting, stopped riding, while I am going through this agony witnessed another disaster, Officials car being hit by a state transport bus and could see the car fly past the road into the ditch, fortunately all safe. Amazing work done by Niranjan, my crew member, he rescued a couple of them. In the meantime Dhruv was pushing me to get on the bike and start riding. I started again but was not feeling nice, felt pukish all the time and did avoid any thing orally. In no time I was surpassed by many solo riders from behind. Finally after few minutes mind started to play games, DON’T RIDE , ABANDON, was the mind telling me , GET BACK HOME, ITS OK TO GO HOME NOT A BIG DEAL, these were resonating everywhere in my body, finally I yielded and stopped, told my crew that I am not going to ride and want to abandon the race, crew shell shocked.
Then was the most awesome role which the crew played, my crew did everything which a mom does to her baby, fed me, cleaned me changed my clothes gave a massage, put me to sleep. I am really not exaggerating, they said you just ride, we are with you.
It took me an hour to tell my monkey mind that I am riding, if not for myself for my crew. Back on the saddle, my crew made FRESH tomato juice, apple juice and orange juice, can you beat that? I don’t know how they managed to do so. My mind was playing tricks, there were many unwanted stops but I was battling my mind all times, stopped yielding to it. Reached Kolhapur at the 13 th Hour, was doing fairly well, pushed myself met Rahul another solo rider(RQ 008), felt nice riding with him and with his crew, so decided to stick around with them. What an amazing rider Rahul is and his crew. Rahul you are an awesome guy, rode so brilliantly within your limits and you made the race look like a bliss. I learnt a lot from you, THANK YOU
Reached kittur by 0200h, and was sleepy halfway to Belgaum was expecting two successive hills on way back to Belgaum but in fact there was one hill then could see mini vidhan soudha really excited.
Infinity studios, Firefox, Belgaum was the next CP. Oh what an amazing bunch of people at that place, so much love for the sport, you people actually made each one of us really special and boosted our morale to a great extent.
Then comes the mystique Chorla via Jamboli, it’s a hill where you actually don’t get the summit but you go round and round till you hit a downhill. My previous experience saved me, as I was expecting the same, finally finished the downhill. At the base, one final advice to my crew to be very vigilant with the navigation and told them the real fight begins now. My crew did their part well till last CP and then the GODS OF NAVIGATION had planned something different for the team. We lost our way and by the time we could take realize and take corrective actions, we lost an hour. Frustrated but controlled my emotions, had a complete faith in my crew and dealt it accordingly.
Pushed hard to be in the safe zone and finally we did it within 30 hours 35 min. My CREW more than satisfied with the efforts, felt relieved. I dedicate this ride to my CREW.
Oh not to forget, 08 Nov was my birthday, was racing on my birthday, what better can I ask from ZINDAGI
TO CONCLUDE, I LOVE THIS RACE AND THE PEOPLE ASSOCIATED WITH IT (RIDERS, CREW, OFFICIALS AND THE REST) YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION.
I AM VERY HAPPY ABOUT THE WAY THE SPORT IS GROWING
I FEEL BLESSEDTH AT THIS MOMENT
MY HEART FELT THANKS TO
1. Niranjan, Sukhdev, Dhana and special mention about Dhruv, what an amazing talent he is, he is a CHAMP and all thanks to Rupali
2. Mrs Niranjan
4. DIVYA TATE, SUPER WOMAN
5. NASHIK CYCLISTS
6. SUMIT PATIL
7. RAHUL AND HIS CREW
8. FRED BOETHLING
9. MY CAR
10. INFINITY STUDIOS
11. ARHAM, THANKS A LOT
12. TEAM CYMOUR
13. FINALLY, MICHAEL, I am inspired by you, you are my role model, you are special