Hey, it was a hell of a race, for me it was 4 races in one race,
always in the survival mode right from the day i registered for the race till 19 th Aug 2018,
08 feb i moved to a new place of work, i was hoping that the new place would help me train and help me better myself, but that was not the case, pushed to humiliation by the new Unit, moved out of that place on 23 May 2018. Registered for the race when infinity bike seat helped me with 500 USD and when a local Running club "Runaholics" helped me with air tickets. I could also find support from Giant starkenn in the form of 2 bikes. I had to take a small crew from India who would sponsor their own air tickets, and hence compromised with my A1 crew who were not able to fund for their air tickets. From 24 May 2018, i moved to another unit which was 12 km from my place, i explained my situation to the new place, they heard me out but could not spare me for 1 hour in the morning which i had asked for, nevertheless i was not humiliated like my previous unit and self respect was never compromised. So trained with whatever time i got. My training was from 3 am to 7 30 am, as Pune traffic is sickening after 8 am. Would rush to Office and be at office by 9 am again on my bike. Some how i was surviving this schedule till 20 July 2018. 09 Jun 2018 I did an everest ride with 20 loops of Lavassa hill, but on 15 th loop had a fall on a downhill and badly injured my right Hip for which i had to be off the bike for another month. from 09 Jun to 10 July i was off the bike. I was just doing some core exercises and easy riding on my trainer at home. July was the monsoon season and that also affected my training. Some how my crew chief Sudhakar was working on the race strategy and was making things easier and helped me believe the race is doable. Fortunately i found 2 Austrians, Johann and Thomas as my crew members by then. Johann shared all information about the route and the race. He also did a route recee a month before the race. He Sudha and me did do regular crew meetings as to how to get this race done with a shoe string budget. we discussed all aspects of the race expenditure, race strategy and crew roles. 27 July i left for Austria with my 2 bikes. In the mean time, Ravi Ranjan from Austria had agreed to host me which was a big support and he and his family picked me up from the Airport and took the best care of me for 2 days. I decided to move to Sankt Georgen im Attergau, here i was helped by Simone Puchner from the City centre to find the cheapest accommodation for me at a farmhouse. It was a blessing, as i had the homely care given by the Seidl family right till then end. Austrians are the best people. Emotionally i got connected to the Seidl family. The reason i arrived 2 weeks early was to get familiarized with 500 km of race route, which with the help of Johann we could execute it very well on 30 and 31 july. I also happened to get in touch with Team Akkura who were racing as a two men team. On 05 Aug i went on a training ride with them to get familiar with the last 150 km of the race, unfortunately i crashed on a downhill and my bike frame broke into 2 pieces. I checked myself, i had blunt injury to my rib cage, right hand and right hmastring. I was relieved that i had not broken any bone at that moment, my clavicle was okay, my long bones were okay. But i was shattered to look at my broken bike. Team Akkura riders helped me reach back to farmhouse safely and also helped with a mobile phone. I got in touch with my crew in India told them about my crash and told them not to worry about me, i also told them to get my old bike from India. On 08 Aug afternoon, my crew chief Sudhakara Narsegowda landed in Austria and was with me by afternoon. My other crew was also arriving at the same time, but tragedy struck me when he landed and when he informed that the bike he was carrying from India was damaged and the frame is broken. I was again so upset with that news. Fortunately Sudha joined me in few hours. I and Sudha tried to talk to many people to rent or to borrow a bike but we had no joy, so we decided to go to the nearest bike shop. We found a 54 cm sized alloy bike, a size bigger though for 1400 euros. We had no option than just to go ahead. we sorted the bike issue that evening and we were then joined by 2 more crew members the next morning. There was another Indian Anushik who volunteeered to crew for us, he was studying in Austria. So we have 4 crew who were Indians and 2 Austrians, 2 bikes and one 9 seater van. We were all set for the race on 14 Aug 2018. I and sudha spoke to each other about the challenges that we have faced to reach the startline of the race and we need to just believe and accept whatever is thrown at us in the race.
14 Aug 2018, 0940 am the race started with rain for the first 30 min and then the weather cleared up and things were going according to the plan. The first 160 km was done at a good speed and also the next 140 km of uphill. We messed up a bit with navigation at some of the detours and lost some time. The first sleep break was taken after 600 km The first hard cut off was Halbenrain at 860 km, to be reached in 41 hours. The plan was to reach by 37 hours but i was slowing down quite a bit from 600 km onwards. It was seeming impossible to make it by 37 hours and we struggled quite a bit to reach in 40 hours 15 min. To complicate things i was feelng feversih and coughing out yellowish green sputum. I realized that it was viral pneumonia and stared on medications.That was the first glimpse of the race. We understood how tough the race is going to be and every cut off point is a race in itself. when we reached Halbenrain we felt as we finished a race and the next 4 to 5 hours we were in the relaxed mood, more of zombie riding but sooner or later the next cutoff point was at 72 hours and we had 30 hours to make it to Grossglockner, the highest point of the race. We had to ride through two big mountains to reach that point. A sleep break was planned from 09 pm to 10 pm. we had around 150 km more at 10 pm to reach grossglockner. I stayed focussed and reached Grossglockner with 20 min to spare for the cutoff, again very relieved. The same point we reiterated that the race is not easy and nothing is going to come easy. As i came down the mountain pass to the valley there was another episode of fever with chills and rigors, back on medicines and back on bike. The next cut of was at 100 hours Bludenz, with three big mountain to cross, not a easy task but we were just Hanging in there, racing from cut off to cut off. When we were crossing Kuthai there was a problem with the follow van, where the cluctch plate was getting burnt, the next big challenge to face. I was literally dragging and my crew were walking faster than me on the bike, was a real drag till we crossed Kuhtai. We took it easy on the follow van and tried to minimise the damage that has already occurred. We made it to Bludenz well within an hour. The next 500 km we were left with 30 hours, it might seem easy but thta was not the case, we had to cross three big mountains and we were hit with heavy rain at 105 th hour of the race. It troubled the whole crew and me for the next 6 hours, as we were slowing down quite a bit to change my clothes. I was telling myself and also the crew was telling me to just Hang in there till the end. After 6 hours the rain stopped and we were coursing to the last mountain and we were left with 150 km and 7 hours. Fortunately the weather was fine and we crossed the mountain by 3 pm and we were left with 140 km and 6 hours. We just stayed focused with the task and kept moving forward without bothering about that i was the last rider left on the race route. By 0730 we were greeted by race officials and the localites which boosted my morale and helped me forget all the pain and miseries. We made it in 5 days 10 hours 9 min. 130 hours. 2 hours to spare.
the nutrition really worked for me, as i took 300 kcal/hr and 750 ml of electrolytes, no GI disturbances. Sleep was shortened to 60 min with intermediate power naps. Got to really work on this aspect. Average speed is pretty average, got towork on my HIIT intervals, as i have noticed that i can survive longer on the bike but not faster. Neck muscles needs to be strengthened.
There is so much scope for me to improve. In terms of my training ..... the next races will depend on many factors but as of now analyse and relax a bit.......................