Friday, December 16, 2011

BSA - Tour of Nilgiris 2011: Day 1

L to R : Maj. Gen. AK Pradhan, Rajesh Mani, Dr H Sudarshan, Sri Suresh Kumar, Rajesh Nair, Brig. SK Dutta

The Flagoff for the tour could not have been better. For once, the people on the dias justified their presence by their achievements. 

Deepak Majipatil, trustee RACF welcomed the riders, supporters and the distinguished guests on the dias. Rajesh Nair, co-founder of the Tour of Nilgiris was the first to address the cycling enthusiasts. He described how long a way the Tour of Nilgiris has come from its first edition in the winter of 2008. Now, the tour is bigger, better and tougher.

Minister for Urban development, Sri Suresh Kumar is not an every day politician. He is known for his Spartan upbringing and to continue it while he holds power. He finished is speech in just 2 minutes drawing attention to the need for a cycling culture and not any of Government's accomplishments. He recollected the his days of cycling - 36 years ago when the distance of Bangalore to Kanyakumari was done in 4 days - on a Hercules (fondly called by many as doodh-wala cycle). He apparently had bought it for Rs 200/- in an installment scheme.After getting off the stage, he spoke with some encouraging words to the youngest rider - Rishi Goyal. Later he inspected the Montra bikes and was pleasantly surprised how light it was.

Padmashri Dr H Sudarshan from Vivekananda Girijana Seva trust wished BSA-TFN well, stressed on how much important safety is for cyclists and motorists. He drew the ministers attention to non-implementing the helmet rules. RACF is associated with the trust since 3 years and honored to help. The trust is making a lot of progress in providing the tribal people an equal opportunity at success.

The Army was courteous to provide the flag-off venue continuing their tradition of supporting adventure. Major Genral AK Pradhan (Seva Mandal, GOC, Karnataka, Kerala and Goa.), was happy that such an event could be organized right here in Bangalore. He said that the army will continue to provide support and promote any event which celebrates the spirit of adventure in public. Also sharing the dias was Brigadier SK Dutta (Deputy GOC, K&K subarea).

BSA-Tour of Nilgiris 2011 got underway to the roaring cheers of "Bharath Mata ki Jai!!" by all the Army men assembled there to send us off. Thanks to the Army Pilot vehicles, the cyclists zipped through the streets of Bangalore before the traffic could get to them. Ashok Kheny (of NICE road fame) opened the road for BSA-TFN11 free of charge. Thank you. The guarantee of a well paved path picked speed even further and I had tough time catching up to the leaders even in the car.
Mark Anderson, Winner day 1
The 'Race' section of the day started soon after we got out of Kanakapura town. The first riders departed at around 10:30. But even before that, couple of riders had mechanical failures to make their day tougher. Akshat had flat @ 9:00 AM - fixed it himself and moved on as if nothing had ever happened.  Others were not fortunate to continue. Rakesh lost a pedal and has to wait till tomorrow for a replacement. He could not complete the 'race' section. Ergo, he is out of GC contention. Hence now a serious contender for all daily finishes. He promises to pick his days in the mountians and dish out pain to every one else. Good luck Rakesh. Manoj, perhaps had the most miseries - 5 punctures which lead to discarding 2 tubes. The man has the sense in him to smile through the evening without cribbing. Respect.

The race itself was fought very hard with riders riding their hearts out and giving it all. Although the Roadies posted the best times, the MTB/hybrid guys did not let the effort drop even a bit. Ultimately, victory went to the man who was cycling home. Now you know the secret of the 50 Kmph effort.

Vijay CP
Arvind Bhateja
Rajesh Nair

Here are the results of the first day's competitive section:
Mark Anderson - 33' 56"
Rajesh Nair - 35' 28"
Sumit Pal - 36'28"

Vicki - 38' 20"

Congratulations to the winners. Don’t get complacent, this will only inspire the close seconds.

There were quite a few sore muscles at the end of the day and Dhananjay was a busy man.

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