The Category 1 Podium at the Criterum. Photo credit – Mayank Rungta
The morning fog arrived at Manyata Tech Park along with a hoard of people on bikes. Perhaps no Sunday at this home of tech geeks would have been as busy as this one, as it hosted the last race of 2012 BBCh season.
|The Cat 2 start line..|
Round and Round You Go..
The rules for the criterium race are simple. There is a small circuit or loop which forms the race course. You will have to go round and round on that course for a set time period. If you cross the line first at the end of that time period, which in our case was 45 mins, you win the race. Since it could get dull with everyone playing safe till the final minutes of the race, the crits also have something like intermediate sprints called primes. A loop randomly signaled by a siren/bell, will form a race with in the race with the first one crossing the line for that loop becoming the winner of that prime. There were two primes in our race.
Another important rule of the crit is that the rider who gets lapped by the leaders need to drop out of the race immediately. The side effect of the rule is, not many people would get to complete the race if there is a huge difference in capability levels. But this helps in avoiding the confusion that could be caused by the position of a rider in the race among other things. The results confusion in Cat2 we had in this race was a perfect example of the sort confusion that can be caused when the lapped riders don’t stop and get off the track immediately.
The circuit was around a nice square block where you have to overshoot one corner of the square and need to take a U-turn to join back in the square. That makes it a P shaped loop of sorts with a roundabout in one corner of it and a U-turn at another. So, the circuit had almost all kinds of turns to test one’s cornering technique.
The Cat2 race:
The cat2 guys and women started the proceedings for the day once the registration and bib collection was over. They had a big audience peppered throughout the course in the waiting Cat1 riders, children who came for the kids race, their parents and huge number of Manyata security guards manning the route helping the BBCh volunteers.
Within a lap or two a lead peleton formed comprising of Rajanikanth Puttabuddi, Durgesh Ranadive of Veloscope racing, Santhosh Ahuja from Chennai, Shankar Jayaraman of Spectrum racing, Dev Veera, the cleated warrior clan of Nalla Konar, Mahito Isejima, Mitsunaga Nishita, Mohammed Rafi and a bunch of young lads from C-University team including their skipper Pradeep. The peleton more or less remained the same for the intial part of the race. Having mistaken the prime rules the eager young lads from C-Univ team were sprinting to the line at the end of every lap and ended up wasting a lot of energy in the process. One by one they began to fall back as the lap count increased.
Rajani was looking strong decided to pull the peleton for 3-4 laps continuously before settling back into the bunch. When the siren for prime laps was blown one of the laps were taken by Dev and the other was taken by the young lad Somaskanda of BOTS racing.
|The move that won the race.. Durgesh’s solo break..|
The Brilliant Solo Break..
Right after the second prime, around 25mins into the 45min race, Durgesh broke away from the peleton in a daring move. Having sat in the group through the prime laps, he apparently observed that the group was slowing down having tired itself during the prime laps. When he jumped, the tired legs that sprinted to the line for the prime lap didn’t respond and probably thought that he can be easily brought back with nearly half of the racing still to go.
Most of the spectators thought that the daring move by the Veloscope rider is not going to stick and was foolhardy at best. But what did we know! The guy just dig in deep and kept building the gap from the peleton with every passing lap. The yellow jersey he was racing in appeared to be befitting to the effort in making what turned out to be a brilliant and daring move work. Well played, Durgesh! Great way to finish the season. Bring it on for the big boys in 2013.
The Cat2 Results Confusion..
Dev Veera crossed the line in 2nd and Petrus looked like he crossed the line 3rd. Shankar Jayaraman finished 4th. They were awarded podium positions as such. But Mahito Isejima, who crossed the line before Shankar, was taken to be not on the podium thinking that he was lapped. So apart from the first and second places on the Cat2, the rest of the podium positions have become suspect.
Appears to be an uncharacteristic slip-up by an otherwise a quite efficient BBCh race timing team. Not just for the technically challenged riders like me, it seemed crits can be tough for the organizers too- especially when the riders forget to follow rules. May be we needed more eyes following the lead bunch closely. The timing team is going to review the results and come up with corrections where needed which might take a couple of days. I will update this post with updated results once they are out.
Cat 1 : The Championship Fight:
Siddarth Kansal of Veloscope racing was leading the BBCh-2012 championship points with a consistent performance through out the year. Naveen Raj ofSpecialized Kynkyny Cycling Team(SKCT), has been BBCh points champion for the last two years and needs 5 points more than Siddarth to make it three years in a row. That was the big race-with-in-the-race that everyone was eagerly watching. Can Sid hang on to the lead by finishing close to Naveen? If he can, it would be nothing short of a fairytale finish to this 21 year old’s racing season which is also his first season of cycling. But results of cycling races tend be leaning more towards the strategic and powerful team dynamics and less towards the fairytale endings that we love so much. Still I was one of those who was rooting for the David of this story and wanted to be in the lead bunch to watch the fight unfold.
The lead peleton consisted of the Specialized KYNKYNY’s Naveen Raj, Lokesh Narasimhachar(Loki), Naveen John(NJ), Laxman Kulakarni, Ambi, Dipankar Saikia, Vivek Radhakrishnan along with KYNKYNY Wheelsports riders Kiran Kumar Raju, George L and Matt Barret. Then there were Siddarth and Mark Anderson of Veloscope racing. Sarvesh Sangarya was right in the group as was Mohan Kumar, aka The Demon, of Spectrum Racing.
Although I wanted to stay with the peleton to watch the fight unfold, I soon found myself slipping out the back of the group right in the first lap having botched a couple of corners and failing to bridging up to the group immediately. With every subsequent loop that followed the gap just ballooned until I was riding with Craig about a couple of hundred meters behind the peleton.
For a few laps the peleton stayed close and things looked to serene enough. Then out of nowhere a break was made with Naveen John riding away from the peleton with Loki and Naveen Raj in tow. Apparently Mark Anderson who was looking to help his teammate and ward, Siddarth stay close to Naveen Raj, somehow missed the attack. With all those red and white kits he must have failed to notice three less kits until it occurred to him that all the bikes around him were white and the black Specialized bike of Naveen Raj is conspicuously missing. By then it was too late and it wouldn’t make sense for him to try and bridge alone with Siddarth at the back of the group.
The way the break was powered by Naveen John, was unbelievable. He just drilled it with a massive time trial effort with Loki and Naveen Raj on his wheel in the process wreaking havoc on the field. It was massacre mowing down and lapping and eliminating riders a dozen a minute in the process. Having hung on and worked with Craig(mostly hang on to his wheels, in reality) for a few laps, I was not surprised when the juggernaut caught up with me and lapped me just 20 mins into the race. I quickly stopped and began to resume watching the race from the sidelines.
In the meantime, I saw Mohan and Vivek slowly losing the peleton. A few laps of cornering troubles later Siddarth ended up with Vivek along with Matt and George while Mohan dropped back further and eventually got lapped by NJ’s juggernaut. The peleton now consited of Dipankar, Laxman, Ambi, Mark Anderson, Kiran and Sarvesh while Vivek, Matt, George and Sid formed a third group.
The way NJ’s juggernaut was going the peleton was also in a real danger of getting lapped. That would mean that only the three break away guys will finish the race officially. Mercifully though, they seemed to have slowed down a little, may be on purpose, and ended the massecre with lapping the third group that had Siddarth and their own skipper Vivek in it. But they missed lapping the main peleton only less than a hundred meters. Would have been sweet revenge to see that happen to all of us who got lapped earlier.
Team Sport After All..
With 2-3 laps to go, Naveen Raj got in front and rode ahead to cross the finish line to win the race and in the process winning the BBCh points championship for the 3rd time in a row. The main peleton escaped being lapped and Laxman who broke away from the peleton a few laps before took the forth place.
Siddarth was visibly disappointed that he could not stay with the Naveens and lost the race and the BBCh championship lead. But the youngster is smart enough to concede that it is a team sport after all and the guy with a far better team to support him has won the day and the season. It is time that our other teams work towards having at least 6-8 strong guys to work as a team towards a common goal. That is the direction our cycling teams have to take in the seasons to come. Otherwise, it is as hopeless as playing soccer or cricket with a full team on one side and a guy or two on the other, when they come up with coordinated teams efforts like that of SKCT.
After the heavy artillery action of Cat2 and Cat1 races, the kids who were till then watching the races and cheering on took the center stage. It was fabulous fun watching the future generation showing the elders how it is done. Toddlers with training wheels to ten year olds all participated with great spirit and fun.
|The Kid’s race start line.. Specialized Pinkyny star with 123 bib.. :)|
It was an excellent race and a fitting end to a terrific season. Looking forward to an even greater season at BBCh-2013.
Thanks from BBCh:
Thanks to all our friends who drove all the way from Chennapatna, Chennai and Mysore for this race.
Thanks to Manyata Embassy Tech Park for letting BBCh use their venue for the race.
Thanks to FRIO – Indulge . Taste Buds (Cafe/Restaurant) who have been supporting us with Rider Nutrition at all our races.
And finally thanks to all the volunteers and marshals who did a great job as always. Thanks guys.
- Original race report on Venky’s blog (he has quite a bit of cycling in Bangalore on his awesome blog)
- Fantastic pictures by Mayank Rungta and Venky