My first sportive: The Delhi One Day Classic
Endurance cycling is something that amused me right from the very first time I learnt about it. Having done a couple of endurance rides on my own, I wanted to participate in an official sportive and see how I fared under pressure. I registered with the Audax Club Parisien, a cycling club in France under which Indian sportives are registered.
The event I signed up for was a 200km night brevet, with the route being Green Park-Greater Noida-Green Park-Gurgaon-Faridabad-Gurgaon-Green Park. It was scheduled to start at 10pm, so I landed up at The Bike Shop in Green Park at 9pm.
There were about 40 other cyclists, all older than me. I got my bike check done and moved around to check out other peoples bikes. There was some really beautiful bikes lined up next to mine. Traffic was stopped and, a few pictures taken and we were off. I found myself at the same pace with two guys on a hybrid as well. Sanjeev, an Air Force dermatologist and Abhimanyu, a corporate here to work on his duathlon. He was only riding a 100km. We chatted at length and I learnt all about dermatology and running marathons in Egypt.
I had my first scare of riding at night on the way back from Noida, when i saw two drunks throwing punches at each other while their friends stopped them. It got worse when just as I crossed them I saw stick his fingers into the other’s eyes. Damn, that was weird.
We were greeted with a thousand mosquitoes at the checkpost at Akshardham; I really wanted to relax and sit but was forced to keep moving thanks to the mozzies. At the 100 km mark at the bike shop, we split ways with Abhimanyu. Some guys decided to take a nap inside and were sprawled across the floor. Sanjeev was sitting outside, and i knew he didnt want to break for too long.
330 am. Having finished the first half under 5 hours, I knew the second would take longer. I feared I would start feeling sleepy soon enough, and the size of yawns kept increasing as i inched closer to the climbs of Faridabad. I had left Sanjeev behind and wanted to complete this stretch as quick as i could to beat the traffic in the morning. I was really struggling to keep my eyes open after a point of time and stopped a couple of times to give myself a roadside shower.
6:10am. The sun was rising as I left the pahaadi road and made my way back to Delhi.The sleep problem had been solved with constant munching on dates and bottle showers. I made my way back from Dhaula Kuan and ended my ride at 820 am.
I slipped my brevet card under the shop shutter and parked off my bike at a friends’ house nearby. This has surely been a great experience, and an opening to the challenges that lie ahead.
Total distance : 220 km
Map: Strava Upload