Been there done that: 250 Km Ultra Cycling race

Finally I know the answer. I can cycle for 250 Kms in less than 11 hours ( 13 hours with flat tyre).  And most importantly ANYONE can cycle for 250 kms. All it requires is a bit of foolishness and some good friends.

I can’t thank Amit Ojha and Shruti Saxena enough for pushing me to do this even if it required taking 3 working days off and driving all the way to Jodhpur. Another friend lend me his bike.  When you have friends like these- then your ass is going to be on fire and I mean literally here.

Desert 500

So how did it go.

For the first 40 kms or so all of us decided to follow what our coach Amit Ojha proposed- cycle at an average speed of 22-23 km and give everything after 150 km mark. I had all plans to follow that strategy but then two things made me change my mind.

Number 1: The race started at 10 so by all means we will be cycling in the dark after 6pm for a good 4-5 hours . Also the the first 45 kms of the road was really bad and this I would have encountered in the end also.  Both these things will slow you down. So I figured that if you have to give your best you have to give it now.

Number 2: I’m Hero.

So at 40km mark I took off and started cycling as fast as I can. I increased my speed to a point where I was doing 25 kms in 45 minutes or so. At every check point I would drink water, eat energy bar, have half a banana, eat two raam Daana laddo, stretch hands and back. All of this was taking about 10 minutes on an average and then I would ride and shoot again towards the next check point which was another 25km away. This kind of worked because in my mind I divided the whole race into 25 short spurts.

I did all of this till about 220 kms and that’s when I got a flat tyre and all my dreams went bust.

  • Learning 1: Its better to be carrying a tube, a pump and know how to fix the tyre if you are attempting cycling event like Desert 500.  People did stopped to help me out- they would have if I had the gear with me. But unfortunately I was too casual about it.
  • Learning 2: If you are on road bike ( I have a mountain bike so its a new breed for me) better be careful at potholes. I got a flat tyre because I was maniacally riding over pot holes in order to finish under 10 hours.

Finally I did got my friends to come over ( who else) and give me spare tyre. But by that time I had wasted about 2 hours or so and  finally completed the race just after 12 hours.

Overall the race was good but the road was bad- at least the 100 kms or so ( the first 50 and the last 50 km patch as it was a loop). Riding during the night on the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer highway was very very dangerous ( please notice two very’s and dangerous). The trucks had no regards for each other forget lone cyclists with some blinking lights and reflective clothing.  I’m sure the Desert 500 organiser are going to do something about the feedback of riding in the night or unless surviving mad truckers was also part of the game. And if that is the case then carrying a “Bazooka” should be part of the standard stuff that a cyclist should be carrying.

Overall very happy that I did the race. At least now I know what I can do. Yes I have very achy hands a sore bum. But school “main maar padtee thee to bhee yehi hota thaa” at- least here I’m not sitting on wooden bench afterwards.

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