Author: Hitesh Sablok
Ride Date – December 10, 2022
Ride – 300km – Indirapuram (UP) > Karnal (Haryana) > Indirapuram (UP)
Flag Off – 5:35 a.m.
My last BRM was a 200K (on November 26, 2022) for which I had aimed to achieve an average speed of at-least 33.4 km/ hr; but, the Almighty had something else planned and we had extremely strong headwinds all the way and I could only manage to achieve average speed of 31.8 km/hr. While that was my personal best for a 200k; but, I had fallen short of achieving what I had aimed for and therefore, there remained some unfinished business to settle. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a determined guy and would not rest until I achieve what I set out for; and this 300 BRM looked to be the perfect opportunity to try again.
Coming back from the above 200, I rested for a day and was immediately back to my training schedule. The plan was to mix running (base runs) and cycling (hill repeats); and I also planned on twisting and mixing up some of my diet and sleeping habits. During the last couple of rides (including the previous 200) I could feel that there were points early on during the ride when the body felt completely depleted and exhausted (while it gradually used to recover and kick back). The idea this time was to come over this. During all this time the mind was also extremely disturbed on account of avid cyclist Subhendu sir’s accident and it was hard to focus and think straight.
A couple of days before the ride, Abhilash (one of my riding buddies) called and told me that he will also be riding this 300 and wanted to check on the ride plan – I spontaneously replied “full force, bro”; and that’s when I started mentally preparing and focussing on this ride and the related preparations. A day before the ride when I was cleaning my M30, it asked about the plan, and I replied “easy pace” cause I wanted the M30 to just go with the flow and with no pressure, at all! I wound up work, loaded the M30 into my car and slept around 9:30 pm (leaving behind all unread work emails – as I knew how important proper sleep would be for this one).
It was Ride Day. Woke up around 2:30 am, got ready, made some Chai (I mean 3 big cups – 1 to drink at home and 2 to carry along in my flask as it was gonna be a long drive to the start point), and then left home around 3:30 am. As always, it was a “Carnival” when I reached Cyclofit Indirapuram (the start point) and it was wonderful to catch up with so many new and old friends. For me this is one of the best times on any BRM – meeting, interacting and catching up with everyone. It’s such a brilliant community that we guys have! Abhilash arrived a couple of minutes later. Met Brijesh and a couple of other friends; and finally also met Meet bhai ji. Such a humble person he is! While Meet and I, have been on many common BRMs, but unfortunately we never met till date. I also noticed that we had Legends riding on this ride too Sanjeev, Rohan, John and Vishal! They are some of the strongest riders that I know (on the endurance circuit) and it was great to briefly catch up with them before the ride.
The ride flagged off at 5:35 am and we were headed towards Karnal today (using the KMP Expressway and the GT Road). Abhilash and I started building pace right from the word GO and the plan was to go non-stop till Check Point 1 (at 74 km mark). M30 immediately realised what was gonna happen today and shouted “Game ON”; and I smiled back. It must have been around 5 kms into the ride and we found ourselves riding among a small group of 7 riders; and gradually, as we were just about to get on to the KMP Expressway (at around 15 km into the ride), it was the 5 of us riding in a formation – Sanjeev, Rohan, John, Abhilash and I. Sanjeev and Rohan were switching the lead position after every 2-3 minutes (this was something new for me; as I am more habitual for 5km lead and switch style) and the three of us followed them for sometime.
It was dark, slightly foggy, chilly (with around 8 degrees celcius) and our train was on fire. Soon John moved ahead to lead the train; soon thereafter, I switched to lead and later, Abhilash. So now the plan was to lead for 2-3 minutes – then drop and fall back to the end of the train. We were croozing at speeds around 35 and these top guns were hammering pedals effortlessly. It was just amazing to ride along side the Ace(es).
OH!!! Did I forget to mention that the 3 of them (and Vishal too) had returned from the epic 1200 km CKB ride just 4 days before!!! NOW, read the above sentence again, where I said “these top guns were hammering pedals effortlessly”; and now you actually know how strong these riders are; and needless to say equally BIG INSPIRATION too!! There were some head/cross winds, but,our train kept cutting through. There was a point when I shifted my attention to click a picture and instantaneously I got left behind and it actually took me some time and effort to re-align with our “bullet train”.
Just before we were to exit from the KMP Expressway on to the GT Road, I noticed Abhilash was not along and I immediately stopped. While I was just about to call him I saw him coming. His chain had slipped off and he had stopped to put it back on. We got off from the KMP and in the next 5 minutes reached Check Point 1; and the first thing I did was – ordered Chai. WOFF such a brilliant ride this was!!! We got our rider cards stamped, refilled water, had a sandwich, loaded 3 bananas for the next 75km (i.e. 1 banana/ 20 km), enjoyed Chai, and were now ready to leave for Check Point 2 (at around 151K mark). Sanjeev, Rohan and John had left Check Point 1 around 15 minutes before us.
Abhilash and I now started with our regular 5km lead and switch and we were now croozing smoothly at speeds around 34-35. At around 100K mark we guys re-united with Sanjeev, Rohan and John and our train now kept steadily going. Abhilash and I kept switching the lead for the next 20-25 km until we reached a construction patch/ traffic jam around Panipat. This is where we all dispersed and scattered. I found the jam so thick that I had to literally walk (that too with cleats) for the next 1 / 1.5 kms.
Once the jam was over I started riding and then re-united with Abhilash (who was waiting for me at the top of the Panipat flyover) and the next stop was straight Check Point 2. We saw John starting his return as we were entering the Check Point 2 and Sanjeev and Rohan were sitting there and having food. Kamal and Gurleen were yet to reach and therefore, we clicked a selfie and sent on the Ride WhatsApp Group to confirm check-in + timings. Since morning I had had around 7 bananas (one for every 20 kms) and yet, I was hungry and craved a cup of tea.
Ordered Chai and some Curd Rice. Gurleen and Kamal also arrived by then. Sanjeev and Rohan started their return shortly thereafter. Abhilash and I finished our light food, refilled our bottles, stripped off our jackets, stocked up 3 bananas for the next 75 km (that’s until Check Point 3), posted my first on-ride Instagram story; and started our return. The plan again was to keep pushing hard and stop only at the next Check Point – Dhaba Bollywood (which was right where we were to get back on to the KMP).
There was some cross wind support during the return and the weather had also warmed up nicely by now. It was amazing weather to ride. We kept switching leads and kept pushing harder and harder. At around 200K mark Abhilash asked me to keep continuing at my pace and that he will meet me at the next CheckPoint as he was more comfortable maintaining a pace of around 30km/hr and did not want to push beyond that and simultaneously also did not want me to slow down. This was completely understandable and that’s when the distance between us started to increase. I reached Check Point 3 and met John there (who was just exiting). He had got a puncture and that had delayed his ride.
I ordered for some …. WAIT A MINUTE, I am sure, by now you can easily guess what I ordered for. Yes, that’s correct – it was Chai. Shortly thereafter, Abhilash arrived. I replied to some important e-mails and texts, filled up our bottles, loaded 3 bananas for the next 75 km (that’s until the finish) and then started this last segment of our ride.
We got on to the KMP Expressway and the first few kms had torturous head winds. I totally ruled out “increasing pace” and shifted all my focus on just ”maintaining pace”. Thankfully, the winds got better and that’s when the time was to PUSH AS HARD AS POSSIBLE.
Somewhere just when I was about to reach the KMP exit, my headlight (along with its clamp/ hook) fell off and I had to immediately stop. Thankfully, nothing had broken (EXCEPT, my Momentum) and the light was intact. The screws on the mount had loosened and had fallen off. I eventually put the light into my jersey’s back pocket and started riding to the finish line. I was sweaty by now and was looking forward to reaching the finish line and changing into a fresh TShirt (that I generally carry with me in the car). It was 5 pm when I reached Cyclofit and met Sushil there. FINALLY, the 300 was done and dusted exactly how it was planned.
I think more than me, my M30 was happy and satisfied. The first thing I did was – went down to my car (parked across the road inside a Mall) and changed my T-Shirt. I got back and realised that I had not closed my ride on Garmin and had just left it paused in the hurry to change. Abhilash had also reached by now and we just talked for a while and loaded up our cycles and left for home.
This was one of my best rides in a LONG time!! I tried a new strategy (eating a banana every 20 km) and I think it worked well. Also, I had greater focus on hydration this time as in my last 200 I had some cramping issues. While I keep telling everyone to “eat before they are hungry and drink before they are thirsty” whenever they are on long rides; it looks like I had taken it lightly during my last ride.
On a lighter note, I think, I Eat and Survive on DREAMS and TARGETS and that’s what keeps the FIRE BURNING and ME GOING STRONG and BTW – I am still figuring out if I want to pursue Endurance, Speed, or Both. But, I think “both” is working well for now.
This cycling experience would be incomplete without thanking the Lakshya Randonneurs team, Gurleen and Kamal for being the amazing hosts they always are! More power to you guys!!! Keep Rocking!!
Until we meet next, Ride Safe!
God bless all
Hitesh is a lawyer by profession. He also runs and manages a cycling dominated Instagram Profile (@CycopathHS) and a Cycling Blog (www.CycopathHS.com) with the aim of inspiring and motivating more and more people towards cycling.
He expresses his love for cycling with, ‘I don’t have a Bucket list; but, my BIKE-it list is miles long,’