Indian Cyclists Network

21st Feb Mumbai Cyclothon & Tour De Mumbai


It was a memorable day…

Right from Sasural Restaurant, the ride to Bandra - the breakfast at Bandra Café and the Amateur ride. Though I managed to lose sight of the Cyclist.in somewhere along the ride till the sea link it was totally fun. Saw a few misshapes of people falling off – some crashing into others – some bikes needing help – my shoe-lace getting undone - maneuvering through the traffic – lack of clarity of the route but guess this was bound to happen. Should say that the event organizers were pretty good in handling all these emergencies...

The bystanders cheering along the way, cyclist trying to challenge themselves , the lady cycling doubles with the kid, the jingle jangling dubbawalas- the high point of my ride like most was the Bandra sea link (guess we should find a way to have them open the sea link to cyclist for a few hours once a week). However the ride ended in an anti climax as did not know it was the end already when we landed at the Finish. Fortunately the day was not over still…

I met with Ashraf, Sachin and Fizzy at the enclosure after collecting my refreshment; when Ashraf had this bright idea of watching the international cyclist and being a sucker for anything in sports I was all game. Ashraf, Sachin and I then went about trying to figure out how do we get ourselves where the action in. By then Vinod too had joined us. By asking around we understood where the race was and before we knew it, we were right in the ring (can you believe that we were jaywalking on the race track). Must say it was fortunate for the international riders that the police had the sense to whistle and stop us. So we then went behind the barricade and in some minutes we saw the entourage with the leading cyclist. Men did the first glimpse of the cyclist whizzing past give us goose bumps - we were watching the racers go by us at about a distance 5 feet – (FYI the international competitors ride was 36 laps of a 2.8-kilometre course). Fortunately for us that was not the end of the experience…

We moved along a bit further to have a better view – at this time we could see the riders on the other side where they were going towards the sea link (they did not go over the sea link) and come by us to go over the fly over. We in fact timed them and at one point there were taking 4 minutes to complete the circuit. At this point I was rooting for number 151. We then got a bit more adventurous and decided to see if we could go over to where the Finish was. So form the road we got down the small mud slope to a track below and moved ahead. We surfaced again at a place which was kind of a pit stop – this was the place where the cyclist were refueling themselves for either Wasser (Water) or sport drink. The Team Nutrixxion (German) was right in front of us and we saw the cyclist wizz past at 60 – 70 km (later even more - they peaked at 81 Km per hour) and snatch the drink that they wanted. We also got to see a tyre being fixed – one of the cyclist had a tyre come loose and his support team came running with a spare, removed the old tyre and fixed the new one in – all in all the time taken was not more than 30 – 40 sec. Sachin knows German and that only added to the fun – he was cheering in German and later Dirk Mullen (we of course joined him as well). Well more was yet to come…

We also got filmed – a media crew requested us to cheer the cyclist as they went past (hey not that we were not cheering – there was so much to absorb that most of the time we were left mouth open). So for all you know we would actually be part of the bigger picture (pun intended). Then we decided to go to the area where they were making the turn (this was where the corporate race had started). Initially all were riding in a pack and then there was a lead group and the pack with one or two cyclist trailing (It was a bit sad that we could not totally identify the racers). Eventually towards the end the two leaders Juan Jose Haedo and Dirk Mullen were clearly leading and my 151 Tobias Erler was 3rd – he also won the fastest sprinter prize. The lead was nearly of one lap…

The place they were making the turn was at the podium - it was quite a tight turn – doubt if it was comfortable for the cyclist. By this time I think they were about 10 laps to go - the entourage in the Scoda cars ( not exactly sure what their role were) were also telling the support groups about the number of laps remaining. We waited there till there were 4 laps to go and moved back to the Finish arch (as we were across the road so we did not have the best view but we could still follow). On the last lap the pack that was the trail went whizzing past us at no more than a feet or two – you would see them coming and before your head turns from left to right they were gone – wow…

We then moved to there the presentation ceremony was… The prize total money for the professional cyclist was $ 100,000 for international cyclists and Rs 1 million for Indian cyclists. There was the yellow jersey for the winners were Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) for the international race and Dayala Ram Sharan for the National Elite Ride. They announced of the intention of making this a year on year event – Cheers! to that…. Must say that all the sponsors would have been happy with the event, as were the participants.

We then decided to turn back and then we had another (last) surprise stored for us… Sachin spotted the German group and decided to take a photograph – Mullen the racer who came second was there as well. I tagged along to be the photographer – the Germans were very accommodating and courteous. We then took a group photo as well (Sachin you should post the photograph). They gave us their sippers and we shook hands with them. BTW Sachin and I were the luck ones who got the sippers - I will definitely be keeping mine as a reminder of this memorable day (Ashraf is the caretaker of my bottle for now)...

Finally on the return we came via the Carter Road – saw Deepak (the Gear Bike guy) and a guy from Bangalore (sorry don’t know the name) were doing cycle stunts. There was a good crowd cheering them – did spot Zubair and Faisal enjoying Biriyani while watching the stunts :) . We waited a bit and as we were totally drained decided to head home. We took the Juhu road and headed straight home totally satiated 

Have to say a Thank You note:

A big thank you to all the initiative form the cyclist.in guys - Amit , Faisal, Amrish, Rishu et al 3
Cheers to all…

Ashraf without that crazy but obvious idea we would have missed out on this wonderful experience…

Sachin your knowing German did give us those added moments…

Vinod thank you for your company and keeping us hydrated…

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Comment by Zubair Lodi on June 9, 2010 at 12:38pm
Hey Girl where ve U been ??
riders were missing ur write up for quite long now.
hey r u in for lonavala DH ?

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