Diary of a Super Randonneur – Dr Ramraj

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Diary of a Super Randonneur – Dr Ramraj

While challenges build character, discomfort leads to evolution and this is exactly what a RANDONNEUR experiences in one way or the other during a BRM.

Welcome to this world of RANDONNEURING, a long-distance, non-competitive & self-sufficient, endurance cycling with rides of 200km, 300km, 400km, 600km and 1000 km called Brevets de Randonneurs Mondiaux (BRMs) or popularly known as BREVETS. Participation in randonneuring events is part of a long tradition that goes back to the beginning of the sport of cycling in the early 19th century in France and Italy. Friendly camaraderie and perseverance are the hallmarks of RANDONNEURING.

While Audax Club Parisien (ACP) is the international governing body for randonneuring that administers and oversees the conduct of BRMs worldwide, in India it is done under the banner of AUDAX India Randonneur (AIR).

Team WE R Cycling in association with both ACP & AIR is bringing the world’s oldest cycling event into this coastal city, through BRMs, each month. Team, WE R Cycling president Sarvesha Samaga, speaking to our correspondents said “until the beginning of this season, Mangalore has seen 16 riders fighting through all the odds to earn the coveted title, the SUPER RANDONNEUR!! Well, the season 2020-21 is seeing a major shift to endurance riding with more and more riders taking a shot at the titles of RANDONNEUR & SUPER RANDONNEUR”.

Team mangalorean.com caught up with all the 5 riders who accomplished SUPER RANDONNEUR title in the season 2020-21. We bring down a short memoir of each riders cycling adventure, as part of our online web series, dedicated to these superhumans.

Dr Ramraj: Journey towards SR (super Randonneur) title – 200, 300, 400 and 600 km Brevets in a season.

After doing five 200 BRMs in the last few years (including one in September 2020), I wanted to test whether I have the endurance to do longer ones. Come November 21, 2020, I rode 300 km to Shirali in the company of Navin, Gururaj, and Rajesh Nayak. Though I managed to complete it without any issues, the days following were far from comfortable. I caught a bad cold and viral infection for nearly 2 weeks. I was skeptical about any more long-distance rides. Hence, Skipped 400 Brevet on December 19. However, fate had different plans for me, albeit a pleasant one. A meeting with Sarvesha sir in one of the cycle rallies in the following days put the idea of organizers ride in my mind. Coincidentally, night curfew happened to lead to postponement of the ride, which gave me sufficient time to recover.

So, on January 2, the trio ( Sarvesha, myself and Anees) started our 400 BRM to Kumta and back. With meticulous planning, the calm demeanour of Sarvesha and intelligent time management, I completed the ride comfortably with 1 hour to spare. All doubts vanished in my mind, and I was sure of trying 600. At the same time, I felt 600km demands the most out of body and mind, and my preparation had to be more than daily rides. I started running as cross-training ( 2/3 km on alternate days), and core strengthening workouts for nearly 2 weeks. On January 23, with a lot of positive mindsets, I started the 600 BRM. Thanks to Sarvesha and all fellow riders, I completed the gruelling ride with nearly an hour to spare.

Well, 200 BRM of last night was the most relaxed ride, with a lot of comradery with fellow riders, with frequent breaks for food and good laughter, completing with nearly 3 hours to spare.

This journey would not have been possible without the guidance, support, encouragement of fellow riders in Mangalore /Udupi(sorry not mentioning individual names for fear of missing someone s mention) and my family, who tolerated this madness of riding insane miles at odd hours on what is perceived as a dangerous highway. Hearty congratulations to Joseph Pereira, Navin Kotian, Dr Gururaj, and Shemijaz Arakkal for SR series completion.

I am aware that the Super Randonneur title/series is not going to make any change, not an achievement of a level that so many great sportsmen display in society. However, it’s the way of testing your physical endurance, mental toughness, and never give up attitude ., which could indirectly help you face the uncertainty in life in a better way. I am happy I managed to do it.

Dr Ramaraj is a practising Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, also runs a dental clinic at Arogya multispecialty clinic, Falnir Mangaluru, along with his wife Dr Sapna, who is also a cyclist herself.

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