Diary Of A Super Randonneur – Dr Shemjaz Arakkal Maniyat
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 the 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 Shemjaz Arakkal Maniyat: Journey towards SR (super Randonneur) title – 200, 300, 400 and 600 km Brevets in a season.
My association with cycling is a fairly recent one. What started as a refresher after months of lockdown at home grew into a passion.
I was introduced to WeRC by Mr Ashok Lobo. And that’s how my journey of endurance cycling begins.
300km BRM: Having the combination of being a late starter, tiredness, darkness, being alone, No sleep and saddle pain… and the conflict with my mind was a deadly combination. And the feeling of joy after completion and team WeRCs support made me feel it was worth every ounce of it.
400km BRM: Previous 300km BRM I didn’t plan, and I faced difficulties… This 400km BRM, I tried my level best to learn from the previous mistake of not having proper rest before the event… However, the footballer in me took over, and I ended up playing a game before the day of BRM… The price I paid for this was thigh cramps at the 100km mark. Never the less I completed my 200km mark along with Mr Sreekanth, my fellow rider. Sree and I expected to achieve the other half comfortably, as it was a night with cool weather and less traffic. Unfortunately, I had a puncture, and we lost our valuable time in fixing it.
It was a struggle to get to Check Point 3. To reach the final Check Point, we needed to have a plan B. We had earlier planned to take some rest and proceed, but now it seemed impossible. Plan B was to keep the average up. We thought of attacking the descents. But sleep came as a villain for Sree, but he was strong enough to manage till we could get to a comfortable position.
Ten minutes of nap time was given for him as I was sure about the effect of a power nap. We had coffee and off to Mangaluru. Now it was my turn, sleep caught me on the way, and I had to take a power nap of 10 minutes.
After that, every Km and every minute was carefully watched. We started attacking the climbs as well. The only worry was the ticking bomb (my cramps). Sree was loading me with chikkies and saltwater.
We passed KPT climb, and the feel of riding the stretch from Nathoor to Pumpwell was amazing… We reached Taj, and that’s what I can remember.
Lesson to learn
1. No heavy activities before the ride.
2. Slow and steady can win the race but should have an extra one hour as a buffer.
3. If plan A fails, then there is always an opportunity to have plan B.
4. Add a pinch of salt in the drinking water (Sree’s Tip) or keep ORS
600km BRM: It was all about the importance of having a rider who is with you who can literally carry you on his shoulder to the finishing line…. Thank you, Mr Sreekanth, for pushing me to finish my BRM when I was on the verge of quitting. I take this opportunity to congratulate Sree for becoming an SR by finishing 600km BRM.
200km BRM: Having done 300, 400, and 600km BRM prior to the 200km, It was a piece of cake. All other BRM, I struggled to finish, and it was at the last moment … But this one, I could finish at least 2 and a half hours early along with the group.
Throughout all my BRM attempts, I have seen amazing personalities and riders who are equipped with amazing fitness and determination…. Mr Joseph Pereira, hats off to you, sir. A man with the heart of a cheetah. I always congratulate him at the start line as we will not get to see him after that since he would finish all BRMs hours early.
The most important lesson that we learn is even if the road ahead looks tough, never give up and believe in yourself. I never imagined that within this short duration, I would earn the title of SR.
Each increasing BRM was teaching me new lessons. All along the way, my riders made my journey easy by giving me tried and tested tips. Simple things such as being hydrated went a long way in helping me forward. I am indebted to the chief cycle tech of Taj Cycles, Mr Nithin, who guided me to the Gravel bike. Mr Ashok Lobo, who took me to WeRC rides. Coach Mr Brijesh and Mr Cosmos, My Motivator Mr Richie, My partner in crime SR Sreekanth without him, I would not have finished my 600km BRM.. last but not least, my mentor and the event organiser Mr Sarvesh who arranged all the BRMs with lots of care and patience… Every rider I have interacted with has contributed to helping me achieve this. Team WeRC is beyond man-made boundaries. It is so inclusive that we are like family to each other.
It goes without saying that the support and understanding from my family made this journey sweeter. They are now, however, planning a long-distance family trip with me as their driver as I have proved that I have the endurance to cycle for 600km and so driving long distance would be a piece of cake!
Kudos to all my fellow riders who have completed the SR series
“No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, you can still turn around.” I urge all the readers to get involved in any form of physical activates and if you are already in it, then motivate your friends and family to start being active. Ultimately ‘Health is Wealth’.
Dr Shemjaz Arakkal Maniyat is the Assistant Professor at Yenepoya Physiotherapy College, Yenepoya (Deemed to be University).