Diary Of A Super Randonneur – Joseph Pereira

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Diary Of A Super Randonneur – Joseph Pereira

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.

Joseph Gregory Pereira: Journey towards SR (Super Randonneur) title – 200, 300, 400 and 600 km Brevets in a season

In 2010, when I took voluntary retirement from my job in Dubai and settled down, I was very much interested in buying a bicycle. But looking at the traffic and the condition of the roads here, my wife was scared of me riding a bicycle in Mangaluru. Later, I felt that riding a bicycle was not safe here since I had not touched a bicycle since 1984. In 2018, a journalist friend of mine told me that he had purchased a bicycle and was going for daily rides. With always cycling in the back of my mind, I inquired with him about the price and, on the same day after finishing my work, went to ‘Track N Trail’ and purchased a new road bicycle with the money I had after selling my motorbike that was lying idle for more than a year. My solo rides began immediately, and with great difficulty, I could pedal 10 to 15 km. Slowly I began losing weight and saw an improvement in my performance with cycling.

Later I joined the Mangalore Bicycle Club and regularly participated in the club’s activities. Once, I went on a solo ride to Udupi, after which my confidence to pedal long distances increased. Next, without informing my wife, I pedalled all the way to Sakeleshpur, a ride of about 260 Kms, and after that, there was no looking back. Being addicted to cycling, I would go on long rides whenever I would feel like going. In the year 2019, I joined WER Cycling and participated in several Brevets. On November 17, 2019, I participated in the WERC 300 km brevet.

The very next day, while I was going for a group ride with MbC, my bike, unfortunately, toppled at high speed on the slopy Infosys to Kottara road, leaving me with a broken collarbone and a couple of broken ribs. My old friend Jossie Mendonca who had come down from the USA and riding along with me, immediately took me to the KMC hospital. As soon as my wife reached the hospital, she was shocked. After consulting with the doctor, I was shifted to KMC Jyothi, where I underwent a couple of surgeries to fix the collarbone and the punctured lungs. I was on rest until December 31, and from January 1, 2020, I was back on the saddle. Since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed cycling.

In 2020, I never expected that I would win the Trek India Challenge in all four categories – 100, 200, 300 and 500 kilometres. During the 500 km ride, there was a red alert announced due to heavy rains. I decided to try my luck despite the rains, and my wife assisted me in planning my ride. When I started my ride at 12:01 am, there was heavy rain. The rain continued almost throughout my ride for two days, and with great difficulty, I completed my last leg and emerged as the only participant to win in all four legs of the challenge out of the 3400 participants.

In November 2020, when WE R Cycling, an affiliate of AUDAX INDIA and AUDAX CLUB PARISIEN, organized the BREVETS DE RANDONNEUR MONDIAUX (BRMs). I was happy because this was a golden opportunity for me to earn the title of SUPER RANDONNEUR. Our event started on November 21, 2020, with the 300km BRM, which I completed in 13 hours 30 minutes, 400km in 19 hours 43 minutes, 600km in 32 hours 8 minutes and 200km in 7 hours 55 minutes. When I started cycling, I was obese, weighing about 90 kgs, cycling is a great way of losing those extra pounds, and now my weight is 65 kg. I had decided to earn the title of ‘SUPER RANDONNEUR’ this year, and I am happy to have achieved my goal with WE R Cycling making it possible for me. With determination and will, I think anyone can be a ‘SUPER RANDONNEUR’.

600km Brevet: I had developed saddle sores, and attempting the 600km BRM was a big challenge for me. Luckily, my wife Violet Pereira helped me solve the problem with homemade medicine and a few consultations with Dr Eshwar Keerthi of KMC Hospital. I started the 600km ride at 5:30 pm on January 22 and reached the finish point at 12:30 am on January 24 with 11 km more to mark my 61 birthday. I dedicated the 600km ride, the memorable and the longest ride, to my wife Violet, who made it possible. I also had tremendous support from fellow riders in lifting my spirit and encouraging me to ride.

Since January 1, 2021, I have been riding 100 km every day and hope to finish 100, 100 km rides and a total of 10,000 Km within four months. I thank God for giving me good health. I also thank my family, especially my wife Violet, who has tolerated and supported me while going for long rides, my sons Ronak and Astel for their support.

I also thank Dr Eshwar Keerthi for his guidance, Anil Shet for all the tips for long-distance rides. My sincere thanks to the organizers and team WE R Cycling, especially Sarvesh Samaga, Ashwath Rasquinha, Mubeen and Harnish, for their support, Nithin Mohan for his technical support. I also thank Jossie Mendonca, Vinayaka Bhatt, Harivijay, Dhanraj, Kaushik Boloor, Navin Kotian, Dr Ramraj, Dr Shemjaz, Dr Gururaj, Ganesh Nayak, Srikantaraja, Dr Santhosh Rai, Gururaj Patel, Sunil Mendes, Joel Fernandes and all those with whom I have interacted in my cycling journey.  My sincere thanks to cycling clubs MbC, MACC and WERC.

My message to the youth is, if you want to remain healthy and save the environment, take up cycling and ride every day for 10 to 20 km. Commute by cycle to college and schools, and be the ambassadors of the green revolution.

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5 Comments

  1. Very well encapsulated….. Its a great piece. He is a true hero and inspiration. Best wishes always.
    S Rai

  2. Joseph sir, your journey from a hobby rider to an accomplished SR in such a short time is truly amazing. A man of fewer words but full of accomplishments is what makes you stand out in this sphere. @61, probably, you are the youngest SR title holder in Mangalore. Your humbleness in crediting all your success to your family is truly a hallmark of a great leader. Keep inspiring the GenNext … ?‍♂️?‍♂️?‍♂️

  3. Great article! Well written to salute the progressive ventures of my friend Joseph, whom I know from early teens, who had flare for adventures! His accomplishments are not surprising, given his amazing witty nature from early childhood days! At this age, he is an inspiration to the younger generation! I wish him the best in all his endeavors! May all his dreams come true!!

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