Define or Defy

Category: Escapades

Road to Paris: Countdown to D-Day

August 13, Tuesday || Pre-Race Jitters

Finishing all the work and KT’s to colleagues on my absence and emails on the progress of the tasks at hand, I finally reached back home at pm.
Vishu came along with Akhil, my buddies from school, to drop his old since I cut go pro from my budget.

With the pre-race jitters slowly picking up, I had trouble digesting even the curd rice I was having and started puking chunk by chunk. My sleep for that night went for a toss in midst of developing a mild fever which definitely got Mom worried.

August 14th || Hyderabad => Paris

I would be crossing India’s border again after 10 years and I was visibly very excited. Mom and I woke up pretty early, packed up and set go, and I started puking again on the way to the airport. Mom took out some cloves from the checked luggage. I felt a bit better by the time we reached the airport.

Sunil, Vishal, and Karthik were already waiting for me at the airport and we all took a nice group picture and then went inside the airport.

Emirates had a moderate baggage policy with 25kg Check-in plus 7 kg under hand bag but they insisted on getting our bike boxes wrapped and this took 300-/ extra. The officer was friendly enough to overlook the extra 2 kgs each I was having on my baggage. With check-in baggage done, we went ahead to the security check.

Remember how we searched for the cloves when I puked, they were in the check-in baggage and while getting them out, I absent-mindedly put my tool kit into hand baggage which had multi-tools, screws, etc and understandably thrown into the garbage, unless I could take the trouble of going back and putting it into the checked baggage.

The journey was a 3h 40 min flight to Dubai followed by a 2h30min layover at Dubai and then a 7h20min flight to Paris CDG. My co-passenger was an air hostess who was on her last day of work with Emirates. She shared her experiences in India and also helped me with some French.

There was a short wait at the immigration and the baggage collection, we all dispersed to our respective modes of transport. It was sad watching a rider from Chennai losing his baggage due to theft. Shajesh, my college senior and busmate had come to pick me up and Karthik joined us. It felt amazing wandering through taking the local trains.

Karthik left at his stop and we got down 2 stops later. Little did I know that Shajesh’s place was still 2 bus rides followed by a kilometre long walk all with my luggage and bike box in had. I had a couple of rotis while Shajesh gave me a spare sim card he had. It took no time to fall asleep after an exhausting day in 3 different countries : D

August 15th || Paris => Plaisir

We woke up around 7am and after getting ready, we reached the nearest decathlon and bought a tool kit and a cycle lock, and checked if any personnel could help me with reassembling the bike for which he quoted 50 euros. Meh!

Shajesh got some croissants and while having them, he went through all the cab apps and trains, maps, etc. We bid adieu and I hoped onto a train for Plaisir. I booked a cab on Uber once I reached Plaisir and a friendly Uber driver, Susmoy turned up. He was kind enough to put my bike box in the back seat which most don’t do and you need to book a truck to accommodate the bike box.

15th morning
With my college Senior

The automated check-in at the hotel amazed me and the homely room and the quiet neighborhood brought me a peaceful feeling. After a quick shower, I met with other Indian riders at the hotel and my roommate Sunil Kumar Dekka, a naval officer arrived. I fixed my bike and phew! no weird noises anywhere during the test ride. Finally, we had a filling dinner at Buffalo Grill which was 500 metres away.

August 16th || Roaming Around

We were around 10 riders from India in that hotel and we planned on going visiting the Eiffel tower in the morning. The ride was very peaceful with splendid cycling paths with exclusive bike signals. Trust me, you’ll have this positive and grateful overwhelming feeling when you ride through them for the first time.

I had estimated the ride to be around 3 hours for the 60 km ride but the rolling terrain and trail paths didn’t allow us to go in the 25 kmph pace I was expecting. The problem was with my bad choice of hotel bookings for a cheaper price. I was to checkout from the current hotel at 12pm and move to another.

I rushed back midway without visiting the Eiffel tower, carry the packed luggage on my bike to Kyriad which was 2.5 kms away. I cursed myself for the poor planning I did with the bookings throughout the transition.

Though Kyriad was looking amazing, I felt very dumb when I didn’t realize where the entrance was. Another quick shower and unpacking was followed by some lunch at a nearby Indian restaurant whose owner was very friendly. I had the lunch alone as Sunil had to visit the airport because his bike was not delivered yet.

Post lunch I went the nearby Decathlon, wondering if there’s anything else to buy considering the chilly weather. But as soon as I got into the Euro -> Rupee conversion, I decided otherwise after checking a wind cheater and gloves. Sunil joined me and we had pretty bad dinner at KFC. The ride back to the hotel in the night was amazing with slight drizzles and good cycling paths.

August 17th || Bike Check Day

Ramboillet, the start point was 30km away and it began drizzling as soon as I started. I was riding alone for half of the distance and it felt very distressing as I was riding empty stomach. But a couple on tandem passed by me and I started riding behind them. We exchanged smiles and I drafted till I reached the start point. I was fortunate enough to reach early as there was no checking of the actual time of bike check. Now it was just First in First Out.

I finished my bike check and collected my vest and BIB’s and had a good chat with Salil, who was waiting for his wife to pick up the BIB and come back. Later, I met Gautam Narne and Bachi. They were buying Gore jackets and I checked the prices and ignored what I just saw. The atmosphere was electric with many riders from around the world and I got to see amazing bikes.

Bike Check 1
Just finishing up with the Bike Check

I exited the venue as I was getting irritated by hunger and had pretty decent sandwich at a kebab center. I was visibly excited when I saw Hemanth, Raja Sabaresh, Krishna Kunnam and Rajesh Krishnamaneni walking through the street. I met them and had lunch at an Indian restaurant and went to their Airbnb. It was pretty nice and cosy. Sunder Kumar Ravella was also there. They shared some race strategies and maps for navigation.

I had earlier booked a drop bag facility with JFT. I could give them my essentials and it would be provided to me at 445km and 785km. Chaitanya came along with Karthik to give his bag as I was sharing the drop bag with him. I then went to Jeff around 4pm and dropped my bag. We both had a picture together and he humorously added if I wanted to take a picture with his beautiful daughter.

Most of our Indian and Hyderabad Randonnuers were there and we had some lighter moments before starting back around 6pm. We took the train and got down at the Plaisir and went for dinner at the same Indian restaurant. Sunil and I had good biryani and banter with fellow Indian riders present there. We took a parcel to our neighbour riders at Kyriad, Rohit and Aman.

August 18th || Race Day

The receptionist at Kyriad had accepted our request to hold our luggage in their storehouse. We got down all the luggage, clicked some pictures and
moved to the station. The 4 of us took the train and reached Ramboillet around 12-1pm. The bustling riders were giving me constant shots of adrenaline.

Rohit surprised us that his friend from his MBA stays in Ramboillet. She was more than happy to host us for lunch, and get a parcel from the Indian restaurant where I had lunch earlier on bike check day, by the time we reach her place.

We had a rather heavy lunch with some wine, lassi and cake. It was a very endearing family of 5. We proceeded to the start point and reached by 4pm-5pm. We 4 lost track of each other. Aman and Rohit had 5:45 start time, I had 6:00 start time and Sunil had around 7pm. I thought of taking a nap but realized my chain had a bit of dirt. I cleaned and lubed it.

I stood in my I lane and realised I was at the back. My ride strategy was to follow Sanjay and Prithvi, both strong riders and always together. They were way front in line. I sent in a couple of messages in the our PBP-Hyd group and 5 minutes before the start I realized the balance was out. I called Shajesh and asked to recharge. And till then, I would not be able to contact my fellow riders.
What a bummer! How will contact my friends?

Bad sign for what’s ahead? …

Road to Paris: Registration, Preparation, Visa and Bankruptcy

Pre- Registration and Registration


The registration for the 19th edition of Paris Brest Paris was to be held on August 18, 2019 and to accommodate the huge number of riders, the process consisted of two parts:

  1. Pre-Registration:
    which involved completing any BRM in the 2017-2018 randonnuering season. I had already completed a Super Randonnuer(SR) Series in that season.
  2. Registration: 
    which involved completing an SR Series in the 2018-2019 randonnuering season. I had completed the 400 and 600 BRM’s in the month of December 2018, and finished the 300 and 400 BRM’s in early 2019.

Upon Krishnamaneni Rajesh’s advice, finishing one of the longer Brevets i.e, 1000 BRM in October 2018, got me the chance to pre-register early. As you can see in the image below, riders completing 1000/1200 km got me a headstart in securing a spot in the queue. I was the 153rd rider in the world to register after paying 2,600/- as part of the pre-registration fee.


PBP Preregistration dates.PNG

(Pic Courtesy : Paris Brest Paris Official Website)

Brevets, BRM’s, Super Randonnuer series, etc.
Confused what these terms are? You can get a quick recap from my previous blogpost.

All the pre-regsitered riders had a window of time till the end of June to finish their SR series. Our qualifying rides were then validated and the preregistrations were converted to successful registrations in the months of June-July after paying another 14,000/- as part of the remaining registration fee and we were then provided an inscription number.

My rider number was I014.
I being the time slot of 6pm
14 being the 14th person of the wave. 

The riders had the option of choosing from the 80, 84 or 90 hour categories. First time riders usually go for 90 hour category and I was not keen on being an exception. 90 hours it was. The start times are as below:

PBP Start times.PNG

(Pic Courtesy : Paris Brest Paris Official Website)

The Preparation


Paris Brest Paris is a different ball game altogether with 25-40% more elevation compared to the rides back here. It would be foolish to be under the impression that just the Brevets in India are an adequate preparation.
For me, a proper planning would include:

  • Strength training regime to have a strong upper core
  • Technical Know-how in case of a mechanical failure with fixing a puncture being the bare minimum to handling spoke and saddle failures.
  • Training Regime including Cadence and Hill workouts along with Intervals.
  • Mental strengthening through meditation and mantras.

— excerpt from my earlier blogpost here

SR Series, Cykul Ride and Fleche

After torturing myself in the 1000 BRM, I skipped the early 200 and 300 BRM’s and started the Brevet season with 400 and 600 BRM.

Short Glimpse of how the rides went.

400 BRM || Dec 1, 2018
This was an easy paced  and a more enjoyable ride with the Scultura. Rode majorly with Ahamad amidst a quick nap alongside Vishaal at Armoor ATM 🙂



600 BRM || Dec 15, 2018
This was an intense race finishing just under 2 minutes. Love the parathas with Malai right at the turnaround point. Rode majorly with Vishal and Sunil with sprinting for the last couple of kilometers which reminded me of how I finished in a similar fashion in the last 600 BRM almost an year ago.



Cykul Republic Ride || Jan 20, 2019

I had done only leisure rides and brevets until now. I set a target of finishing 100kms under 4 hours on the rolling Shankarpally route but ended just outside the 4 hour mark.
No complaints after seeing my picture in the next day’s newspaper.


Times of India Clip.PNG


300 BRM || Jan 26, 2019

This was a solo faster-paced ride with minimal stops. There was a huge downpour right after I had finished the ride.

300 BRM.jpg                                               (With Raja Sabareesh and Rajeev Kalva)


200 BRM || Feb 9, 2019

Forgot to pack my helmet and a delayed start by 1.5 hour. Rajeev Kalva, organiser for the ride helped me with his. Another faster paced ride with minimal stops. Ended up gassed post ride.

200 BRM Jan.jpg


Fleche 380km
|| Feb 23, 2019

This remains one of the most enjoyed Audax rides I did in India. Ahamad H, Karthik and I formed a group and rode to Chirala Beach through a longer route. We rode for 24 hours starting 6am on Saturday till sunrise on Sunday just when we reached the Sea Breeze Resorts. We had a lot of fun at the beach post lunch till evening. Looking forward to more group rides like these to places like Gokarna, Goa, etc.
(Click for the Fleche Video)

200 BRM || July 21, 2019

This was a very easy paced ride. Rode the first quarter of the ride with Brunda Oblum and Karthik Vuda and remaining with Ashish Nukala. I realised I still had not recovered from the 1000 BRM 20 days back as I had severe discomfort while climbing the Anantagiri. Decided to take it very very easy for the remaining 20 days.



Though I greatly enjoyed my first SR Season in 2017-2018 owing to the novelty and larger number of participating riders, there was a slight dip in that feeling while doing the SR Series in 2018-2019 season resulting in me deciding in not taking part in the other brevets of season. And, with the road bike coming in I was craving for more speed. And as luck would have it, that’s when HRC races were started being organised.


HRC Races

This might not be the right breakdown but, I could broadly classify cycling into – the more leisurely paced randonnuering and the competitive racing. Indian racing scene has seen a rapid climb in this decade. Our own Parashuram Chenji has been on the podium at the National Championships.

Though we previously had the Hyderabad Racing League(HRL), which seemed to have been pretty popular with many races being held on, I’m not really aware of its history.
But now, the Hyderabad Racing Circuit(HRC) is a community racing scene spearheaded by Khiyar Pasha, Akash Panda and Prajwal Pingali with the support of The Bike Affair. Races were being held every 2-3 weeks and we were having a blast.

By the end of it, I had come out as a more faster, stronger and most importantly, a better informed rider.

Here’s a short glimpse of the rides I participated in.

HRC- Handicap Race 72KMS || Mar 9, 2019

First Race where I teamed up with Kiran drafting and leading till 80% of the race but then struggled and got dropped. The key quality of holding on till the end of the race was needed to be built.


Hyderabad Racing Circuit – ITT 40KMS || Mar 23, 2019

First time when I crossed the 30kmph mark over a significant distance. Felt really good.

HRC Movie Towers Classic || Apr 14, 2019

We were a group of 10 riders until a bunch of cows interrupted and divided us into two groups. Not being on cleats, I easily manouvered onto the sidepath and got back into the first group. There was a significant gap between the first group of 4 and the remaining riders. If only I could have held onto the intensity till the end, I might have finished in the top 3. Met Sam and Yashwanth that day 🙂

HRC – Handicap Race 28 April’19
|| Apr 28, 2019

HRC – 2 Person Team Time Trial (Merckx style) || May 12, 2019

Teamed up with Kiran. Had a blast though didn’t go full out.

HRC – Handicap Race 26 May’19
|| May 26, 2019

HRC Movie Towers Classic || June 2, 2019

This event was the ultimate road race in Hyderabad with National Champion Naveen John joining other top riders throughout the country. Had a lot of fun racing that day.

HRC – Handicap Race 23 June’19 || June 23, 2019


The Big Brevets

1000 BRM || 2018

With just 150kms of mileage and within 10 days of purchasing the road bike, I jumped in onto the 1000 BRM to get the early pre-registration. Putting aside the mechanicals and weather, everything went wrong with my body. I had severe diahhorea from the first night itself. Couldn’t eat anything for the whole of 2nd day as I was vomiting out whatever went in, crapped in my shorts the 2nd midnight, realised I had Shermers neck by the 3rd evening. Somehow made it through in the last hour after placing tubes in my balaclava to support my neck. Raja Sabaresh’s message at the end of the ride is something I deeply cherish.


1000 BRM || 2019

I had got most of equipment by this time, except the saddle bag(thanks to the fast Ali Express Delivery) and this was the time to try and test it out. I rode mostly alongside Praveen Vemulapalli who was pretty fast and hosted us for dinner at his home. The climb of Maredmalli is something which I long to do again, shouting my guts out while climbing and not stopping anywhere throughout the ascent(and also ending with the KOM for that particular ride). During the course of the 1000 kms, I was completely drenched in rain for the whole of midnight till Badrachalam, got lost for 20kms, made a checkpoint just in time, had 4 falls due to the cleats, almost broke my saddle and handle, time trialed holding my handle bag against the Vijaywada headwinds, had fights with a hotel owner, sprinted till I collapsed at the Suryapet checkpoint, again sprinted my guts out for the last bit of the race.

This Brevet gave me more than enough confidence to tackle the big one ahead.


Training Rides and Strength Training

In between all these major rides, I was doing various kinds of workouts from Hill workouts to cadence to Intervals and also joining many group centuries rides and doing mockup Rides in the rain and at night.

This was supplemented with strength training at the office gym during my evening break for at least 2 days over a six month period.




Starting from the first ride since the day of purchase (Oct 7, 2018) to the first couple of rides in Paris, I had accumulated close to 7,500 kms of mileage after ~ 115 activities averaging 10 activities a month. In retrospect, a good benchmark should have been 10,000kms with at least 20 activities a month.


Cycling being an expensive sport, I had to make a couple of eliminations and smart choices to prevent the already overshooting budget to going out of hand. I forgoed buying a go pro and borrowed Vishu’s old Iphone6, borrowed head and tail lights from Rajeev Kalva and Ranjit ji against spending an additional 15k on them, and convinced Prudhi from Yellow Jersey to reimburse money close to 7000/- for unused tyres and tubes.

  1. Shoes, Cleats and PedalsI had done both my SR Series on flat shoes and I didn’t find a need to buy them.
    Out of other arguments like ‘You’ll go faster’, two which swayed my way into buying the Giro Savix shoes-
    –> the connection with the bike
    –> the working of additional muscle groups in the legs.My friend Megha who was coming from the US, got me Look Keo 2 Max pedals which had the cleats as an add on.
  2. ClothingI packed in 3 jerseys.One from 2Go. The other two were Hyderabad Randonnuers Club jerseys.
    Raja Sabaresh forwarded a couple of links to thermal layers and when I opened them, it was 10k. An additional ten thousand for a shirt? Maybe buy it in the next PBP
    So I packed in 2 nylon and a cotton t shirt along with BTWIN raincoat which would also serve as my wind cheater.Bib shorts were expensive too. I packed the Gambit shorts from TBA and got the black bibs from USA. Vamsheedhar Bezawada got me the black bibs, leg warmers, bar tape, extra cleats, Continental GP tyres, overshoes from USA.
  3. Tyres and TubesI had been using the Panaracer tyres till the 1000 BRM in July after which I shifted to Continental GP 5000 28c. I preferred 28c as it gave me additional confidence of not having a puncture though at the expense of speed. I haven’t had a puncutre in all of the rides and Brevets I have done so far. Will this lucky streak carry till PBP? Let’s see!!
  4. Eyewear and Lights

    My friend’s brother got me a pair of Glasses fromRajeev Kalva helped me tonnes by lending the phoenix lights and batteries which would have costed me close to 10,000/- . I had to buy an additional set of batteries.
    Ranjit Ji and Rakesh from TBA helped me with the tail lights. They were a beast needing only one replacement throughout.
  5. Bags and Bottle CagesI loaded my bike with 3 bags- one sadde bag, one top tube bag and a handle bag with a drop bag at the 445 and 785 km to access the spare clothes and nutrition.
    I also attached twin bottle cage holders as I had to endure long stretches of water unavailability during my brevets.



Bike Fit

With the cleats coming in, and also the memories of Schemer’s neck hauting me, I had to get a bike fit done. Krish from TBA is one of the best bike fitters in the metros. I had two big sessions on weekends and a couple of other sessions over the following week.

Krish adjusted the height of the saddle and also the reach of the handle. I was always trouble with the pull in my quads when going fast and pain in the lower back within an hour of riding.
The diagnosis was that my harmstring flexibility was worrisome and he suggested a couple of exercises to improve it. Right after the bike fit was the 1000 BRM which turned out pretty great without any past instances of pain at the quads, neck and lower back.




This was kind of a no brainer as they produce the best endurance gels and hydration mixes.

BCAA and Whey
Rajesh Krishnamaneni advised on getting 2 scoops of Whey and 4-6 scoops of BCAA for the day. I got the Xtend BCAA powder and got some whey protein from a friend

Yoga Bars
Though they feel dry in the mouth, I got a lot of yoga bars.

MTR Instant Mixes
And also many packets of MTR’s instant upma, poha and rice.

Chocolates lot of them!!



  1. Whatsapp Groups
    Two groups in particular. One was PBP Green group and the PBP Hyderabad Randonnuers Group. I made a separate group with me as the only participant and started forwarding only the important information amidst the banter to this group.
    With the date closing on, this was a good place to cross check things.
  2. camp only guy channel
    He’s probably the only randonnuer who’s made a 38 part series for PBP aspirants covering wide range of aspects like the choice to bike to food to carry.
  3. Podcasts
    Huge shootout to Harsha and Gokul for the 2 podcasts with Krishna Kunnam and Rajesh Krishnamaneni on Alpi 4000 and the PBP podcasts on the Indian Cycling Podcast. It completely blew my mind with the level of preparation and technicalities needed. At the end of the episode, they also shared a checklist of things which was very informative to say the least.

I’ve started putting in all the resources and links into a document for any  future aspirants or a casual visitor. Will be soon sharing the link here

Bike Packing

After quick check on the bike after its service, we went ahead with the packing.
The TBA Team packed my bike really well. Chicha was the person who would be transporting our group of bikes from the store to the airport in his trolley saving us a lot of trouble.



Apart from all these, I had purchased a 128gb memory card and put in a lot of songs, podcasts of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History and popular episodes of Reply All and This American Life. I also downloaded a couple of popular comedy movies as well.

Group Picture.jpg

(An evening to celebrate the brave attempt)

Travel and Logistics


Ashish advised me at the start to not depend on anyone and do everything as soon as possible. He’s been a great help in sourcing all the information, documents and formats.


Keeping the acclimatization, Schengen visa, my leave plan and the holidays (Independence Day and Ganesh Chaturthi) in mind, I planned my vacation like this:
August 14              :     Hyderabad -> Paris
August (14-17)      :     In and around Paris
August (18-22)      :     The Paris Brest Paris 2019
August (23-26)      :     Switzerland
August (27-29)      :     Prague
August (30-31)      :     Rome
September 1         :     Back to Paris
September 2         :     Flight to India
September 3         :     Reach India Early morning and back to office.

I had a lot of thoughts over which cities/countries to visit post the ride going and I went through many reddit posts, youtubechannels and travel bloggers and finally zeroed in on:

Switzerland: Anusha Vasireddy was a big influencer here. She had been to a 3 month on site visit the previous year and promptly gave me a 3 day plan on the places to visit.
My distant cousin was also here and he was more than happy to accommodate him.

Prague: Well, it was either this or Amsterdam, both of which were huge party cities.

Rome: Though not a huge buff, history remains one of my favorite subjects and Rome was a must visit. A friend was also studying his masters here. Nice Reunion?


Flights Tickets

Acclimatization was a fancy term I started hearing from other riders. It basically means that one has to get adjusted to the change in environment.

3 major things I got to know:

  1. Paris time was (GMT+2) i.e 3 1/2 hours behind us.
  2. The sunset usually happens around 9pm and the sunrise around 7am, so it was an additional 3 hours of good light which would greatly aid during the ride.
  3. There was presently a heat wave going on and it might significantly affect the ride.

I had booked my tickets in the month of February with Emirates on make my trip with some hsbc discount coupons (courtesy:Pondiman). Emirates had a generous baggage policy of 25kg check-in + 7 kg cabin. The two way flightcosted me around 45,000/-. I could have saved 4000/- more if I had booked a couple of hours later when the prices had fallen.

Amateur Tip: Always check for tickets on skyskanner and try booking tickets in the early morning.



All the hard training, meticulously preparation and the flight tickets would have been a waste unless the visa is sorted.

A couple of things I go to know:

  1.  Schengen area: 26 European countres make up the Schengen area with a common visa policy i.e, if you get a visa for one of the
    schengen country like France, you can also travel to other schengen countries without the need of an extra visa.
  2. 3 important things would be proper purpose, sufficient bank balance and income slips+ IT returns . One has to give a convincing case to the visa officer officer and give him the assurance that you will indeed come back and not stay back as an immigrant after the visa expires.
  3. Some of the countries are more leniet in giving a visa compared to othes and France was not one of them.
  4. Unike the US Visa process, which has a face-face interview, the Schegen Visa was processed with the help of a VFS Centre.
    We gather all the documents and submit the application at the VFS center of the city and they transfer your application to the regional Consulation Office which is in Bangalore for people residing in the state of Telangana. They then scrutinise the documents and send the passport with visa stamped or else a letter of reason for rejection.

I started the process in June-July, gathering information from all the people who had got their visa already and frequent visitors/travellers Ashish Nukala and Krishna Kunnam.
Divya Tate of Audax India also helped with a lot of documents to further strengthen our application. Huge shootout to them in making me less anxious throughout the whole process.

I had to visit the VFS center thrice as the first time the name on my passport and the travel insurance didn’t match and the second time I had a longer wait but finally got the process done with it. Well, not quite so. I got a call from the Bangalore consulate that my application has some gaps with the accommodation but no additional information was provided. I went through all the documents and mails and realised my hotel in France had cancelled my reservation. So, I sent in an apology letter with the new hotel booking and crossed my fingers.

Received -> application is being considered -> dispatched -> received.
It was one beautiful day when I drove back home to see visa stamping praying all the while ‘God! Bas ek bear…’.


I spoke with one of the riders from Pune who was interested in sharing his accommodation with us covering the days of August 15 to August 22. 8000/- was the price and being on the cheaper side, I blindly went ahead. It was basically two hotels in that time span putting me through lot of pain and effort in shifting between those two hotels. I felt like an idiot for getting myself into this mess right before the big event.

Amateur tip: Make your travel accomodation as simple as possibe even if it costs a bit of extra money.

Currency and Forex Card

Ashish helped me here again. He’s been travelling a lot since his undergraduate days so I didn’t second guess any of the information.

  1. Got a HDFC Forex card from HDFC Bank, Hasmatpet loading 1000 Euros into it.
  2. Went to Gem Forex, East Marredpally for currency exchange. Took 50,000/- in euros and 19035/- as swiss francs.
  3. Dad gave me a couple of hundred dollars which were remaining from their recent travel to the US.

Expenses cum Bankruptcy

Wew! That was a big big hole in the pocket. I’ve consolidated all of them in this excel sheet for the curious. It was basically all the savings from my first year salary and previous internships.

Link to Consolidated Expenses


And We’re Just Getting Started


Thanks to this event, it was the first time I felt like an adult. Taking care of all the things on my own from tickets to visa to purchases and decisions, it was the first time my parents were not handholding me.

Finally, peddodini ipotunna
*winks awkwardly*

August 13, Tuesday

I finished all the work, KT’s to colleagues on my absence and emails on the progress of the tasks at hand and came back home. I slowly started to feel the pre race jitters. I had trouble digesting the curd rice I had and started puking chunk by chunk. Vishu and Akhil came by to drop the iPhone and help me pack the luggage. Mom was getting worried.

Is this a bad sign of what’s ahead?…


Race Report: Club Run 2020

What Next? 

The Paris Brest Paris(PBP) 2019 was a brick in the face. I did not respect my body and pushed it through a lot of suffering which it didn’t need. I made severe lapses in training, mock-up races and pacing strategies, which could have been easily avoided. Post-race, everyone I met had this question up their sleeve “What’s the next goal?”. I gave different answers each time – Comrades, LEL, HRC Races, Badminton, Football. I wasn’t sure and didn’t want to jump right away.

Two reasons gravitated me back to running:

  • PBP and the post-ride 10-day tour around Europe left a huge hole in my pocket and immediate cycling goals seemed way too expensive for this stage of my life.
  • I was way fitter when I ran than when I cycled. I put on a slight tummy post AHM 2018 and it felt irritating when people used to say ‘Itna karte ho! phir bhi aagaya?‘.
    I had to do something about it 🙂

A Brief History of My Running

  • 2015: Hyderabad 10k Run and Hyderabad Mini Triathlon
  • 2016: Sprint Triathlon
  • 2017: Purple Run Half Marathon with 1 week of training. Finished with 2h 25min
  • 2018:
    42 km Marathon to my college with 1 month of training. 6 hrs finish.
    42 km Airtel Hyderabad Marathon with 3 months of training. 4h37min finish



Post-September 2019, I had a conversation with Pondiman on my next plans of running the Half Marathon in Feb, and then a marathon in May. Gautam suggested to take it slow and do a 10k in Feb, followed by a HM and a then a Full later. Made more sense. I had to build my endurance slowly and be injury-free. Finally, I registered for the 10K run.

Whenever someone finishes a 10k, people ask Half Marathon kab?
When you finish a Half Marathon, people ask Full Marathon kab?
When you finish a Full Marathon, people ask Ultra kab?
Same with triathlons, Half Ironmans and Full Ironmans.

One thing I hope to learn pretty early on is to Take it Slow. The keypoints here, is to race hard to your potential respecting your body and be injury free in the process. Set realistic goals and have conversations with experienced athletes on what is feasible and what’s not. You might think you are an exception though there’s very less probability that it’s true.

The Training

I made a simple 4-week plan of base building, build phase, peak phase, and taper period and to be honest, I probably stuck to 30% of it. My bad! There was also a mix of Strength training and badminton games in between. Here is the excel of how it went.

The Goal

  • The initial goal was to run a Sub 45 minute 10k but I recalibrated it to sub 50 minutes on the 2nd last day after an inconsistent training regime. Glad I made that change in the goal.

The Gear

  • Clothes: Kalenji sleeveless shirt with Reebok shorts
  • Shoes: Saucony Freedom ISO 2 Shoes with Kalenji socks
  • HRM: Wahoo Tickr
  • Watch: Samsung S3 Gear
  • Flip Belt for carrying the phone and gel.

Pre Race

  • Sleep and Others: I had a 5h 45 min of sleep this time which was a bit interrupted with various disturbances. Slept at 10:15 pm and woke up at 3:45 am. I had a shower and got ready. Reached Rasoolpura metro station and Ashish came by to offer a ride.
  • Nutrition:
    -> Banana Shake@4am 
    2 Bananas, 1 tsp Cow Ghee, 3 blocks of jaggery, 10 Almonds, 5 Walnuts, 5 Kajus, flax and chia seeds-> Unived Run Hydration Mix
    One packet mixed in 500ml which I took small sips during the 45min ride to University of Hyderabad, where the run was to be held
  • Warm-up: Along with Ashish and his friend, I did a 10-minute session of medium-paced jog with some high knees, lunges, karaoke, rotations sprinkled in. It warmed us up really well and got the heart roaring to go.

The Race

I stood at the front line of the pack with my Mivi Thunderbeats headset and playlist ready, waiting for the countdown to turn on both Strava and Wahoo(I don’t trust Wahoo app)

I can divide how my race into four phases:

  • The first 2 km: The excitement made me go too hard in the first 2 km and I averaged 4:20 and 4:30. But then I could feel my heart rate going way too up and I slowed down considerably.
  • 2Km – 6Km: I was holding the phone with Strava open to keep a check on my pace but it felt too distracting and I was not enjoying the run. Put it back in the flip belt and also had a fast and up drink at the 3km sag point. There were a couple of moments where I felt like stopping and just walking the rest.
  • 6Km-9Km: That was when I saw Nakul, the 50-minute pacer and I joined him. We spoke for a couple of times and that was when I realized how out of breath I was, as I had the music on all this while. My heart rate was consistently over 180 and I had a feeling that I was gonna bonk. After the fast and up at 3rd km, I didn’t feel like having another drink, so I popped up an orange which I kept chewing occasionally.
  • The Last Km: Once I saw the 9km mark, I increased my pace and switched to a pumpy track hoping to finish before 49mins. But I started to slow down in the last 500 mts. Nakul overtook me and I didn’t have the energy to hold on to him. Thankfully, the other 50-minute pacer Lokesh came and I somehow pushed the last few hundred meters. Once I stopped running and started walking, I could feel the calves hurt, not out of injury but out of the exertion it went through. Something I hadn’t experience for a long while.

(With Nakul)


I was skeptical if I finished under 50 minutes but seeing the 49min52sec timing alert from timingindia made me chuckle. A good end for the day 🙂

Post Race

  • Nutrition
    Had 2 sips of fast and up recovery drink followed by breakfast of upma, idli chutney, and a sweet dish
  • Foam Rolling and Zumba
    10 minutes of Zumba with Ashish and his wife, Rohini to the chartbusters of this year followed by laying down at the recovery zone with some foam rolling.


  • The Leaders
    It felt great watching Surendra Paravada at the finish line. He had defended his podium after finishing a super strong run. Also caught up with Paresh Pispati who did great too, finishing 4th.
  • Friends
    -> Met Shravani, my classmate in school whom I haven’t met post-2012. It was really a heartwarming feeling and we made some impromptu alumni meetup plans. Looking forward to them 🙂




  • I went too hard in the beginning. I should have reflected more on the pacing strategy. Ashish had written down the times for each kilometer to finish sub 65. I could try something similar.
  • Music. I should figure out if music improves my performance or hampers it.
  • Phone in hand. I couldn’t find my natural rhythm until the 3rd km as I had my phone in hand. I wouldn’t repeat this mistake again.
  • Training. A popular quote these days “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle“. Consistent and disciplined training is something I should give more importance for the upcoming races.


What Next?

Coming back to where we started, what next?

Until next time 🙂








Road to Paris: Initial Thoughts


2 years have passed since I joined the group rides with Hyderabad Bicycling Club.

(One of the few pictures I took on that day-none including me)

I did my first Brevet in July 2017 which ended up with a Late Finish.


(Vishal had a Tyre burst and I finished late)

(What’s a Brevet? Coming Up)

After some dejection and disappointment and a 4 month break, I completed my SR series starting with 200 BRM on Nov 4th and finishing with 600 BRM on Jan 6th, 2018.
All of these Brevets were possible with the help of my cycling friends who had lent me their bicycles for those days.


(Lessons from a Super Randonneur)

Post the SR, I happened to get into distance running and completely sidelined cycling. I ended up finishing two Full marathons, one in the month of April with a 6 hour finish and the other in August with a 4h 37min finish.



Post the second marathon, I was in a fix.
Should I set forth a running goal such as Comrades which is a 90 km road run or the Vibram Hong Kong 100 which is a 100km trail run.

Or put forth a cycling goal like the PBP or LEL

A couple of reasons gravitated me towards cycling:
1. Events like PBP and LEL happen every 4 years whereas the Ultramarathons happen almost every year. Taking into account the long wait and unforeseen future circumstances, one point for cycling.
2. I enjoyed doing the Brevets more than the marathons. More sceneries and more conversations. (No offence to the running folks :D)
3. I was eagerly waiting to have a cycle of my own throughout college and since it was an expensive affair, I had held back for 2 years. Post graduation, I had started working and was ready to take the plunge.

I made up my mind and started zeroing on the bike. Though at the start I was more inclined to an adventure bike – something close to a Specialized Diverge I ended up with a bike of race geometry in mind. After guidance from the team at The Bike Affair, I brought home a Merida Scultra 300 🙂



This Blogpost is all about that once in a lifetime opportunity (or at least 4 years) to explore the beyond and push the human potential. My resolution to participate in a 1200 km race in Paris and the initial thoughts on this and things to be prepared for.

  • What is Randonnuering
  • Paris-Brest-Paris
  • The Eligibility for it
  • The Training Plan
  • The Gear
  • Visa, Travel and Expenses
  • Parting Thoughts
  • Bonus


What is Randonneuring


You might be wondering what randonneuring is all about.

A Brevet/BRM is a long distance cycling event. The smallest one is 200 km and the longest one I know is 1400 km. In order to check if the riders are indeed riding and not taking any shortcuts or any other means, each of these distances have checkpoints between them where the volunteers put a stamp mentioning the time.


For Example, you can see in the Brevet Card(which is given to you at the start) that at every checkpoint there is a stamp of approval along with the time of arrival.

The rules are simple:

1. Reach the checkpoints on time.

2. Complete the overall distance in the stipulated time.
200 KM : 13h30min,
300 KM : 20h,
400 KM: 27h,
600 KM : 40 h,
1000 KM : 75H,
1200 KM : 90h

3. Always have the safety gear in place
-> Reflective Vest
-> Head Lights. Tail Lights – one blinking and one constant
-> A good helmet

4. No drafting behind vehicles. Drafting behind riders is allowed.

It’s good to Carry some spare tubes and puncture kits though not mandatory.
Carry some cash, food, energy bars, painkillers and you’re good to go.

This whole sport is called Randonnuering and it is governed by a French body called Audax Club Parisien. The Indian events are organised by Audax India Randonnuers and Hyderabad specific events are organised by the Hyderabad Randonnuers team.

Some other terms which will clear any airs of confusion:

  • Super Randonnuer Series: A series of 200, 300, 400 and 600 km rides completed in one particular season. A rider who completes this is given the title of a ‘Super Randonnuer’
  • Randonnuer: A rider who has successfully completed a 200 Km Brevet.
  • LF : Late Finish. Finishing the course but outside of the stipulated time
  • DNF : Did not Finish.
  • Homologation: Unique number given to the rider after completion of a successful Brevet.

You can take a lot at the events planned for this year. Randonnuering season usually starts from November to October of the next year.

Audax Calendar.PNG




Coming back to PBP.

Paris-Brest-Paris or fondly known as PBP, is a 1200 km randonnuering event in France. Held every four years and with more than a century of history, PBP is the pinnacle every randonnuer would like to achieve.

Unlike other Brevets wherein anybody can participate, PBP has a two phase registration process-pre-registration and registration. This two step process is to ensure a better successful completion rate. The organizers wouldn’t want late finishes and DNF’s due to lack of proper preparation.

Pre-registration happens between Jan-Feb’2019 and registration happens between June-July’2019 with the ride being in August

The Preregistration

This is held on a priority basis wherein riders who have completed the farthest distance brevets in the previous season have the chance to register before the others. Hence the name pre-registration.
For Example, a rider who has finished 1200/1000 in 2017-2018 gets the advantage of registering before the 600/400/300/200 finishers. Similarly, the 600 finishers get the advantage of registering before the others. And so on and so forth.
You can imagine a virtual queue getting established with the 1000 and 1200 finishers at the front followed by 600 and the others.

The official Pre-registration dates are as below:

Pre Registration Dates.PNG
Why is this important?

The organizers of PBP limit the number of entrants to around 6000. So the faster you reserve your place in the queue, better the chances of your successful registration.

The Registration

Even after the pre-registration, a rider has to complete an SR series and submit the homologation numbers at the time of registration, no later than 18th June 2019.

With this two step registration process in place, riders will have a better idea as to what kind of physical and mental burden one might be facing in those 90 hours.

To recap,
1. Complete a 1000 or more in 2017-2018 to have better chances
2. Pre-register in the month of Jan
3. Meanwhile complete an SR series no later than June
4. Register yourself by submitting your homologations for all the SR Rides and confirm your slot.


The Rides

A day or two after I purchased my first road bike, I had a conversation with Rajesh Krishnamaneni,the power horse of Hyderabad Randonnuers who has conquered both LEL and Alpi 4000.

He strongly suggested that I ride the 1000 BRM rather than bank upon the 600 BRM which I had done earlier (remember the pre-registration priority ?)

The 1000 BRM was the toughest mental and physical strain I had endured. Vomits, diarrhea and also the infamous shermer’s neck.


(My neck refusing to sit up straight after hours of riding)

But it also gave me an idea of how much sleep I require, which food I am allergic to and also ride posture.

With the 1000, the 2017-18 season had ended and to ensure I had proper recovery, I skipped the first 200 and 300 Brevets in the 2018-19 season, and completed the 400 and 600 Brevets.

No worries. Brevets are held throughout the season and the next 300 is scheduled on Jan 26 and the next 200 on Feb 9 and Apr 20.


The Training


Paris Brest Paris is a different ball game altogether with 25-40% more elevation compared to the rides back here. It would be foolish to be under the impression that the Brevets back here are an adequate preparation.
For me, a proper planning would include:

  • Strength training regime to have a strong upper core
  • Technical Know-how in case of a mechanical failure with fixing a puncture being the bare minimum to handling spoke and saddle failures.
  • Training Regime including Cadence and Hill workouts along with Intervals.
  • Mental strengthening through meditation and mantras.

So far, I have been

  • Strength training 5 days a week for 30 minutes in the evening.
  • Cycling every other day for 90 mins
  • Endurance Rides on Sundays for 4-6 hours

Consistently sticking to this plan would really help build a solid base.


The Gear

The man can only do so much if the machine is not ready.

It’s been 3300 kilometers on my Merida so far. I plan to change the tyres and chain towards mid-July along with a full bike service.

I still need to make a couple of purchases

  • Good Bib shorts: cause 90 hours on the saddle is a sure sign of a sore bottom.
  • Strong and powerful Lights: Requiring minimum number of recharges along with being waterproof.
  • Saddle Bag: For carrying all that’s needed in those 4 days of time.
  • Thermals: It might get really cold, so more than 1 layer of clothing is definitely needed.
  • Bike Fit: Wherein the seat/saddle along with the handle is adjusted properly based on your body dynamics for increased efficiency and minimal discomfort.
  • Cleats and Pedals: Sports shoes don’t effectively transfer your energy to the pedals. Cleats improve pedal efficiency and also reduce cramping.


Visa, Travel and Expenses



After some quick searches, seems I can apply for Visa within the 3 month duration before departure and not any earlier. It’s good to have all the supporting documents ready as soon as possible with ITR being one of them.


Coming up to the expenses part,

  • the registration fee for PBP is 130-140 euros i.e 15k INR
  • the flight charges along with VISA are coming up to 45-60k INR
  • During the ride, a good estimate for food, beverages, shower and sleep would be 100 euros i.e 8k INR
  • I’m not sure if there will be hotel booking in between the ride. Will update on this.
    A couple of riders have already booked their stay and it’s coming around 2.5k INR per night. I’m still wrestling with options from Airbnb and Hostelworld.

Since I probably wouldn’t be travelling to Paris in near future, would love to go for sightseeing for a couple of days.

  • Each day of sightseeing might cost another 100 euros. 4 days of travel and down with another 30k INR.Coupled with cost of the bike, the brevets and the equipment, the overall cost would sum up to 350k-400k INR from October’18-August’19.

That’s some pretty good motivation to brainstorm for more parallel income streams 😉


Parting Thoughts


Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Having a tunnel vision for the next 6 months and transforming into a fitter version of myself would definitely be uncomfortable.

Comfort is comforting. Discomfort is discomforting.
Let me search for comfort in discomfort and discomfort in comfort. That is when the magic happens.



( And also get rid of that tummy in the process 😀 )



For Riders:

  1. I have made a compilation(ongoing) of some of the online resources of the training plan, travel, blog experiences etc. Do take a look at them here. Might help with some or the other thing.
  2. Audax will also be offering a ‘Randonnuer 5000’ award to riders who have completed 5000 km in the 4 year period of 2015-2019 which must include – a PBP, a fleche, an SR series and a 1000 BRM. With the Fleche coming up on Feb 23, be sure to not miss on it.

For Readers:

If this article has generated a minuscule of interest in cycling at the least, we do have a couple of events coming up in Hyderabad over the following two weekends. Do register. No worries about having a bike because you can always rent or borrow from a friend.

  1. Jan 27
    The Great Hyderabad Cyclothon
  2. Feb 3
    The Bike Affair’s Feb 50/100

Lessons from a Super Randonneur

Hello there 🙂

It’s my 25th post on this Blog. Hope this one doesn’t disappoint just like the others didn’t.

*Wink Wink*

1500 Kilometres on Bike.
100.5 hours of journey.

The Brevet timeline was this:


July 8: First 200 BRM
Nov 6: Second 200 BRM
Nov 26: 300 BRM
Dec 16: 400 BRM


Jan 6: 600 BRM

I definitely picked up a thing or two over this period of time and distance. Let’s jump right in!!


1. You are the Average of the 3 riders you ride with!


My first two 200 Brevets, I used to either listen to podcasts or music while Cycling. This, to a large extent had an effect on my pace because I didn’t set a standard for me push for. Both the Brevets ended up being close calls. The first one I finished 7 minutes late and the second one I finished just a minute early.

And then in the 300 BRM, I managed to finish 35 minutes early to the deadline. And the 400 BRM, an hour early. What changed?

After learning from my mistakes, I decided to set myself a target pace and what better  way to ride fast than to ride with faster riders. I joined and tried to be as close as possible to three other riders who were riding together – Mr. Ranjit, Ashish and Karthik. Though they were a bit fast and I couldn’t keep up with them at times, I still managed to be in close range of them reaching checkpoints just 3-5 minutes after they did. In the end, finished 35 minutes earlier along with them.


This worked in 400 BRM as well. I maintained a good pace till the halfway mark as I tried to be in close range to Ashish. I finished 60 minutes earlier this time. And in the 600 BRM, I tried to be in close range Colonel Devender Singh after the halfway mark. It was very testing as I had constantly push myself to stay close by.

That’s what setting a standard to reach does to you. You are constantly in check of yourself and you don’t slack seeing the other cyclists move past you.


Image result for you are the average of the five quote


  • Evaluate yourself. What are the 5 books you recently read, 5 hours you recently spent on, 5 people you most hangout with, 5 favorite movies of yours, 5 websites you most visit, 5 Youtube channels you most watch and the list goes on.
  • When you set a new goal, increase your proximity with the people whom you think have already reached there.
    Want to improve your technical knowledge, spend time and ask questions to people who already are strong at it.
    Want to improve your confidence, spend time with people who are already confident and learn the nuances from them.


2. Confidence is Preparation

Just after starting the 400 km Brevet, I was riding alongside Ashish and he casually asked me how many practice rides I had done leading up to the 400. 20 kilometers is all I had done in the 20 day gap between 300 and 400. He was slightly shocked and reprimanded me for not respecting my body and pushing it all of a sudden. And in fact I did push my body. It couldn’t anticipate what was coming. And my body did react. Cramps, knee pains, extreme discomfort because I was wearing new cycling shorts directly on the day of the Brevet. I couldn’t correctly time my sleep and I was riding alone most of the Brevet.
Another mental block I had was that I didn’t know how to fix a flat in case it occurred. I would have to wait for a good Samaritan to help me. And another huge mistake was not carrying a hand pump along with me. Almost all riders were having a hand pump of different valve size(Presta) and the bike I was riding had a Schradder valve. In case I had some air issues or a flat in the middle of nowhere or in the night, I might have had to drop out from the Brevet.

I didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes again.

So leading up to the 600, I tried to as prepared as possible. Along with Ashish, I did a 100 km night ride to Yadigirigutta and back, a week after doing a 50 km night ride along Hussain Sagar. All these along with small distances of 10-15 kms plus a night ride a day before the Brevet and also a warm up ride the morning of the Brevet. A total mileage of 250 kms. I was now confident of my body handling itself.


I also gathered all the necessary equipment which I didn’t previously have. Goggles, wind cheater, patch kit, hand pump, mechanical kit. All set even for a mechanical failure. That boosted my confidence a lot.

Image result for confidence is preparation

When you prepare for the worst case scenario, you are completely confident. And you enjoy the ride!


  • Next time you have an interview, do a background check. Prepare for all the questions you might be asked.
  • Next time you are giving a speech, practice as much as possible. You end up focusing on the content and message rather than on your irrational fears.


3. Being at your Best is not a Luxury, but a Necessity


2nd 200 BRM. Last final stretch from the start of Microsoft Hill to HBC, Gachibowli. I looked at my phone for one last time to check the time and the distance. Just enough time to ride easy and reach there. I then put my phone back in the pocket. Since I was drained of energy already, the first thought that came to my mind was to take it slow on the hill. But then, I had a premonition- that something similar to my previous 200 BRM where I was late by just 7 minutes might happen.
I pushed through the hill, raced through the traffic – all this while not having an idea about the time. I didn’t slack even for a bit throughout the final stretch. And when I reached the finish, I got the shock of my life.

I was just a minute early to the finish. 

What if I slacked even for a bit? What if I let my legs rest even for a while.

This taught me a very important lesson. About being and giving your best even when you think you can slack. In this time of cut throat competition, being your best at all times is not a Luxury but a necessity. Not an option but a requirement.




  • Next time you think of slacking. Even a bit. Maybe take a nap or facebook scrolling. Don’t. Be the best version of yourself at all times to be the BEST!


4. Only YOU can Define/Defy your limits


I talked about my 2nd 200 BRM. But my favorite and most memorable was my first 200 BRM.

Background: I wanted to become a Randonnuer before the Audax season ends in October 2017. I didn’t have a bike of my own back then(even now :p), so I borrowed it from my friend. For the same reason, I wanted to complete the Brevet on time at any cost and do the remaining brevets when I get a bike of my own. I was a bit overconfident at the start, that I complete half an hour before the deadline. I even asked my dad to reach the venue early to pick me up.

How wrong could I be?

I had to complete the last 10 kilometres in the last half an hour (that’s how I remember it). It seemed impossible to me. I had run out of both food and water to get back the energy I now had run out of. Strong urge to give up. Should I?

15 seconds later

I mustered every ounce of strength. After repeated screaming whenever my body pleaded to give up, I pedaled and pedaled and pedaled. Unexpected traffic in the last 3 kilometers came as a surprise but I still pedaled and pedaled whizzing through the traffic. I reached 7 minutes late.

Though the disappointment occupied my mind for the initial hours, upon later reflection I was amazed at how I pushed my body’s limits. Never before did I do anything of this sort. It was revelation to me. That our body and mind can be pushed beyond their limits.

I was so passionate of this incident that when I was competing in a major public speaking competition by Toastmasters, this was what I talked about. And I ended up getting the 2nd place with a huge trophy and a macbook air as the prize. Do check out the speech to realize the importance of having a strong WHY and about pushing through your limits.




  • Next time, you think you have reached your limit. Think again. You haven’t! Be it in an interview or a negotiation or feeling tired of studying/learning. You can always up your ante.
  • Sometimes, you might be disappointed by your result at one particular point of time. But if you carefully pick your learnings from it, it might set you up for later success. A favorite failure in fact.
  • You only have the right to focus on your efforts and not on your results and rewards. Even the Gita echoes the same. The results are never in our hand(even if you think otherwise), because we are not the center of the universe and a lot of factors come into play.


5. You just gotta Keep Cycling


For me, cycling is going through two distinct phases.

Ebb and Flow!

The Flow: smooth downhills(or any downhill for that matter), relaxed talks with fellow riders, having the company of a group, tasty food and snacks you eat upon the pretext of burning calories, nightly escape from the sun.


It’s easy to cycle when you are in your Flow.

Then comes the Ebb:the testing uphills, unforgiving sun, chilling cold, cramps, knee pains, wrist pains, all kinds of pains, riding alone for large stretches without any moral support you get when you see another fellow cyclist, flats and mechanical failures, sour cravings because all the snacks you have are sweet and much much more.

This is when you get tested and a chance to push your limits.

In the 400 BRM, I was riding alone in the dark for 30-40 kilometers at one particular stretch around 2 pm. No one in sight. Mental pangs. I was in a emotionally weak state then. That’s when Colonel Devender Singh Duhan passed along and when I shared this, he said “You might think that riders ahead of you have it easy but remember that everyone riding their Brevet has their own challenges they have to face. You just got to keep cycling”.


Image result for einstein pedal quotes


  • Next time you have a bad interview, try to focus on you what you did wrong rather than waste your remaining day brooding over it.
  • Next time you feel you are having a bad day, don’t go into a self negative loop. Stretch, walk, jog, shower- do whatever to keep you moving.


6. To get Help, you need to Ask First

I was hesitant in doing the Brevets because I didn’t have a bike of my own. It was very difficult for me to request repeatedly. Vijay Sir was kind enough to lend me his cycle for all the four Brevets. Most of the required things for the Brevet- be it spare tubes, lights, patch kit, hand pump, etc. I borrowed all of them too. I had to request multiple people.



(In Pic: The Beast Vijay Sir lent me)

There were times when I was a lot far from the starting point and I had to cycle there. I wouldn’t have been able to on time. I had to call out for help from passing by trolleys and mini trucks. Some rejected but there were many kind hearts who offered to drop me nearby without expecting anything in return.

A lot of us hesitate at asking. Be it with the doubts in our class or in times of need.

The universe doesn’t just hand you things. You have to go out and ask. Ask for help if needed. Because there are many people who might have gone through the same and they wouldn’t mind helping you if you show the required determination. Asking for help does not make you weak!

Image result for asking for help quotes



  • Next time you need help, ask for it. Don’t shy away. We are all here to help each other.

Related image

  • Just receiving help is not the end. Whenever you have the chance give back to the society(or your cycling community). It should be a Chain Reaction as Mr. Sanjeev said when speaking about how riders who join a club bring in their friends who bring in theirs and thus spreading the joy of cycling.wp-image-414394763

(In Pic: Celebratory ride after my SR)


That’s how it went folks. Grateful enough to have taken these takeaways. Hope you keep them in mind and find it useful in future. You might have noticed the more references to interviews. It’s because I’m in my final semester of engineering and that’s the point of focus at this time 😉

Do comment down the lesson which you related the most to. Would love to hear 🙂
If you liked this format, do check out my previous post: 21 Life Lessons at 21.

And as always, Don’t forget to follow my blog if you haven’t already. Lot’s more interesting stuff to come.


Master Orator Championship 2017 Finals

To begin with, this was my first time on a big stage in front of such a large number of crowd. Though always interested in Public Speaking, I was too shy and timid to take that plunge. And why did I take that step this time?
You’ll get to know about that in the video. *wink* *wink*

In this post, I’ll walk you through how I spent my time preparing for the Finals.

4 Days Before The Final

I was still not sure whether to use the same speech which I used in the semi final or go with a new one. Since I was running out of time I decided to go with the previous speech. So I typed the draft and got a printout and started my practice.



My goal was to get at least 75 rehearsals because Confidence is preparation and I needed to give my best for the final on Sunday. On Wednesday, I did 2 rehearsals and on Thursday the same number. All of them going over the deadline of 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Friday I had 7 rehearsals which were very close to the deadline. And my confidence, it started to wane.

So what do we all do when we are in need?
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
I did just that.


A Day Before The Final


I asked my closest friend to help me out with the speech, listen to me and make me better. She gladly accepted. On Saturday, I went to her home which had an empty warehouse and we began our practice there. From 2 in the afternoon till 7 in the evening I gave as many rehearsals as possible. Swathi with her suggestions, helped me improve my modulation, stage presence and aggression.


By evening, I was tired and just before going I went for one last try and it was the worst rehearsal of the day and my confidence, it hit rock bottom. Back to the start!!
I had to go home without any more practice as it was getting late. All throughout the journey back home I kept doubting myself. After reaching home my parents suggested me to get a good nights sleep and practice early in the morning.

The Morning of The Final


I got 7 hours of sleep that night and it worked wonders. My mind was very fresh and rejuvenated. I went to the terrace and my first rehearsal for the day went very well followed by the other rehearsals. Confidence back on track!!
I reached the event venue at 8:45 and the competition was about to start at 10:45 sharp. For the next 40 mins, the contest chair briefed us on the rules and regulations. All the 10 finalists were interviewed by the District Newsletter spokesperson and we also had to fill a couple of forms.



The Last Hour Before The Final


After the formalities all the finalists went out of the auditorium to practice for the speech and it was a blessing in disguise for me. I went on stage and made myself comfortable on it. For almost 10 minutes I walked around the stage, did a couple of hand and calf stretches, walked myself through the speech and made eye contact with the small number of audience who were already seated. The questioning stares, I got myself habituated to those in those 10 minutes.


I also checked my collar mike and its position so that my voice intensity is just right. Then I went to a secluded spot and gave my final 3 rehearsals. All of them went well.

Then to get into the zone I listened to some pumping songs mostly from Eminem and also from Hindi movies like Chak De India, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and one from MS Dhoni.


Moments Before


After the finalists were declared two weeks before, I went through their facebook profiles. Got intimidated. One was a stand up comedian and another an entrepreneur and two were from Bhavans – one of the best colleges in the city.

So what did I do when the last few moments creep me out?

Since I was the 3rd contestant I had 15 minutes of time before I went on stage and I made full use of it. I took out my notebook and wrote positive affirmations for myself. Not thinking about the competition and just focusing to give my best for those 7 minutes.

Screenshot_20170817-134244-01 (1).png

I also practiced the 4-4-4 breathing where I inhaled for 4 seconds, held my breath for 4 seconds and then exhaled for 4 seconds.

Just before my name was to be called, I had a minute to get ready with mike. I went to the sergeant at arms who would help me with the mike and at the back of the stage did a couple of wall pushups, calf stretches and jumped around to get rid of my nervousness. It works wonders. I felt very little nervousness when I went on stage and gave a very fulfilling performance.


After The Speech


There were 7 more contestants after me and each of them amazing!! I was worried naturally. So I took the notebook again and tried to grasp the message of what the speakers were trying to say. Jotting down points and also meanwhile reminding myself that I gave my best and results were not in my hand. That kept me calm throughout.


The Speech




Two questions that bother me a lot

  • What made me win the 2nd place?
  • What made me lose the 1st?


Though I have a couple of answers myself, I want you to give your honest opinion on it. Feel free to leave them out in the comments below or you can message me on Facebook. I would be very glad to hear them and I thank you in advance for your little contribution.


An Evening at the Wall Ride Park

I regularly check the events and rides organised Bike Affair and I was pleasantly surprised when that week’s event was a 20 km ride to a Skate Park followed by some pumping  😛 . I never expected a BMX/Skate Park in Hyderabad. Maybe in Mumbai or Bangalore but not here.I went through the Skates Park’s Facebook Page and it totally blew my mind. Going back to January’17, in an event organised for all the cycle enthusiasts and contributors in the city, I came across a guy in his twenties who explained his idea of having a skate park in Hyderabad and guess what? it was already under way. I was very excited about it back then but I slowly forgot about it. Coming back to now, I was more than animated upon knowing that the park was completed.

Along with 4 of my friends, who were skeptical of cycling 20 km till the park decided otherwise and we started for the park on our motor vehicles at 7:15 pm. The park is on the Chevella road behind the Telangana State Police Academy [TSPA]. We reached there by 8 and were greeted by  Hamza and his father, both lively and amiable people


About Wall Ride Park

The half-acre park basically has two divisions – one being a pump track and the other a skate track. The pump track covering 60% of the land.

The Pump track: This track consists of a series of zig zag ups and downs which help in building momentum necessary for the pumping.PumpTrack.jpg

The Skate track: This track has a curved incline, inclined planes and a couple of fixed rods. A lot can be done only if you know how to skate :p

Skate Park.jpg

There was also a canteen serving pizzas, samosas, sandwiches, energy drinks and water. Toilets will be also be available (they were still under construction when we went). The charges were 50/- per person on that day but will be 220/- for every hour henceforth. The entire park has flood lights so you can stay there till 11 pm. The timings might  be 6 am till 12 pm and then 4 pm till 11 pm.


The Pumping Starts


Hamza walked us through how to handle a BMX mongoose bike. In a pump track, there is no need for pedaling. You have to use the pumping motion of your body against the ups and downs of the track to generate momentum. He first showed us how to keep your legs leveled on the pedals and then demonstrated how one should pump the body on the track. Then we each took turns to ride the bike. You probably would have to pedal in the first 4-5 rides but once you get the hang of the pumping motion, I’m sure you wouldn’t get off the bike. Too much fun!! We started at 8:30 and went on till 11. That’s how much addictive it is!! In between we had some delicious Pizza and sandwiches followed by some energy drinks. During the end, we rode with our biker gloves on and there was a remarkable difference. See for yourself!! There were many fun moments throughout the night. Even kids had fun here. Hamza kept doing many stunts. A 180 degree turn, many flips and the best of all, a wall ride. Many other skate boarders joined too. They showed us how to skate. I tried some stunts but wasn’t successful. Will try harder the next time. Overall, an evening well spent and worth every rupee.
I’ll be going again this Wednesday on 21st June, 2017. A  Go-Skate Boarding Day is being organised. Very much excited 🙂

Hey there, please do visit this park if you are in Hyderabad. If in any other city, try to visit a pump track nearest you. An experience worth having.

Foot Notes:

* Image Courtesy : Facebook
* Watch some pumping videos before you go.

Back to Fiction

It’s been a long time since I read a fiction book. The last one was John Grisham’s The Firm back in December. It was a very riveting read and reminded me of the series Suits. The one before that…I don’t remember. I got so engrossed in reading one Non-Fiction book after another and also Biographies that I casually put fiction at the back. Zero to One, Hooked, Personal MBA etc were some of the finest books I have read. You feel you are learning a lot (and you are) when you read a Non-Fiction, equipping yourself for the real world and that is quite addictive. Finally, after a gap of 6months I read two novels in a week. The first was Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer and the other being Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon and both of them being the crème de la crème of the novels I have read. Both being thrillers, I was completely hooked.

Kane and Abel (No Spoilers)

* The plot is about two characters who are born on the same day at different places. The 1st third of the novel covers the journey of protagonists through their childhood and teens. The tragedies they meet with will move you. It ends with both of them facing each other the first time and the start of their rivalry which goes on till the end. The 2nd third involves their individual success journey and midlife, respective marriages and some major confrontations between them. The final third involves a subplot concerning their children and the last major showdown between them.
* Jeffrey Archer doesn’t hurry in building the main characters- Kane and Abel. He carefully crafts their persona and builds them both into equally shrewd gentlemen on the outside but caring and loving on the inside and the circumstances that made them that way.
The storytelling covers many facets- Tragedy, Romance, Friendship, Patriotism, Rivalry, Karma, Deceit, Attainment, Love, War and Finally… Peace.
* Tragedies strike early in their childhood at equal points of time. You feel a lot for both the characters and the novel stings you in the heart at places. Be it concerning Abel’s sister and wife or Kane’s parents and best friend. You also realise that the world is very unfair and also very cruel. You have to be on your guard at all times and always have a card up your sleeve. These days, its more about Survival than Success.
* When the subplot concerning their children started, I assumed where it was heading and was a bit let down but my assumptions were wrong. The author maintained the edgy flow right till the end and gives a more than satisfactory climax.
* There are many twists in the story, most of them expected and a few unexpected like the war meeting, Kane’s last year at his bank, etc.
On the whole, a very gripping and complete read. I would give it a 4 out of 5

Tell Me Your Dreams (No Spoilers Again)

* The plot is about three main characters and their involvement with 5 murders at different places. In the 1st third, the author takes you through the life of the protagonists-their lifestyle, fears and insecurities and their romantic interests. It ends with the 4 murders happening and mention of a 5th. In the 2nd third, we see a court battle concerning 3 of the murders. The final 3rd involves the setting of a rehabilitation centre as a consequence of the court judgement. The circumstances of all the murders are revealed here. And comes the unexpected final twist and a befitting conclusion.
* In contrast to Kane and Abel, I didn’t quite feel for the characters here. You’ll feel a little bit indifferent to the characters. All of them. Be it the protagonists or the deputy or the lawyer. A less emotionally appealing read on the whole.
* Some settings are not built properly. The courtroom was the most important scene and it seems to be hurried and leaves you unsatisfied.
* There are many twists in the novel. You’ll have expected most of them but the climax is very much unexpected.
* The novel ends with the Author’s note regarding female abuse. Shocking figures regarding them. You see the plight of women, even from the people she trusts.
On the whole, another gripping novel and I would give it a 3.7

The next novels on my reading list are The Murder on Orient Express by Agatha Christie and The Prodigal Daughter by Jeffrey Archer. Back to Fiction indeed!!!

Hey there, if you find it too tasking to read complete books why don’t you read summaries of popular books instead. These are the ones I go across frequently
* Paul Minors

* James Clear

* Booklet App on Google Play Store

* Derek Sivers

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Best Ice Breaking Activity

Ice Breaking activities usually happen after everyone introduces themselves. What if we have an Ice-Breaking Activity in the introduction itself ?

This revelation came to me when I attended a Microsoft Student Partner Summit [MSP-SUMMIT] in Bits-Pilani this March. All the MSP’s started introducing themselves by telling their names and some additions like their hobbies etc. But by the end of the introductory session, I couldn’t remember at least a quarter of the names of the people. What’s the use then? I then spent some time thinking about it and an Idea struck my Mind.

What if we have an introductory Ice-Breaking activity wherein each person comes forward and performs a set of actions and we then have to guess the name of the person. Exactly like dumb-charades but with our names instead of movies.

It helps in 3 ways :

  • You have a very less likely chance of forgetting the person’s name.
  • You can easily start up a conversation with anyone either by mentioning the action the person did or by suggesting another way to act (in good humor).
  • And its fun to think about the different ways you can charade your name.

Try it out the next time you meet a new set of people. You could propose the same and you’d make a very good first impression for initiating.

Have you heard about Meetup? Excellent platform for you to meet new and like-minded people. I joined the local Toast Masters and Bicycling club through meetup and I had some of the best days of my life.
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