For Lt Colonel Bharat Pannu, celebration after pedaling over four,000 km on an indoor coach to finish the Race Throughout America (RAAM) meant getting a standard sleep after 12 days.
In biking circles, RAAM is taken into account to be one of many hardest races. The coronavirus outbreak this yr pressured the organisers to carry it “just about”, the place cyclists from the world over competed in opposition to one another on indoor trainers.
Not like the well-known Tour de France which unfolds in levels, the clock is at all times ticking in RAAM, and a bike owner has to ration the sleep hours to complete the race in allotted time.
RAAM cyclists are up in opposition to parts as they experience throughout the USA: desert warmth, chilly mountain passes, unpredictable winds.
Within the digital race, these had been lacking, however there have been many different challenges, and the dearth of expertise of biking for lengthy hours indoors made it harder, stated Colonel Pannu who completed the race on Sunday night, after 12 days.
“In out of doors, you are likely to swing your physique extra by popping out of the seat typically. No such luxuries can be found indoors as a result of the cycle body is mounted on a stand,” he instructed PTI whereas driving again to his base of Military aviation wing in Bengaluru from Pune the place he raced.
Staff Pannu (each bike owner in RAAM has a assist workforce) initially couldn’t get his vitamin proper. He was speculated to devour 250-300 energy in liquid kind per hour, however on the third day, they realised that Mr Pannu had misplaced four kgs, which meant he was shedding energy quicker than he was consuming.
It pressured them to double his consumption to 450-500 energy per hour by together with stable meals.
“Our coach set-up was within the drawing room, and I used to be repeatedly gorging down omelets, daliya and khichdi ready within the kitchen subsequent door,” he stated, thanking his seven-member crew who slept for less than 5 hours a day.
He took his first sleep break – of simply 90 minutes – after biking for 38 hours. Throughout 12 days of race, he had solely 11 sleep breaks of 90 or 180 minutes.
Within the room the place he raced, there have been 5 screens together with one exhibiting simulated race route, followers to maintain him cool and cameras to report his actions around the clock.
In the course of the 12 days of racing, he was utterly disconnected from the skin world. It was solely after ending the race that he learnt about 20 Indian troopers dying in japanese Ladakh throughout a conflict with Chinese language troops.
In line with Colonel Pannu, he stood third amongst 22 riders on the finish of the race. Earlier than him, solely three Indian riders had completed the race in its over three-decade historical past.
Mr Pannu had deliberate to take part within the final yr’s RAAM, however he suffered a fracture throughout a apply experience within the US earlier than the race and needed to drop out.
“This success is unbelievable and I owe it to my devoted workforce which has been with me for 4 years,” Colonel Pannu, who additionally raised cash for underprivileged kids via the race, stated.
With the “trip” over, he might be becoming a member of obligation from Friday. The speedy precedence, he says, is to get well from exhaustion.