‘Combining vacation and passion can bring your destination closer’

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on November 20, 2018 Published on November 20, 2018


With the 11th edition of Tour of Nilgiris just around the corner, the excitement for India’s epic cycling tour is building. This correspondent caught up with Rasesh Kanakia, Chief Executive, Kanakia Group to get an understanding of his passion for cycling and his training regime. Excerpts:

When and how did your cycling journey begin?

My cycling journey started just a year ago from the boardroom. One of my hotel partners, after the monthly board meeting, casually explained his passion for cycling in Mumbai city, starting before sunrise from Bandra to reach Nariman Point. I was fascinated and decided to try out.

Soon after lunch that day, I left to purchase a cycle. I was bulky and looked funny in cycling shorts, but my friend encouraged. He said, “If you want to be a cyclist, you have to wear this to get on a saddle properly.” So I bought my cycle, but went to another store for clothes.

By seven that evening, my cycle was ready.

What’s your cycling routine?

I cycle in the mornings, four times a week, with some of my friends. My car follows us, especially while treading Mumbai’s traffic. I had a lot of crashes because I was a new rider, could not ride with cleats, didn’t have great visibility in the night. Night rides were tough, it took a while to get used to it. I think I am now ready to do the Tour of Nigiris (TfN).

Why do you want to do TfN?

A friend of mine who took part in the 10th edition of TfN told me about this epic cycling tour. The way he spoke about it made me realise I should not miss such a tour. I started to train since March last year.

What is your training pattern?

I work on the indoor trainer for 1 to 3 hours, two- three days a week. During weekends, I will be away pedalling anywhere between 75 and 125 km. Pradeep from Yoska Academy is my trainer.

What’s your family’s take on this new-found passion?

Initially, my wife and son thought I was crazy, mad. But I did not give up. I started meeting fellow cyclists — connecting with them on social media and sharing new experiences brought some kind of joy within me. Over time, my family learnt to accept my passion. But they are still worried about crashes and accidents.

What change do you see in your life since you got into cycling?

I am a foodie. Love wine, chaats and desserts. I have for the present kept away from all of these. That’s how passionate I am about cycling.

What’s your strategy to crack TfN?

I am working towards increasing my saddle time. At first it was for just an hour but now I can ride continuously for a few hours every day. I am also practising the Kalhatti route on my Tax trainer every week. That’s the toughest climb of the route. Twice a week I try to do a 150 km tour. But I’m still clueless on how I will perform on tour.

Are you all-packed and ready to go?

I like to get pampered as far as all that is concerned. I’ll pack my personal things but apart from that I’ll rely on my team to get my bike packed, my butler will take care of my dietary and culinary requirements. I’ve heard athletes at the Tour De France carry special mattresses and pillows as they need good rest. I hope we can organise the logistics for that and plan to have all I need in my entourage for this tour.

What are your thoughts on the trend about combining a vacation with a sport?

I believe that rather than having a no-plans approach on your vacation, your passion for a sport can bring the destination much closer to you. And through that if you experience your holiday, may be you will enjoy cycling, exploring the countryside riding along on your holiday.

For now, I am looking forward to completing each leg of the tour in time each day. I hope there are other amateur riders like me at TfN to give me company.

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Published on November 20, 2018
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