In conversation with Jobi Vijay who is pushing her limits of endurance in cycling, with Nandini Reddy
Cycling is a fun activity for all of us as kids but today it is one of the most sort after endurance sports that many people are pursuing. The challenges have grown and distances like 100k are becoming the new normal. Jobi Vijay, a fitness enthusiast is on a new leg of fitness by challenging herself for 200k cycling challenges and she shares her story here.
When did the cycling bug bite?
I used to cycle to school during my school days. After birth of 2 kids realized wanted to get back to shape and be fit. During 2014 joined a running chapter called Tower Twisters a CR chapter in Anna Nagar. They had cycling for cross fit in their schedule every Friday. That is where I fell in love with cycling again. Got cycle as my birthday gift and I haven’t stopped cycling since.
How do you train for your cycling?
I don’t do any specific training schedule for cycling. I try to cycle whenever possible and don’t follow any strict schedule. My strength and endurance improved automatically after I started to train with ‘The Quad’. I have to thank all my coaches at Quad it’s because of them I am stronger and could perform better now during my long distance cycling challenges.
You just completed two 200 km night cycling challenges, can you describe the experience?
Riding 100 km was an initial challenge to me. I have ridden only a maximum 60 km per day. I always wanted to try BRM since 2016. When I completed my 100 km as a test for my muscle endurance I gained confidence that I could attempt the 200 km ride.
My first 200 km was WCCG 200km night ride. The first challenge was riding in the traffic of GST road along with other buses, lorry and two wheeler who were speeding. It was really very scary when big buses sped past you narrowly. While most of them gave way for the cyclist there were people who show their attitude by not giving way or not slowing down for the cyclist. The next challenge is that we had to plan our pit stop to refresh ourselves and fill our water bottles with water. There were places where we didn’t have any shops for nearly 50 km. The advantage of the night ride is riding in the good climate since the day time is too hot to ride during the summer months.
My 2nd 200 km ride was my first BRM ride. It was a village ride. Initial 45 km on the OMR was a killer with head winds. I could only average 12-15km her hour. I lost my energy and got severe cramps. I wanted to quit but managed to push myself and completed my ride. Riding inside village near Thirukazhukundram was an awesome experience with less traffic. Though it’s painful, challenging, tiring to ride long distance after the completion of our ride what we have is wonderful experience joy and satisfaction.
What is your take on safety of cyclists?
Safety is an important issue in the Indian Scenario. I always made sure that I ride with in groups so that we could support and help each other. I was shattered knowing the death of a fellow rider due to hit and run accident. Though it pulled down my confidence, the quote that kept me going is ‘Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right’. The funniest part is the people who question us asking why we are riding. At pitstops we get asked a barrage of questions about why we cycle such long distances.
What motivates you to keep challenging yourself as a cyclist?
Riding cycling is a low impact endurance workout. It’s really awesome to ride early morning in fresh air along the beach looking at the sun rise, admiring the nature. Long distances are challenging which helps us to push more and more and help us to perform better. It takes care of my health too.
What sort of nutrition schedule do you follow pre and post a big event?
I usually follow a balanced meal plan with complex starch, veggies and proteins for every meal. Pre event I make sure that I hydrate well with tender coconut water, electoral and more water. I eat more carbs for energy before and after my ride like curd rice and idli. I eat chocolates for instant energy during my ride.
How does you family react to your cycling endeavours?
Initially my family was bit hesitant in me cycling long distances. After my 200 km ride they are bit confident and also encourages me to ride and practice regularly before I ride any BRM events.
Is there are target you are trying to achieve this year?
I have planned to complete my 300km, 400km and 600km during this year and become a Super Randonneur.
What other endurance events have you participated in?
I have not participated in any endurance event other than cycling. But I intend to do more challenging cycling rides. I also wanted to train for Frisbee. I have run more than twenty 10 km marathons and a couple of half marathons.
What life lessons have you learnt from cycling?
Never Quit. You can do it. Overcome little challenges to achieve success. Set up small goals and achieve big things. These are the quotes which I encounter during cycling.