Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Targets 2013

Posted: May 19, 2012 in Cycling, Sport
Tags: , , , ,

Just putting these out there so I can’t chicken out later (at least not easily):

1. Olympic distance triathlon
2. Etape du Tour

Also, though it’s not on formal target list, would love to ride the Fred Whitton sportive in Lake District.


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Yes, that’s the dream – to watch Argentina play in Argentina while wearing Argentina colours. If lucky, it shall also feature the little fella in last pic showing his magic in his country’s colours :)

If you don’t already know the reason for this wish, it is not the team or the country but the people, the supporters. Don’t trust me? Watch these (in the 3rd one, I love how the Argentinian journo tells Simon Reeves ‘You invented football, we made it better’) :


Most of our weekends over the last 2-3 months have varied from crappy to average. Thus, this weekend, which I’d only rate as decent over all, was a delight to have had. ‘We’ slept plenty, saw a good movie, went cycling, went walking, had tonnes of sun, lots of good food, some drinks, spoke to family and friends, saw a few good episodes of HIMYM and had (mostly) favourable sports results.

Why then, you should ask, is it just decent? Well, because both the ride & walk should’ve been longer, earlier in the day, because I missed out on lunch today at My Old Dutch Pancakes, because we saw only one movie, because we didn’t catch enough sun, because England couldn’t complete the 6nations grand slam and because I didn’t play any CoD. Still, I’ll gladly have many more of weekends like this one rather than most of the ones that went by earlier this year.

Expanding a bit on the good parts now.

The ride, including the drink and snack break, I’ve already written about here, so I’ll just skip to the walk. After yesterday’s ride, Rags was interested in going for a 10km (‘long’, she said) walk today. So, after filling me up with some awesome French toasts, she hounded me out of the house. We walked, via Abbey Road and St. John’s Wood High Street to Regent’s Park. From there we proceeded to Baker Street to get a coffee before starting on the walk back. Sporty Pal on Rags’ phone read ~7km when she gave up on the walk back and we headed to a friends’ house for her to rest. Oh yes, the coffee was had at Paul, the excellent French bakery on Marylebone High Street accompanied by their awesome Banoffee Grand Choux. I never thought cream, banana and toffee flavours would could go so well together. And this was only the beginning. (P.S.: Special thanks to the staff at Paul, Marylebone, for serving us patiently despite it being close to their closing hours on Sunday evening)

Banoffee Grand Choux at Paul

Photo from rgbdigital's blog

After spending a little time with our friends, we headed off for the main task of the day – dinner at Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote, a French steakhouse in Marylebone that you already know about if you’re in London and like steak. I like green salads and I like steak so it’s easy to understand why I love this place. What I love more about this place is that this is so far the only place on earth that Rags eats those two things – green leaves and steak. She doesn’t just eat them, but actually loves to eat them. Definitely amongst our top 2 or 3 places to eat in London. It also helps that the staff is always friendly and the queue (always has a queue, even on Sunday night) is fast moving.

From the bowl of chicken wings and Indian dinner at Woodlands yesterday to the Grand Choux and steak today, this has been a really good food weekend. Throw in the late lunch at Nando’s on Friday and it was a great food weekend!

Moving back a little now to the movie. Early in the weekend (Friday evening), we saw The Lincoln Lawyer. I liked the movie quite a bit. Though the plot was mostly predictable, the cast and small twists and turns made it really enjoyable. It also helped that after the tension of previous few days, both of us needed a light watch and this movie perfectly fit the bill. After all, any movie in which she come out smiling at the end has to be a good one, right?

The last bit – sports results. Football first. The mighty potters from Stoke City thrashed Newcastle toons 4-0! Then my red devils from ManUtd did what they do – get just the result required – by beating Bolton at home. Arsenal added to my joy by barely struggling to eke out a draw at West Brom giving United a 2 point breather at the top. Then, for the first time in my life, I celebrated a Chelsea goal as David Luiz (one of my favourite players in the league since he joined) scored, kept a clean sheet and got man of the match to add a good 14 points to my fantasy premier league score for the week. Good performances from others ensured I scored a pretty decent 78 points this week. Cycling now. Though I wasn’t able to watch Milan-San Remo live thanks to the ride with Rags on Saturday, I did catch up later on. My perennial favourite, Cav, still looks weak and not up to the mark for the season. It helped that his main competitors, Freire and Hushovd, were dropped into the 2nd group and didn’t have a chance to make him suffer mentally. It was good as ever to see Cancellara on the podium and, though I haven’t followed him so far, Goss & HTC on the top step were good as well. The results didn’t do much damage to my first week in’s fantasy cycling leagues as well. Those 31 points meant my team ended up joint 248th out of 1555 teams that participated. Nothing great but not too bad either. Right?

Fantasy Cycling - Stage 1, MSR

Of course, not everything went my way either. England, whom I was supporting, lost (badly) their final 6nations encounter against Ireland and lost the chance to complete a grand slam. Thankfully, the French ensured that England at least retained the title. Also, there was the small matter of India dashing all my hopes by qualifying for the quarter finals of cricket world cup. Hopefully, Australia will beat them on Thursday bringing back some sanity to my timeline. (I do support India but hate the ODI format and want the tournament over ASAP. Once a test series begins, the India supporter in me shall rise again!)

That, in not so short, was my decent weekend. How was yours?

In some other news, I’m visiting India in April – a weekend in Bombay followed by about a week at home. Also, I’m finally planning to buy that road bike soon and will be test riding a few this week. The Economist subscription has been renewed after a bit of a struggle and, having finally recovered from the dismal February, am actively hunting in the job market again.


Topic for the day is: Who is your greatest hero of all time?

I will continue to break with convention and name many, instead of one, heroes. Helps me by not having to choose one as well :)

Let’s start with my long time, and still, hero – Gandhi. Gave up his entire life, family, possessions and even, when required, the cause he’d been fighting for, for the sake of his beliefs. What he achieved made him a legend. What I admire him for, is how he achieved it.

Next up is Nelson Mandela. Spent over two decades at the prime of his adult life behind bars on an island while his supporters were brutally oppressed with an unrestricted use of force. What I admire him for is that after suffering such oppression, he had the calmness of mind and greatness of stature to pardon the oppressors and dream of a united nation.

He may be controversial and much derided by many, but Julian Assange is a hero for me. The shortcomings of his personality are trivial compared to the his belief in an open society based on freedom of information. The world we live in is one where powerful governments and corporations have strong rights to privacy while they intrude further into individuals’ private domains every day. That he had the vision, tools and courage to see this duality and challenge it is what makes him a hero for me.

I love cycling. I know how hard the small London hills are for me. I realise that most people do not finish a single Etape du Tour every year. And I know that winning 7 TdFs requires not just a strong body but a really strong mind and immense character. But that is not why he’s my hero. I admire Lance Armstrong for being a great cyclist and bringing cycling into such limelight. But he’s my hero for taking on cancer, beating it, and, most importantly, encouraging and supporting the world to beat back the disease.

They appear late in the list, but are the ones I admire most – my parents.
Ma, for working so hard, so many years, with that broken back, while raising us and taking care of her not-so-supportive in-laws.
Pa, for his ever cheerful spirit, his optimism against odds and his goodness of heart. A bit too good, at times, for his and our sake.
Both of them, for bearing with me through my rebellious, arrogant, stubborn years (still on). For never letting us feel a pinch while they cut back on everything to give us the best they could afford. For being there whenever we wanted them, even though we were not always there when they needed us. For having such a strong bond of love & trust. For giving me the spirit to go for what I wanted. For being my biggest inspiration.

Last, but never the least – those common, faceless people who keep our world running. The tube drivers, the bus drivers, the cops, the cabbies, the street cleaners, the drivers, the Charlie who grits the side-walk every time there’s a chance of snow or ice, the Kusum who use to calmly clean the house while we slept, the shack workers who threatened off eve teasers and even the the security guard who shares a kind word and warm smile every time he sees me pass by, the ski instructor who dove into freezing river to save 20 odd people, the soldiers who drove of the invaders but didn’t cross behind them because the orders said so… While the leaders – corporate, political, military and community – get the accolades, my heroes are these every day people who keep things working to make our lives better, easier and more secure.

So, there. Those are some of my heroes – some having had a bigger influence on me, some more celebrated, some even hated and others barely known – and I look up to all of them.


A few days back, Scott at the Daily Post blog  shared this motivational video by Nike. Since then, I’ve seen it a few times and couldn’t let it go. So a while back, I put on the headphones and after a few rewinds, noted down 55 of the 56 excuses that Matt Scott pronounces.

Here’s the list (would really appreciate if you help fill in the missing ones or correct others):

I’m too weak.
… too slow.
… too big.
I ate too much for breakfast.
I got a headache.
It’s raining.
My dog is sick.
I can’t right now.
I’m not inspired.
Makes me smell bad.
I’m alergic to stuff.
I’m fat.
I’m thin.
It’s too hot.
I’m not alright.
I’ve got shin-splits. [Thanks Dhiren Salian]
Have headache.
Am distracted.
I exerted myself too much.
I’d love to really but I can’t, I just can’t.
My favourite show is on.
I got a case on Monday.
on Tuesday.
on Wednesday.
I don’t wanna do this.
I wanna do something else.
After New Years’.
Next week.
Might make a mistake.
Got homework.
I feel bloated.
I have gas.
I got a hot date.
The coach hates me.
Mom won’t let me.
I bruise easily.
It’s too dark.
It’s too cold.
My blister hurts.
This is dangerous.
Sorry, I don’t have a bike.
I didn’t get enough sleep.
That totally hurts.
It’s not my dream.
I don’t wanna look all tired out.
I need a better coach.
I don’t like getting tackled.
I’ve stomach ache.
Not the athletic type.
I don’t wanna get sweaty.
I have better things to do.
I don’t wanna slow you down.
I have to do this?
Soon as I get a promotion.
Think I’ll sit this one out.
My feet hurt.

Here’s hoping we all avoid these excuses like plague … this year, and beyond.


Cycle chic?

Came across this interesting info on a article (do read the original here for more interesting facts):

Researchers found that the average journey covered 2.49km and took 14.7 mins, giving an average speed 10 km/h, in line with the average speed of a car in European cities. Average speed rose to 15 km/h, however, during rush hour, making Vélo’v a much quicker way of getting around, even before taking account of the difficulties of finding a place to park a car.

I wonder if the city administrators in India will ever accept these stats and re-orient their infra-focus to include, if not prioritize, cycles.
I wonder if our citizens will ever ask for a clean, cheap, healthy & ‘faster’ alternative over polluting, expensive, lazy fuel-driven and ‘slower’ vehicles.
I wonder if cycling in India will ever again become an accepted part of urban transport mix rather than either a health/endurance fix or a poor man’s vehicle.

How I’d love to see a thriving cycling culture in India. We had one for over half a century, why we can’t have it again?

Cricket. War.

Posted: November 27, 2010 in Quotes, Sport
Tags: , , ,

There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night
Ten to make and the match to win
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

The sand of the desert is sodden red,
Red with the wreck of a square that broke;
The Gatling’s jammed and the colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England’s far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks,
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

This is the word that year by year
While in her place the School is set
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

Poem Vitaï Lampada by Sir Henry Newbolt. Discovered here courtesy @danslee