PANJIM: A Goan teenager and his mother have completed the 200 km cycling ride between Hubballi and Goa. Gema Caldeira e Fernandes and her son Vicente Fernandes completed the course within the time allocated for the distance. This is not a race against others but a battle with oneself to complete the course.
Like them, there were a total of 38 riders that participated in this event called the Goan Affair 2023 - 200 Brevets De Randonneur Mondiaux (BRM) in which 34 riders were from the Hubballi Bicycle Club, three from Goa and one from Sirsi. All of them completed the Hubballi to Goa 200 kilometres ride within 13-and-a-half hours.
Speaking to O Heraldo, Gema said that the race was the first of the new season that includes 200 km, 300 km and 600 km. She said that her son, who had just turned 15, had qualified to participate in the 200 km event but he would be under her supervision. Anything longer than this she said would only happen once he turned 18.
Gema said that they started early in the morning at around 6 am from Hubballi and she and her son was full of spirit and she kept abreast with her son, but when another Goan rider went ahead she said her son decided to follow him and this move helped her son reach the destination in nine hours and 20 minutes, five minutes after the more senior Goan rider reached. Vicente rides a roady while Gema uses a hybrid cycle. The time allotted for the course was 13-and-a-half hours. This was the first time six riders bagged the Randonneur title, in which Vicente from Goa became the first rider in the history of Hubballi Bicycle Club to bag the Randonneur title in the 15-18 years category.
The first brush with cycling for the duo came a mere three years ago. As a Rotary Club member, she was at a meeting and the Xaxti Riders came in their colourful clothes and her son, on seeing them, was eager to join them. They both did. At 12, Vicente did the 12 km Chandreshwar ride right up to the top. He then did the Xaxti 200 in which he was the youngest participant.
To practice for the Hubballi-Goa event, Gema said it is important to practice for a week and then relax three to four days prior to the event. Gema said, “My son did not practice much, he is young and his mind is tough. He is a Class X student at Manovikas High School in Margao. We are from Chandor. I had done the 200 km, 300 km and 600 km brevets last year and had won the Super Randonneur title for completing all those distances in one calendar year.”
She intends to help her son complete those distances once he turns 18. Gema said her son was very determined to do more and she was sure he would achieve whatever he set his mind on. He aspires to be a Super Randonneur one day and participate in the blue riband Paris Brest Paris ride which is the ultimate in this event.