'Greatness flows , like energy from one to another... It comes after a lot of hard work, stays a while, leaves its mark on you, it becomes you, and then moves on in search of the next deserving soul...
You are now in a league of greatness...'
Here are some thoughts about Kabir Rachure, an advocate at the Mumbai High Court by profession and India's foremost ultracyclist today. Kabir successfully finished the Race Across America, (RAAM 2023: a 5000 km bicycle race from Oceanside CA to Annapolis MD) for the third time and achieved second place in his age category. He's the only Indian to finish on the podium on 2 of his 3 attempts. I have observed this man for over five years, trained with him for under 2 years and counting, and had the privilege of being a part of his crew for RAAM 2023. What I saw and learned in this adventure was nothing short of the stuff legends are made of.
How does one describe greatness?
- Is it being good at something?
- Is it always excelling at one's craft?
- Is it consistent hard work and focussed action that happens quietly; far away from the public eye?
- Is it flawless execution of a plan that's made meticulously taking every little detail into consideration?
- Is it by gathering a tribe of people who share your vision and who will walk beside you till the very end?
- Is it sharing your learning with the community to spread your gift to help others?
- Is it the constant hunger to be better and set higher standards for oneself? Those which this country may not have hitherto seen?
- Is it being grounded and humble about oneself and achievements?
- Is it sacrifice? Choosing wisely and consistently over a period of time. Choices that may be difficult because the world around you is mostly seeking convenience or the easy way out...
- Is it the process of building a path where, up until now, none exists?
The answer is - Yes, all of the above... Needless to say, Kabir embodies these aspects (maybe even without knowing)
As one of the four new members of Kabir's crew, I was nervous about being able to deliver my best but I promised to be as present, open and flexible as possible. We were all focussed on one thing and one thing alone; getting Kabir across the finish line safely and while being as efficient as possible.
I was and am still amazed to watch Kabir cycle with perfect form from day 1 all the way through to day 10 taking gruelling terrain and challenges in his stride, sharing stories (from humorous ones, to ghost stories) along the way even while climbing crazy gradients. His awareness towards his body and the messages that it gives him coupled with the ability to practically diagnose issues that come up with the cycles or cycling strategy is truly testimony to his genius and success as an ultra cyclist.
'The people around you reflect who you are, your preparedness, your vibe,
Forget what was, forget the guilt, forget the pain,
Be who you are meant to be this moment onward, one moment and one action at a time...'
Through this immensely intense journey the body WILL go through things that training will help physically endure and overcome but what I learned about the importance of training of the mind, the heart and intent. Not enough attention can be paid to this vital aspect of ultracycling. This is a sport that challenges the body and mind. Kabir uses his experience of many an ultrarace in India (special mention to the Inspire India Ultra Races) and his previous two attempts at RAAM to constantly get better at dealing with what the unrelenting terrain throws at you and with the importance of rest in propelling performance in the long run
In the process
In your training
In your path
In your team members, your friends, family and crew...'
And finally, the undeniable power of a tribe... A good Crew! Kabir's crew for RAAM 2023 comprised a badass and uber-committed crew chief who keeps everyone in check, two solid follow drivers who left nothing to chance & kept the rider safe, two talented physios who helped identify and remedy issues even before they potentially surfaced, one story teller, one nutrition & selfie queen, one savage cyclist, one driver-motivator & dancer, and one mechanic & overall fan of Kabir... Old or new, this crew had one common goal; to support Kabir through these 5000 kilometres and see him through the finish line. However we found ourselves:
- Struggling to keep up with Kabir's energy most of the time,
- Racing on the roads for hours to catch up with Kabir
- Searching for topics to talk about to keep Kabir entertained and active
- Failing to find words to describe the magic unraveling before us
I feel the power, I feel energised, I feel jovial and synergised... All thanks to a good team... One that's old and yet anew. Full of experience and good energy, commitment and constant curiosity... To learn, to serve, to grow and bring out the best from the rider. Emerging victorious...
We are Team Kabir #610
The best is yet to be...