Interview with India’s first Solo RAAM Finisher – Srinivas Gokulnath
It’s been exactly a little over a year that we were contacted by Srinivas Gokulnath to help him on his RAAM expedition. Our role was to manage social media and help him out with sponsors and so on. Hearing this opportunity, to help ‘The Hulk’ tame the toughest bicycle race, our founder Abhishek Tarfe quickly jumped into it.
Over the next few months, we saw Team Srini coming to life. Calls were being made overseas to discuss the strategy, team, and so on. While all this certainly moved very smoothly, getting sponsors on board for this mammoth event was another challenge.
While the days rolled into months, it was time for Race across America. Eleven days, 18 hours and 45 minutes after setting out from California, Srinivas Gokulnath created history by becoming the first Indian to complete what is considered to be the toughest cycle race in the world — the 4,900-km Race Across America (RAAM) in solo category.
Read his interview here-
How does it feel on completing your dream of becoming the first Indian to finish RAAM?
Settle the dues
How did you go about training for RAAM?
Consistent training with a Coach
What was your diet like?
During the race primarily fluid diet, 8000 calories every day
What were your expenses and how did you manage to meet them?
Around 15-17 lakhs, loans and some help from friends
How did you go about getting sponsors?
I am self sponsored athlete. That being said, Fast and Up sponsored my nutrition and Heini Sports gave me some amazing apparel for the event.
What was going through your head while cycling 3000 miles across varied weather conditions?
Focus on the next time station
What kept you motivated on the bike?
Focus on the finish line
What was the most difficult part of RAAM?
Whole Race is difficult from registration to a month after the race
Tell us something about your crew? How did they help you?
Crew is akin to mother to an Infant, I had 11 crew members
Tell us three of your favorite memories at RAAM?
Whole race is memorable
Tell us the funniest moment at RAAM?
When other riders are woken up from their sleep breaks when I zoom past them
Tell us something about your race strategy? What speed were you supposed to maintain, how many hours a day would you sleep? Did it all work out?
Bit by bit, Consistent day sleep breaks and sticking to the plan.
Any advice you would like to give cyclist from India looking to participate in the next RAAM?
Respect RAAM, or any other races, understand the race, train methodically and scientifically, work bit by bit each day towards your goal, understand most of the time we are our own barriers
How did you fight sleep deprivation on the bike?
music and occasional coffee
Did you use any specific cassette or a wheel for climbing?
How is this going to help Indian cycling?
when a self funded athlete like me can do it, any Indian can do it
How did you protect yourself from the rain?
Accept the rain keep moving
If given a chance to crew or race again, would you be interested?
Tell us one of the most difficult times before RAAM?
whole race is difficult
How has RAAM changed you as an individual?
Self belief has become stronger
How have the people and the cyclists in Nasik reacted to your victory at RAAM?
They are happy and ecstatic
Abhishek Tarfe, a man always on the move! A cycling enthusiast, a content writer by profession and a dreamer by nature. Abhishek always has something different up his sleeve! To know more, do follow him on his social media accounts.