Stars on the Saddle – Prasad Sadashiva (Blog written by – Sukumar Sundaram from VeloKofi) :
A palette of pastel colors – that’s what comes to your mind when you learn about his achievements and quality.
He is so simple, humble, grounded, and unassuming on his successes that you would want to give him a big hug, shake him by the shoulder and say, “Dude, please show off!! What you have done or achieved so far is not normal!”. You can be guaranteed of a predictable response, a broad wide smile would cross his face and he would quickly brush off the suggestion, “Idellayenuillasaar, innasaadsodhuthumbaidhe“, yeah, he has lots of miles to go indeed and don’t think he would ever, ever utter anything about his milestones openly in public.
Meet Prasad Sadashiv, a veteran in cycling circles, you won’t have heard his name often because of his humbleness and habit of staying grounded. Duathlete, Triathlete and Quadrathlete, barefoot runner, Super Randonneur- one amongst the 4 to finish the PBP from Bangalore in 2019, photographer, volunteer, cricketer, football player, biker, trekker, movie buff – oh boy! The list goes on.
Pastel colors, every success that he has seen, will remain just like the pastel colors – not screaming for attention, not loud, simple, pleasing, sober yet creates a positive vibe.
He does Vertical Marathons (which for the layman is a marathon of climbing stairs), he has climbed 32 floors of the World Trade Center (near Orion Mall) in 8 minutes flat. He does the Triathlons like it is the back of his hand..he has aced 4 of them (2 sprint editions, 1 Olympic and 1/2 Ironman). His record shows about 88000km by cycle; 66X100; 21X200, 5X300,, you are left wondering if that is the combined centuries of a Tendulkar plus Dravid plus Shewag plus Ponting plus Lara plus Kohli He has done more – 05X400, 03X500, 08X600, 01X700, 01X800, 03X1000, 03X1200 it takes a bit to dig up the numbers, it does not come naturally for him to speak proudly about them.
How he pursues his goal, his zeal, his never give up attitude and his appearance is in total contrast to how he down plays his achievements.
Prasad Sadashiva in conversation with Velo Kofi’s ManasaBharadwajVVidyaprasannaKambalur, SukumarSundaram from on the whys, whats, hows on his personality, rides, background and more!
Velokofi: 88000km, some of us can only dream about that number…that is like circumnavigating the globe 2 times and more….you must have been cycling for a long long time?
Prasad: My father was cycling with Good Old Atlas. I started cycling to school in 1988 , I studied at SharadaVidyanikethan at Malleswaram and I used to commute from Devasandra (Near Ramaiah Hospital) – 2 odd km each way, cycling was a natural choice. During 1992, I supported courier services and was riding for almost 30 km per day. I had slowed it down during my studies but was not regular. Then work happened, I used to commute by bus and it was impacting the travel time, leading to delays etc. I had put on a lot of weight, then I saw a few fellows cycling in my locality one day in 2011 and it rekindled the passion. I went and picked up a Hercules Rodeo in 2011, looked out for friends in 2014 and joined the Go Green group. 2015 was when I resumed serious cycling. Cannondale Trial 5 was my next bike that I picked up in Jan 2015, have done about 53000 km and still retain it. I was introduced to Brevets by Swamy and Shashidhar K C who I had met at Go Green. In 2018 in GOH, we did not finish, this was the second season. Weather was harsh, MTB did not help. Then and there we decided that we should go for speed and move to a road bike. I bought a Merida Scultura 400 during 2018 September and have completed 23000 kms. Now, my wife (Ranjitha) is also keen to join cycling and I also pedal alongside my 10 year old daughter (Akanksha).
Velokofi: That’s very nice. We have seen quite a few power couples. Are you planning to do a BRM together anytime soon?
Prasad: Yeah, my family have understood my passion for cycling. The shortish rides we do has helped a lot. Initially, there were challenges and complaints on my absence from home, but now they are supportive because I’ve always been there when they needed me. BRM – not anytime soon, we are definitely planning the first 100 and a trip to Mysore later this year. My wife understands the challenges of endurance rides now and the preparation that is required, we are working on the same to ensure a smooth, easy ride to Mysore.
Velokofi: You mentioned that your wife understands the challenges, that’s early part of her cycling journey, many a rider, even after several years do not equip themselves well, or even, learn from others on the perils of lack of preparation and jump straight into long distance cycling and then give up soon due to fitness, fatigue etc. How easy or tough was it to ride in alien conditions such as the PBP, what were the challenges and how did you overcome the same?
Prasad: It was extremely cold (4 – 5 degrees C). 1200km distance with 14000m elevation; Ride started at 6 PM and due to less time during acclimatization was not prepared for the cold, the handle bars felt like ice box. For the first 40-45 min it was painful until the body warmed up. Riding early morning between 3AM-4AM was quite difficult, especially to restart after the control point checks. Thankfully never had sleep as an issue, we had practiced night rides every weekend for 4-5 months before PBP. At 600km, I had unbearable knee pain, we had another 600km to go. I don’t know how I completed the remaining 600 km, I adjusted the saddle height a bit, applied a gel to ease the knee pain and then continued till the finish line. Anil Sir’s (Anil S Kadsur) fitness training has been extremely helpful and I guess it played a big role in my preparation, I’ve been training with Anil from more than 5 years.
Velokofi: Looks like PBP has been your most memorable ride so far, how was the entire experience?
Prasad: Indeed, the most memorable ride was the PBP in 2019. One should just do it, for the sheer experience. Participants from all over the world – around 800 riders gather there, there is lot of energy. Some of us had travelled with our families which made it all the more special. Oh you should be there to feel it, no words can do justice. Mohan sir had given us a complete plan. It was an excellent route, longer days, traffic managed very well and cyclists were very well respected. We always felt very welcomed, people cheering along the roads, eatables laid out for cyclists, it is something that should be in every endurance rider’s bucket list.
Velokofi: That must have been real fun, to have your family cheering you! What’s your dream cycling route / event in India?
Prasad: Twin hills BRM in Bangalore and Gates of Heaven are excellent. GOH, I mentioned earlier, is the only DNF BRM till date, would like to complete it in the next edition.
Velokofi: Tell us about Gates of Heaven (GOH), what happened there?
Prasad: It was my scariest ride, heavy rains, was alone, landslides, fallen trees. Nothing but rain sound and occasional animal sounds. No vehicles on the road too. It was pitch dark in the afternoon itself. Imagine there is nobody around for multiple kilometers at a stretch and you have only the heavy downpour for company, I could not keep up with the pace on my MTB, my riding partners were ahead and some of them stopped and gave up, it played on my mind on the slowness of MTB as well as the experience of riding alone, will definitely attempt it again and I am confident of finishing it next time
Velokofi: We have goose bumps hearing about your experience, riding the trails of the GOH to riding in congested bylanes of Bangalore, what’s been more humbling?
Prasad: I had a minor accident near MakkalaKoota Signal at Chamarajpet – I tried to jump the road divider to save one second. It costed me 13K+, I still wonder why the RIM got bent, no cycling for 3 odd months! That was indeed humbling..
Velokofi: Who’s your inspiration in the cycling universe
Prasad: “Nan style nande!” I am inspired by the Hero characters in various movies. My riding partner has always been Swamy, he is a big help. Anil Kadsur Sir is my inspiration to stay fit. Anil sir gave me confidence to do the 1000+ km rides. Thomas Bobby Phillip and Janardhan Sir inspire me for the long rides. I also get inspired by events on TV (Triathlons). Did not know what was this event all about and then was discussing with Sunil and then learnt about it and then started my triathlon in 2015. My target is to complete the full Iron Man soon. Mohan Subramanyam is someone who I always looked upto
Velokofi: Oh yes, he indeed is. We see you volunteering in every brevet with Bangalore Randonneurs. What is the drive to get up early and join the organizers, you do volunteering even during rides where you are a participant?
Prasad: I wake up early, I used to ride with Anil sir at 3 AM, so getting up is not an issue; There is that extra drive to get up early and do our bit as volunteers, it always charged me up and never bogged me down so as to say.
Velokofi: 3AM? Some of us don’t start the day without a cuppa. Do you drink coffee and what other nutrients and intakes work in your favor?
Prasad: My day doesn’t start without coffee, there is no favorite adda, but I drink a lot of coffee wherever and whenever I get a chance. Idly + VadaSambar is the standard breakfast affair with lots of Sambar. I’ve been advised by JP of the Go Green Group to drink a lot of sambar – that gives the salts needed during any long rides. I’m a 100% veggie. No food restrictions. I avoid heavy meals and meals at night. No supplements. I ride consistently and stop when required to eat or sleep. I eat what is available and that is vegetarian. I do not waste while riding, I take 10 mins powernap and I keep pedaling.
Velokofi: How do you deal with stray dogs during the oddest hours of riding way early in the morning?
Prasad: I have learnt a trick, while riding with Anil Sir, he talks to dogs like they are humans and they won’t trouble you. Initially they chase you but if you are regular in the same route, they won’t disturb you. I follow what he does to deal with the strays.
Velokofi: Thank you so much Prasad, it was indeed a pleasure talking to you. Final words of advice for upcoming cyclists and any message for the day.
Prasad: For the cyclists out there – enjoy what you are doing. Take a step forward, everything is possible and celebrate the milestones of other cyclists to keep them going. I do envy the VeloKofi guys and the way you celebrate the milestones. I would like to dedicate this interview, coverage, article to Mohan Subramanyam as he completes the magical milestone of 100,000km today, 22nd May 2021! Thank you Mohan sir for the inspiration, wish you many more years of cycling!
Well, knowing Prasad, he will not talk about it, please be on the look out for his next milestones of 100,000km, 25 X 200km and full Iron Man soon!!
Interview: ManasaBharadwaj V, VidyaprasannaKambalur, SukumarSundaram Text and Edits: @SukumarSundaram, VidyaprasannaKambalur, SudarshanGopinath