He is India’s finest off-road racer, making it big in a sport that is still in its nascent state in the country. He has more than a decade of experience in off-road biking which has been studded with national and international achievements – CS Santosh shares his views on why he chooses cycling over almost any other form of workout.
Where it all began
All of us went through the sense of euphoria the first bicycle gives, and it was no different from CS Santosh. But while we get over this phase of passion, he carried it on to make a career out of his passion.
“As a kid, everyone looks forward to getting a bicycle, and it was the same for me. I was really passionate about bicycles and I used to do all kinds of tricks. It all started with a bicycle for me. I knew I was pretty good on a bicycle and when I saw motocross and supercross, I saw where it could lead to. With the training I had on a bicycle, I felt I could be good on the motorcycle as well.”
Cycling – the best fitness option
Cycling is fun, and cycling is a great exercise. CS Santosh believes that cycling helps him keep his game face on. Cycling is as important to him, as is training on bikes.
Cycling is important to me now, because of the training aspect of it. In off-road racing, fitness is a very important part, and cycling can simulate the kind of situations and energy required.When I do the Dakar, or any other cross country rallies, it goes on for five days and we race for at least 350 – 400 kilometers every day, which is a couple of hours on the bike. I try and simulate that on a bicycle for at least two to two and a half hours. This helps to build stamina and the core strength. In off-road biking, we stand a lot, we tend to use our legs a lot, and cycling is the perfect way to train to build the core, and those muscles.
I train off-road, but I love road cycling, primarily because road cycling is purely about performance, as opposed to off-road where you can compensate performance with talent. Road cycling helps me keep a tab on the energy I spend, the miles that I put in, and my heart rate, etcetera.
CS Santosh and Cannondale
Cannondale bikes have been an integral part of CS Santosh’s training routine since before the Dakar 2016, and he loves his bikes. “I own a Cannondale CAAD-10 and a Cannondale Jekyll. Jekyll is a radical bike, a head-turner. It’s pretty cool. The CAAD-10 is a superb bike, I have been on the CAAD-12 too, and it is fantastic to ride. Sports like motocross and supercross require a lot of fitness, and you cannot always run to keep fit, especially when your knees and legs are already under a lot of stress, so it is good to mix things up. Cycling is a low-impact form of sport, and a very good fitness option. Besides, the two wheels keep it fun – so it’s fun and fitness. For the past one year, I have started cycling religiously, to up my performance.
I know what bicycles can do for motorsports, so I am trying to promote cycling right now. We recently had the Pisachi ride, the first MTB night race – it is dangerous and thrilling, but we saw a great turnout. People loved it. We are also trying to build a pump track, which should be operational soon. If you start on a bicycle, you can progress to pretty much any sport you love.”
All you need is a will to do, and a soul to dare
Daring to be different, daring your dreams, and giving it all you have – this has been CS Santosh’s mantra. He is a go-getter, and he believes every one of us should be too.
“Cycling is a great sport to start with. It’s not too hard to get access to a bicycle. If kids get a bicycle, it is a great way to not just be fit, but also to explore your surroundings and be adventurous.
To do anything professionally, you need to love what you do. You need to have a dream and a vision, and if you are willing to work for it, you will most probably achieve it. You put in the work, and eventually you will shine. When I started first in 2002-2003, nobody I knew had ever made a career out of motorcycling. When my parents came to know about it, the were obviously very worried about me, which was quite natural for any parent. They were just doing their job, and one needs to earn their respect by being relentless.”
CS Santosh and Track and Trail are all about following your passion for cycling and living your dreams. If you wish to join us in our journey to take cycling beyond just a hobby and make it a lifestyle, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and share your riding experiences with us.