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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Nine Lucknow cyclists take Paris endurance test today

TOUGH NUT The 1,230-km route includes cold, windy and tough terrain that poses health and mechanical challenges.

lucknow Updated: Aug 18, 2019 12:22 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal & K Sandeep Kumar
Pankaj Jaiswal & K Sandeep Kumar
Hidustan Times,Lucknow/Prayagraj
Cyclist Manish Mishra
Cyclist Manish Mishra (Sourced)

On Sunday evening 335 Indian endurance cyclists, including nine from Lucknow and one from Prayagraj, will participate in the Randonnée Paris-Brest-Paris-2019, an International endurance cycling event, where around 7,000 cyclists from all over the world will ride on a 1,230 km route in cold, windy, tough terrain that poses health and mechanical challenges.

The event, considered as one of the toughest endurance cycling events in the world, is being conducted since 1891. It is not a race.

Held every four years, Indians began participating in it in 2011 and this is the first time cyclists from Lucknow are in participating in it.

The event will begin on August 18 (Sunday) at 5.30 pm (Paris, France time) and end on August 22, 2019. The starting point is the majestic park of Rambouillet’s castle, near Paris, where cyclists will get a flag-off in batches of 300. Those who complete the route within the stipulated time will get a medal.

There are three different time categories -- 80 hours, 84 hours and 90 hours.

Seven Lucknow riders have opted for the 90-hour category while the other two decided for the tougher 84-hour one. One Prayagraj rider too chose the 90-hour category.

Rajesh Kumar Verma, 54, a teacher and Dhairya Ahuja, 25, are in the 84-hour slot while Vivek Ranjan, 32, a manager at a private firm, Rakesh Kumar Pawan, 46, a businessman, Prabhat Ranjan, 40, a manager at a private firm, his wife Amrita Ranjan, 35, an assistant professor at a college, Yashesh Vyas, 51, an architect, Vaibhav Rastogi, 44, a businessman, and Abhinav Kumar Singh, 36, a businessman and mountaineer are doing the 90-hour category.

The Prayagraj rider Manish Mishra, 42, a senior auditor at the office of the Accountant General, UP, Prayagraj is also doing in the 90-hour Category. There are about 50 riders from the National Capital Region (NCR).

The event is held under the guidance of Adaux Club Parisien (ACP), France. “To participate in the event an aspirant must finish 200 km (13.30 hours), 300 km (20 hours), 400 km (27 hours), and 600 km (40 hour) BRM (endurance cycling event against time) in one calendar year under Audax India,” said Abhinav Kumar over the phone, in between his practice sessions, from Paris.

Amrita Ranjan, after her last practice and acclimatisation ride ahead of the event, said: “I know it’s tough, I am practising. The terrain is not like Uttar Pradesh routes. It’s a rolling path (that is a route with steep climbs and descents). And unlike India, where we ride on the left of the roads, we have to get used to riding on the right side.”

Yashesh Vyas said: “No ride is easy. Even a 100 km ride is not easy. Ultimately, it’s a mind game.”

In cycling parlance, it is called self-sustained ride, that is, there is no backup support from the organisers and all breakdowns and emergencies are to be handled solely by the participants. “Even relatives or friends are not allowed to help the participants during the ride,” said Prabhat Ranjan, the husband of Amrita. Amrita and Prabhat are the first couple ever from India that is attempting the PBP.

“If you like going fast, there usually is a group who try to see how quickly they can complete the course. But the results are listed alphabetically, and everybody gets the same medal, so it is not a race. The long rides are challenging for anybody, but every finisher is a winner,” said Manish Mishra.

Most riders have bought new ‘road category’ bikes for the event and most of these bikes cost over Rs 1 lakh. One ends up spending a minimum Rs 2.5 lakh for the event, which includes the cost of the bike, air tickets, food and lodging.

*Brevets De Randonneur Mondiaux (BRMs) are rides of fixed distances that are to be completed within specified time limits, having successfully passed through pre-determined time controls.

*BRMs worldwide are approved and governed by Audax Club Parisien (ACP).

*A randonneuring event is called a randonée or brevet (pronounced breh-VAY), and a rider who has completed a 200 km event is called a randonneur. The most common type of event is a brevet, referring to the certificate or card (called brevet in French) the participant receives, signifying completion of a particular distance.

*Randonneur events are 200 km, 300 km, 400 km, 600 km, 1000 km, and 1200 km. During longer events, sleep breaks are planned at intermediate points. In the end, you get officially homologated and have an option to request a medal if you complete the course within the time limit.

First Published: Aug 17, 2019 17:31 IST

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