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Army doctor and cyclist Srinivas Gokulnath on mission Ultra Spice

An army doctor by profession and cyclist by choice, Lt Col Srinivas Gokulnath is aiming to finish the Ultra Spice race, a 1750km ultramarathon, which got underway from Goa on Saturday

other sports Updated: Jan 29, 2018 13:48 IST
Ultra Spice race,Srinivas Gokulnath,Race Across America
Srinivas Gokulnath pictured on his way from Goa to Ooty in the Ultra Spice race.(Photo: Facebook/Gaurav Yadav)

At a time when most of his Army comrades were busy guarding the border or gearing up for the Republic Day celebrations, Lt Col Dr Srinivas Gokulnath was gearing up for a different mission. While it may not be as challenging as his days in Siachen, it is definitely bound to test his endurance to the limit.

A doctor by profession and cyclist by choice, Gokulnath completed the Race Across America (RAAM) (ultracyling event) last year and has now decided to finish the Ultra Spice race, a 1750km ultramarathon, which got underway from Goa on Saturday.

The course starts from the Goa coast, goes through Honavar, Chikmagalur and Coorg in Karnataka to its midway mark in Ooty. The cyclists must return by the same route back to Goa.

The ultramarathon is into its second year. No cyclist was able to complete the event in its inaugural year. The race has to be completed within 120 hours. It is divided into three categories — 600km, 1000km and 1750km — the last one enabling the cyclist to qualify for RAAM. The 1750km is also the longest RAAM qualifier in India.

Gokulnath wasn’t part of the race last year but is confident he can complete it considering his background. Besides RAAM, Gokulnath holds the record for for completing a North-South expedition in India, the then Major and Squadron Leader Rohan Anand covering 3,921km from Leh to Kanyakumari in 15 days and 17 hours.

Posted in Pune, Gokulnath specialises in aerospace medicine and treats helicopter pilots in the Army. “Right from my school days, cycle was a means of commuting to reach my school or college. I started liking it as I grew up and began exploring places on my cycle. The passion for ultracycling, however, came around 2009,” Gokulnath said ahead of his new event. “We have a strong crew this year and we’re pretty confident we’ll be able to do it.”

The 36-year-old was focused on completing the event, but played down expectations. “Every race is different, comes with a different challenge. I want to kickstart the year on a good note and wanted to be part of this race,” he said.

First Published: Jan 29, 2018 13:10 IST