Great Himalayan ultra race pedals endurance cycling to new heights
This high-altitude mountain race, has most of the terrain above 3,000 metres. The lowest point of the race is 2,600 mts at Kargil, while Fotu La, at 4,100 mts, is the highest point.pune Updated: Aug 27, 2018 17:27 IST
The city-based Inspire India team, known for organising endurance cycle races like the Deccan Cliffhanger and the Ultra Spice race, have now come up with another extreme challenge - the Great Himalayan ultra race in Leh-Ladakh, from September 1.
This high-altitude mountain race, has most of the terrain above 3,000 metres. The lowest point of the race is 2,600 mts at Kargil, while Fotu La, at 4,100 mts, is the highest point.
“We are giving the world a chance to race on the roof of the world. At an elevation of 3,500 mts, the start itself is higher than the max elevation of any of the qualifying ultra cycling races in the world. It is a 600-km road race, comprising solo and relay team categories,” Divya Tate, race director, said.
The race route follows NH1 through the Himalayan mountain landscapes of Ladakh and Kargil, in Jammu and Kashmir. Starting from Leh the race route goes south, before turning around on the highway to Srinagar.
“The route was finalised in June and received approval from race across America (RAAM) president Fred Boethling, to be a RAAM qualifier,” said Divya.
In the first edition, India’s top four elite cyclists will attempt to meet the challenge in the solo category. The star attraction is Nagpur’s Amit Samarth, who recently became the first Asian to finish the Trans-Siberian extreme race.
Among the other riders is Kabir Rachure from Mumbai, who finished second in the Deccan Cliffhanger last year and was placed second in the Ultra Spice. He is already in Leh, acclimatising to the high altitude.
“I have raced Deccan Cliffhanger and Ultra Spice which has one of the most beautiful routes in the south of India, but this one seems to be at a different league altogether,” said Kabir.
Another participant is Everest summiteer Vishal Ahlawat from the armed forces, who has a national record of riding from Leh to Kanyakumari in 2007. He has also a record of 50 half marathons in 50 days in 2018. Mumbai’s Sumit Patil who has been ultracycling in India since 2011, qualifying for RAAM twice and having attempted it in 2014, will also be racing.
Race dates: September 1-3
Race Distance: 600 kilometres
To qualify for RAAM: 40 hours for 18-49 years men (42 for women)
42 hours for above 50 years men (44 for women)
Total Elevation Gain: 10,350 mts
First Published: Aug 27, 2018 17:04 IST