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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Ultra cycling race Deccan Cliffhanger to begin from Pune on November 4

Participants have to finish the 645-km long ultra race from Pune to Goa within a time span of 32 hours

pune Updated: Nov 01, 2017 21:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
The flag-off of the fourth edition of Deccan Cliffhanger from Pune in 2016.
The flag-off of the fourth edition of Deccan Cliffhanger from Pune in 2016.(HT PHOTO)

The fifth edition of one of India’s biggest bicycle races, the Deccan Cliffhanger (DC) between Pune and Goa, will be flagged off from Forest Trails, Paranjape Schemes, Bhugaon on November 4. 

A 645-km (400-mile) ultra cycling race from Pune to Goa which goes over the Sahyadris with a total elevation gain of 6,000m, is the only qualifier from India for Race Across America (RAAM), world’s most challenging endurance cycle race. The riders in the solo category are required to finish the race within 32 hours to qualify. The Race Across America (RAAM) is a 5,000-km ultra cycling race that goes across the North American continent from coast to coast. This year saw two Indians, Srinivas Gokulnath and Amit Samarth, successfully finish RAAM solo and both are Deccan Cliffhanger qualifiers. 

National champion Rutuja Satpute, Guinness record holder Michele Kakade and Ila Patil, the first Indian woman to qualify for RAAM will be the chief guests for the flag off. 

The route for DC covers the high mountains of Panchgani, the dry plains of the Satara-Kolhapur section heading into Karnataka and finally descends through the dense forests of Anshi Tiger reserve to finish at the beaches of Goa. 

The other category of the event is the Relay Team format, wherein teams comprising of two, three or four members take turns riding the route. This format is not a RAAM qualifier, but helps the rider get the feel of a RAAM style event. 

This year, 36 cyclists have registered for the solo category of the race while 126 have registered to race in 36 teams. Racers are arriving from all over India including Chennai, Mangalore, Chikmangalur, Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Mysore, New Delhi, Kolkata, Rourkela, Ahmedabad, Surat and Dwarka. 

Tandem cycling 

For the first time in India, four visually-impaired cyclists will participate in the race on tandem bicycles. The team of Adventures beyond Barriers (ABBF) includes four pilots and four visually-impaired participants who will fight against all odds to finish the race. ABBF is an organisation run by Divyanshu Ganatra, who is the first visually-impaired person in India to paraglide solo. The purpose of the organisation is to enable people with disabilities to participate in sports. The team includes two visually-impaired women riders, Nupur Pittie and Manasvi Baheti. 

“Overall, the participation of women riders in DC is increasing. This time, a total of nine women riders are taking part representing different teams. This is a positive sign and I would also love to see more women participants in the solo category next year,” said race director and ultra cyclist Divya Tate. 

There are four solo participants in the above-50 age group including Avinash Phadnis from Pune and last year’s winner Anand Patil. Nashik’s Ravinder Singal, who is also participating for the event, is an IPS officer while Nagpur’s Mohinder Singh Bharaj, who at 62, is the oldest solo participant. The youngest solo rider, Shubham Das, 19, is also from Nagpur and has participated in a three-person team last year. 

Paranjape Schemes, Cymour Cycling, Tanishq Holidays, Triumph Sportswear and Kingfisher are the sponsors of the race. 

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 21:21 IST