Sikkim has some of the most spectacular terrain primed for mountain biking. The rocky slopes make for fun downhill runs, and the steep climbs burn the muscles. Well, if you think mountain biking was tough, it is about to hit an all-time high difficulty–thanks to India’s highest mountain biking race, to be held in Sikkim, from 26th June 2018.
The North East Today reports that this race will be organised by the Sikkim North District Administration, in collaboration with Mountain Goats Adventure Company and Hub Outdoors, the EPIC 17000 Mountain Biking Race is touted to be the “highest race in the world’.
This means that nowhere have riders faced conditions akin to what they will face here.
“Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” and “Secure Himalayas”, are the themes for the second edition of the race, which made a mark in the prestigious Red Bull events, in its first year. The aim of this edition is to take the race globally, and put it on the mountain biking race calendar worldwide.
In the first edition, the race had just local riders, but this time, riders from all over India, as well as Nepal and Bhutan, will attend. The EPIC 17K, as it is called, is in line with the State Government’s vision for sustainable development of tourism in Sikkim, a state that has been promoting adventure tourism, to empower the youth and kindle entrepreneurship development.
The 4-stage race covers a 330-kilometre distance. The first day, riders will start from Mangan, riding till Lachung town. On the second day, the route starts at Lachung, and carries on to Yumesamdong, and back to Lachung. The third day, riders will ride from Lachung to Thangu, along with the Lachen axis. The final day, the riders will ride from Thangu to Gurudongmar Lake–the race’s final destination. Obstacles present in the race will increase as the stages progress.
Authorities presiding over the race had a meeting on Thursday, 24th May conducted by the District Collector Karma R Bonpo.
The Collector told the publication that he was optimistic about the event being a game-changer for tourism development in the area. The race will be an apt platform to showcase the biodiversity, and natural beauty of Sikkim. The event will also attract the youth into the industry, stirring entrepreneurship within them.
The Indian Army will contribute medical and logistical support on race days, and the rescue team will be led by an eminent Everester, Kazi Sherpa.
Safety will be a priority as ambulances, and two medical units will follow riders from the front and the back, as they battle for the Rs 2,50,000 prize, sponsored by the District Administration, and Rajya Sabha MP Hissey Lachungpa.
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Mountain biking at high altitudes is difficult because of the uneven terrain and the rarefied air that makes it tough to breathe. Hopefully, riders will have a blast, and be safe during this 4-day adrenaline-pumping event!