Monthly Archives: November 2016

Mettle on pedals

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The Asia Mountain Bike (MTB) Series in Sabah, Malaysia has been on my mind since the start of the season. It took place over three rounds, but I missed the first two due to injuries. Still, after a thorough coaching camp with Scott and designing a training plan, I felt ready for the first few weeks before the event. Things got tougher when I had a crash two weeks before the event which left me pretty sore.

I reached Malaysia for the event after three long flights and visited the track for practice. This one was new and different as it was packed with man-made features and a couple of uphills with tight turns. It constantly kept your body guessing.

On race day, there was a possibility of the final run being cancelled over safety in case of rain, so we had to give it our best shot in the seeding run itself. Before my seeding run, I found a quiet spot for myself, visualised my run repeatedly and felt totally fired up for it. I was stoked to finish 14th!

They decided to hold the final run as the skies had cleared. But it did rain a little, and I added to the handicap with a mistake by clipping out on the uphills. I lost a few seconds which I’m not so stoked about, but it’s been a better result for me compared to all the elite level international races I’ve done.

I’m really inspired that I can hold my own with these guys who are racing on international circuits every year. I am now gearing up for the Asia MTB Series next year.

Read more on Red Bull.

Women on the waves

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It’s hard enough being a woman in a patriarchal society, harder still to be a woman in sport. Ever since India was introduced to surfing, women have had to brave tough conditions – more from society than nature – to get ahead.

Even though Suhasini Damian, 20, from Pondicherry had support from her immediate neighbourhood, she still faced problems. “Many people commented that I was dark and used to look more beautiful before. I got those comments very frequently.”

Sinchana Gowda too is forced to deal with similar situations. At 15, she’s at an age usually vulnerable to unnecessary criticism. “Many people ask why girls even participate in sports. There are still many who say we should not go surfing because we will get tanned,” she explained.

It’s the same story on east coast where she surfs and on the west coast where Suhasini goes out onto the waves. “I have had men and boys whistling and shouting nasty, vulgar comments while I walk to the beach with my board in my surf shorts and rash vest. Harassment and nasty comments from men on the beach are one of the biggest challenges female surfers in India face,” Suhasini explained.

Sinchana revealed how community support only comes after they have proved themselves with medals and success. With surfing now included in the Olympics, she hopes for more supporters and sponsors for surfers in India.

Suhasini too hopes for more support from parents and friends, and also that women will soon have the freedom to do what they want without being judged.

Read more on Red Bull.

Reading a downhill track

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One of the best things about riding a downhill track is that it’s very simple to understand; riders take it in turns to see who can get down a track from start to finish the fastest.

The order they appear in on race day is determined by the times from the previous day’s seeding (qualifying) session with the fastest rider setting off last.

During our downhill track walk, we see the lines that suit our riding ability and also find the fastest lines or cut in lines to save time on the track. Usually it takes a lot of on-hand experience to get your lines dialled and make necessary changes when needed.

Learn more about reading a downhill track on Red Bull

Tough Ride: Border Raid MTB Race 2016

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Border Raid MTB 2016 is the First Tsongmo Lake Mountain Bike Race.
September 27 was celebrated as World Tourism Day. It was also a day which saw one of the most grueling mountain bike cross country endurance events ever to take place in India.

The Border Raid MTB, organised by Hub Outdoor, had riders climbing from 6,200 feet in Gangtok to 12,400 feet above sea level at Tsomgo Lake in a mere 32kms. That is some steep incline.

Thirty-two riders participated in this epic sufferfest of mammoth proportions of which 30 completed the race within the stipulated time allotted. The race saw participants from all over Sikkim, Darjeeling, Mumbai, Kolkata, Shillong, Karnataka as well as Bhutan.

The incline was not only the only thing the riders were up against. The sheer altitude of the lake was enough to make you feel out of breath because the lack of oxygen much quicker.

The event was organised by Hub Outdoor, which has been pioneering in being a one-stop solution for mountain biking since 2004 and was largely supported by Sikkim Tourism, Sikkim Police as well as the Indian Army, since the lake is located very close to the Tibet Border.

On the Podium:

  • 1st – Tashi Dorji Tangbi (Bhutan) 2:44:26
  • 2nd – Ashim Sharma (Gangtok, Sikkim) 2:47:40
  • 3rd – Banshanlang Khylaitt (Shillong) 2:51:48
  • 4th – Tenzing Chombay Sherpa (Darjeeling) 2:53:53
  • 5th – Nim Gyaltshen (Bhutan) 3:04:06