NAINITAL: Uttarakhand Himalayan MTB Challenge, Asia’s longest mountain biking event, covering a distance of 884 km over hilly terrain, kicked off on Saturday morning.
A total of 56 riders (50 men and 6 women) representing 16 countries such as Canada, Columbia, New Zealand, USA, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Sweden, Norway, Republic of Moldova, Greece, Portugal, Chile, Nepal, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka & India are participating in the 9-day long event which will conclude in Mussoorie on April 16, reports The Times of India.
Ilda Pereira, a resident of Portugal who is one of the six women participants, told TOI, “It is really exciting to participate in such an event. I will be putting in my best efforts to win this one.” The top three winners will get prize money amounting to Rs 10 lakh.
“This is going to be toughest and longest-ever mountain bike rally covering 10 districts of the state. I thank and congratulate the state government and other organisations for supporting us,” said R K Joshi, director, infrastructure, Uttarakhand Tourism, which is organising the event along with the Cycling Federation of India.
Irrespective of their age, participants were enthusiastic about the challenge posed by biking in the tough terrains of the hill state. 48-year-old Dilip Bharat Malik, who had travelled from Nagpur for the event, said, “I would trade anything for biking in the hills. I have been doing this since I was 12. I will try to finish the race among the top three.”