The annual Hero-MTB Himalaya challenge is all set to begin in a week’s time as the nine-day cycling festival will begin in Shimla. The festival which stretches until October 6, will see two top ten finishers of the world renowned UCI MTB World Marathon Championships jostling with the local lads. The endurance cycle race turns 14 and this year the provision has been made to accommodate and cater to 80 participants.
The endurance cycling event in the hills will see professionals and amateurs lining up at the start point. Also, for the first time ever, the two top ten finishers at the 2018 UCI MTB World Marathon Championships – Andi Seewald and Ole Hem will take part in the event. Seewald was the 2016 winner in both the men’s solo and overall events at the King of Himalaya event, while Hem won the Norwegian Championship XCM in June 2018. Australia’s Jason English, a legendary 7-time world champion in 24 hour mountain bike racing will also participate in the endurance event. Harry Molloy, English X3 champion and second place finisher at the European Cup held in Italy and Patrick Robinson, the UK’s 2018 Street Velodrome National Champion will also take part in the event. Both of them are brand ambassadors for Insync Bikes and they will be astride Riddick’ MTBs. Hero Cycles sell their bikes in the UK and Europe via Insync Bikes, their sub-brand.
Cyclists will encounter dirt trails, technical descents, banked roads and steep inclines during the course of the race. There will be eight stages covering nearly 600km. Participants need to be mentally strong and physically fit to take part in such an event. It’s not about speed as mountain races, especially endurance sports like cycling, are considered extremely challenging as it tests the skill, balance, focus, determination and stamina of the cyclist. The nine-day race will culminate in the serene Dharamshala.
“We are proud to be hosting the 14th edition of this popular tourney. This event will promote and encourage bicycling as a sporting challenge while showcasing modern technical enhancements that have increased handling and riding experiences. At the same time it will provide employment and boost tourism for local economies. This confluence of cycling enthusiasts, professionals, businessmen and onlookers helps bring attention to the excitement which a cycling lifestyle generates. As a business entity, we are striving to reach 7.5 per cent of global production numbers from the current 5 per cent and to this end; the continued debate on mobility and sport is a definite contributor.”
According to a study conducted by Hero Cycles, more than 4.1 million premium bicycles were sold in India during the fiscal year 2017-18, which shows the growth of cycle segment in the country. The event will give a shot in the arm for local tourism in Himachal Pradesh. The event usually generates much attention in the cycling community and this one is set to the grandest one yet.