With the cycling community getting bigger in India, the number of people taking it to a competitive level is also increasing. The cycling population is raising the bars with respect to both training regimes and competitions. For competitive cyclists in India, there is no dearth of contests to boost their spirit.
Adding to that, India’s topography makes cycling lovers drool over the adventure it could bring. The Himalayas, the Indian Ocean, the plateaus, and whatnot! The variety of terrain – this country has to offer makes it even more exciting and boosts your adrenaline.
Quite known among enthusiasts, our country holds some really fierce bicycle competitions which test your endurance and skills to the maximum capacity. Most of them are qualifiers to the renowned RAAM (Race Across America) tournament of the USA.
Some of the most challenging ones are given below:
The Deccan Cliffhanger
Covering the Sahyadri range, competition is held between Pune and Goa. You’ll get to experience the beautiful Pune city to the soothing beaches of Goa. The route of The Deccan Cliffhanger takes you through the lane of historic cities of Pune, Mahabaleshwar, Satara, before finally terminating in Goa. The championship works as a qualifier for Race Across America.
The race extends over 400 miles and has both solo and relay categories. It is one of the signature races in the Indian cycling circuit, thereby attracting talents from diverse parts of the country.
The Great Himalayan Ultra
Leh valley has always been an attraction for long drives. Your experience enhances when the wind in the valley touches your face and you hear no sound but the whistle of air. This race is also the world’s highest ultra cycle race with a start point elevation of 11500 ft. Cyclists have to pedal through the beautiful valleys of Leh, Hemis, Kargil, Dras. You get to participate in three different ranges of 900 Km, 600 Km, and 444 Km.
This is the toughest in the country and sees participation by cyclists around the globe. Endurance and mental fortitude is pushed beyond limits in this race. As gruelling as it is for cyclists, it is a treat for the audience to watch.
The Ultra Spice Race
For years, Goa has been a popular cycling hub in India. And this race is popular as the finish is at the Bogmalo, Goa. From mountains to the beaches, this one takes you through the greeneries of tea, coffee, and spice plantations of Southern Indian cities of Chikmagalur, Coorg, and Ooty.
There are two distance ranges of 1200 Km and 1750 Km, and the race goes for 6 days. It is mostly held in the month of January. Competitive cycling alongside scenic beauty makes this race – a must for those who want to get involved with the sport.
The Dunes Time Trial
The Dunes Time Trial offers you to race in a fast-paced time trial, with time limits of 6, 12, 24 hours. The desert city of Jodhpur hosts this cycling competition with all its royal touch and experience.
This one is a RAAM qualifier as well for which men need to cover the distance of 644kms and women are required to complete 595km. The race is run in loops with the long one covering a distance of 55km and the short one of 15.5km. In order to finish, one should have completed a particular number of loops.
Tour De Chhattisgarh
The 350 Km stretch of the distance between Raipur and Chitrakote, hosts the Tour De Chhattisgarh. This race will let you experience the delightful eco-tour of Central India. The route goes from Kotumsar Caves, Tirathgarh Fall, to Chitrakote.
Recently, a hill version of Tour De Chhattisgarh has also been started. And excitement knows no limits as cycling on the hills is an unparalleled experience.
Cycling competitions are fairly new in India, but the rate at which they are growing is an indicator of their bright future. The pandemic which saw a significant portion of the population taking to cycling as a fitness hack, has also furthered the number of cyclists taking the sport professionally.
Currently, cycling as a full-time profession is a questionable choice. However, with more financial injection into cycling initiatives and competitions, cyclists have a brighter future which lets them focus on cycling and winning alone. Till then, joining these competitions in India is a great token of support to the cycling community.