85 participants for mountain biking event

Shimla: Not deterred by the unusually heavy rain season that has preceded the event, the 4th Hercules Mountain Biking Himachal event gets underway on Saturday with as many as 85 cyclists including foreign participants lined up for the start.

The race is being conducted on off beat tracks and in nine days will cover a distance of 680 kilometers, said Mohit Sood, president of Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA).

Riders from US, UK Australia, Canada, Belgium, Poland and Czech Republic are participating, he said. Of the 85 people in the competition, 47 are Indian riders.

The highest point the riders touch is Jaloir Pass at 3300 meters altitude and the lowest point is Rampur at 900 meters. The race culminates at Manali on 6th October.

From India there are participants from Poona, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh and many other cities. Among the competitors there are 11 women cyclists, of whom 9 are foreigners and 2 Indian women.

The army adventure wing has put in 8 people; the air force 4, ITBP 5 and the coast guards has 2 people competing in the race.

The event will be judged in solo men, solo women, team events and masters event, which only has people over 45 years of age competing against each other. In all there is a prize money of Rs 6 lakh to be won at the event.

For rescue and relief the organizers have requisitions helicopters services as a stand by, government ambulances, teams of doctors is in place, rescue vehicles and emergency communication links have been established.

Along the route the cyclists would be housed in villages where local cuisines and cultural programs would be held to showcase heritage of Himalayan highlands, said Sood.

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