Shimla: International rider Sonia Lopes, a Portuguese national, by confirming her participation for Hero MTB 2014 has raised the bar of the competition that will have many more international participants, both male and female, vying for the top positions.
Lopes, a mother and professional rider, has won international accolades as a peloton, excelling in 24 hour solo championships, where she was the only women cyclist to finish at the non-stop 500 Km Portugal Bike Race.
Speaking about the upcoming mountain biking event she said, “I’m really looking forward to racing in the Himalayas, the pictures I have seen are spectacular. I really hope to do well and hope to inspire a lot of people, especially women in India.”
“Sonia’s presence at the race will definitely inspire a lot of young women to follow and take up this great sport” said Akhil Puri, General Secretary HASTPA, the body that organises the MTB competition.
The 10th Hero MTB Himalaya, scheduled be held from 26th Sept. to 3rd Oct. 2014, would be flagged from Shimla and after traversing some of toughest off road biking routes is routed to be back concluding the race in the city, a week later.
The route covers a total of 500 Kms in six biking days, touching a maximum altitude of 3100 meters. Spread over 16 categories, the total prize money on offer is Rs 10 lakhs says Mohit Sood, founding president of HASTA.
“It’s a dream come true to see Himachal and India being recognized internationally due to this endeavour. Indian Himalayas are slowly becoming a top destination for Mountain Biking Across the world”, said Sood.
“Much of the (about 90%) will pass through off-road sections which include Jungle Tracks, Jeep Tracks, Single tracks, rocky and gravel sections on the route. That’s what most top riders are looking for – They want to experience true colors and flavour of Himalayas and we try our best to deliver”, said Ashish Sood, the race communication officer.
The Race stats are:
Start Date – 26th September; End Date – 3rd October
Start/End Place – Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Total Days – 8; Riding Days – 6
Distance – 500 KM
Elevation gain – Approx 2000-2500m each day
Maximum Elevation – Approx 3100m
Race Type – Cross Country, Enduro
Terrain Type – Off-road, Broken Tarmac, Gravel, Rocks, Mud, Sand, Lose Rock, Single track
Stay Type – Hotel and Tents
The tentative route preview is:
Day 1. 27th Sept – Shimla to Narkanda
Day 2. 28th Sept – Narkanda to Aani
Day 3. 29th Sept – Aani to Jibbi
Day 4. 30th Sept – Jibbi to Ghadagushaini
Day 5. 1st Oct – Gadhagushani to Chatri to Luhri
Day 6. 2nd Oct – Luhri to Narkanda to Ghadakuffar
Day 7. 3rd Oct – Ghadakuffar to Thaila to Mashobra to Shimla