Ultra-Cycling Growing in India
India has embraced ultra-cycling in a big way. Randonneuring – organized non-competitive endurance cycling – came to India in January 2010. 60 riders signed up for a 200 km brevet in Mumbai. The first overnight brevet – a 400 km event – was organized in August 2010 and the first 400 km event in September 2010. Since then randonneuring has experienced exponential growth.
In 2010 Samim Rizvi (Nashik, Maharshtra, India) became the first Solo RAAM participant from India. He raced again in 2011 and 2012 – all 3 attempts were unsuccessful. But two of his support crew members – Kavitha Kanaparthi and Divya Tate – went on to organize RAAM Qualifiers in India.
There are 3 Indian RAAM Qualifiers on the 2016 RQ Calendar – Ultra BOB, the Desert 500 and Deccan Cliffhanger. Kanaparthi, who crewed for Rizvi in 2011 and 2012, organized and operates Ultra BOB. Tate, who crewed for Rizvi in 2012, is involved in the Desert 500 and organized and operates the Deccan Cliffhanger. Tate has participated in RAAM both as a support crew member and race official. Tate has played an instrumental role in the development of ultra-cycling in India. Tate organized the first 400 and 600 km brevets and currently oversees Audax India Randonneurs (AIR).
In 2015 the 2-person team – Team India-Vision for Tribals – comprised of Mahendra and Hitendra Mahajan, both Doctors – also from Nashik – recorded the first successful finish by participants from India. We have yet to see a successful finish by a Solo participant from India. Srinivas Gokulnath (also from Nashik) has registered to race Solo RAAM in 2016.