For the past six months,cycling and physical fitness had almost become a religion for city-based software engineer Hiren Patel. Everyday,he travelled from his house in Wakad to Hinjewadi,covering 20 km on his bicycle. After work,he jogged six km,and on weekends,he cycled 200 km,visiting the outskirts of the city. And,once a month,he visited Kolhapur on his bicycle,covering around 500 km. All the hard work put in by Patel has finally paid off. He recently completed the 1,400-km Audax ride,a long-distance cycling event with a pre-defined time limit and the route was London to Edinburgh and back. Around 1,000 participants from 35 countries participated in the event. Interestingly,there were nine participants from India,all of them from Pune. Of all the Indian participants,only Patel could cover the distance within the stipulated time. While the specified time limit was 114 hours,Patel completed it in 103 hours. The event began on July 28 and concluded on August 2.
In 2011,I participated in the Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur,another long-distance cycling event held in France. However,I couldnt complete it in the specified time-limit. Though the London-Edinburgh-London target was there on my mind for the past three years,around six months back I started preparing for it earnestly, said the 26-year-old techie,who works as a software engineer at Infosys. Patel is also a member of Pune Randonneurs Club,the oldest randonneuring club in India.
Till about three months back,Patel rode a non-gear bicycle,as he couldnt afford an imported one,which most cyclists use for long-distance cycling. While the non-gear bicycle costed me Rs 3,500,I bought the imported one three months back for Rs 50,000. For this too,I had to borrow some amount from my friends, he said.
In 2014,Patel aims to participate in the Half Ironman Championship,which is organised by various countries and comprises cycling-swimming-running. I havent decided the country from where I will participate,but I will start preparing for it soon, said Patel,adding that the event includes 1.8-km swimming,90-km cycling and 21-km running to be completed in seven hours.