An Indian has completed one of the toughest cycle race in the world. Srinivas Gokulnath from Maharashtra became the first Indian to complete the 4,900-km Race Across America (RAAM) in solo category. Beginning from California, he completed the race in eleven days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.
Not only Gokunath but another Indian from Maharashtra, Dr Amit Samarth of Nagpur, crossed the finish line at Annapolis on American east coast. Gokunath stood seventh and Samarth was a position below him among the total nine cyclists who finished the race. Christoph Strasser was the winner of the race.
RAAM is not a stage based cycle race. It is a continous cycle race that allows less than two hours of rest per day and is supposed to be finished inside 12 days. The cyclists pedal around 400 kilometres per day. “I am relieved…that is the feeling I am going through right now,” Gokulnath said.
The RAAM race begins from climes in Pacific Coast and enters the Mojave Desert and laters goes through Arizona. The extreme race then leads the cyclists to Colorado and it’s cold mountains. Entering America again, it passes through central America where strong winds blow. The final stage is the Appalachian Mountains before riders finish at the Atlantic.
So far, only three Indians have ever competed in the RAAM but no one could ever finish it. Samim Rizvi was the first Indian to attempt. He took part in this year’s race as well but couldn’t finish it.
Samarth is the only Indian who finished the race in his first attempt as Gokulnath, who is an aerospace specialist with the Army in Nashik, had competed last year as well. He failed to finish the race after being timed-out. One other, Sumit Patil from Alibag has even attempted the race in the past.
(With PTI Inputs)