(Written by Sneha Kudva)
It is going to be a race within oneself and the aim is to give our personal best, says Gagan Grover, who is a software engineer and long-distance cyclist, all set to take part in the 19th edition of Paris Brest Paris (PBP) Randonneur, a long-distance cycling event.
Out of the 290 Indians from the Audax India Randonneurs Foundation, 18 cyclists from the Pune Randonneurs will be taking part in this event.
With a total distance of 1,230 km, this 90-hour virtual non-stop cycling event will commence on August 18, following the route of Paris to Brest and will finish in Paris on the morning of August 22. Every individual that completes the race within the 90-hour cut-off is awarded a medal.
“The rains in France are extremely cold with temperatures dropping below 10 degrees Celsius. We have to keep riding day and night, so that we don’t miss any control cut-off time,” Grover adds.
The journey is a rolling ride of over 11,000 m of elevation gain. The registration, which took place in two phases, involved a pre-registration to reserve the seat and start time slot, which requires at least one ride from 200, 300, 400, 600 and 1,000 km in the last calendar year (November 2017 to October 2018). The second phase of registration requires full Super Randonneurs series (200, 300, 400, 600 and 1,000 km) to be completed before July 3 in the race year (from November 2018 to July 2019). “No one here is a professional full-time cyclist. We all sacrifice our time to practice and qualify for this race,” Grover says.
From software engineers, businesspersons, to doctors, the group uses recreational cycling as a way of reducing stress in everyday life.
Other participants include Kokje Kirit Jagdish, Kanawade Amol Bajirao, Joshi Akkshay Parshuram, Kulkarni Ajit Anil, Nagamalleswara Rao Settineni, Sanjeev Bhattacharjee, Dr Chandrakant Ramdas Harpale, Dashrath Dinkar Jadhav, Dr Prakash Ramnath Dube Patil, Manohar Sahebrao Tanpure, Devidas Nageshwar Hole, Shishir Dutt, Dhanraj Nagnathrao Helambe, Dinesh Tanaji Marathe, Ajay Dilip More, Mane Ajit Hanmantrao, and Hanoz Maneckshaw.
The expenses for participation go up to a minimum of Rs 2 lakh per head, including cycle servicing, flight, accommodation, food, and other miscellaneous expenses.