India's first mountain biking race will be held in the beautiful backcountry of Himachal Pradesh from October 6 to 14. Over 60 top international and Indian riders will compete against each other and nature for the Hercules MTB Himachal champion title and total prize money of Rs. 1.75 lakh.
The Hercules MTB Himachal is a mountain cycling adventure and an endurance race. Starting from Shimla, on October 6th, over 60 amateur and pro riders will grind their way back and forth over the beautiful landscape while bouncing, grunting and pedaling through 480 kilometers of wilderness trails. It will be a test of physical endurance and mental determination for mountain cycling enthusiasts from India and abroad. The event passes through the venue of the celebrations of the famous Kullu Dusshera and the prize distribution will be held on October 14 in Manali at the Mountaineering Institute auditorium.
Hercules MTB Himachal has been conceptualized and organized by Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), an organization working towards sustainable tourism development in the state of Himachal Pradesh. HASTPA is organising the race under the aegis of the International Mountain Bicycling Association and the event is supported by the Department of Tourism, Government of Himachal Pradesh.
Hercules, the leading manufacturer of Mountain Terrain Bikes in the country, is sponsoring the event. The event is marketed and promoted worldwide by IMG/TWI, the world's premier sports and lifestyle management and marketing company. In India, the event will be telecast on Ten Sports.
Mr. G. Ramprasad, President, TI Cycles of India, manufacturers of Hercules cycles said: "We are proud to be associated with Hercules MTB Himachal 2005. HASTPA and Himachal Tourism have pulled off what is truly a remarkable feat in organizing such a magnificent event. Internationally, biking is a sport with great following and is also one of the leading recreational activities. This event will surely boost cycle tourism in the country. And I am sure this event will set new trends in cycling and spark off many more such challenging and exciting events for biking."
The race is being organized as a wilderness mountain bike race, where participants sleep in tent villages that are set up prior to their arrival and broken down immediately after the start each morning. During these eight days, enthusiasts will endure the climate and physical challenges of the Himachal Himalayas. All stages of the race begin at 8:00 am IST and riders are expected to reach the finish line by 6:00 pm daily. Stages include breakfast, a pre-designated lunch area, beverages along the route, dinner and an awards ceremony each night where the winners are awarded Leader Jerseys.
Races will be held in the following categories -- Men, Women, Masters, and Teams. After the final stage, times will be calculated to determine the overall champion.
The eight-day event will cover a 480-km route. The starting point would be the Historic Peterhoff grounds in Shimla and the end point on the first day would be at the Sports Authority of India training centre in Shilaroo. The route then follows the famous apple orchards of Kotgarh -- across the mighty Sutlej at Dutt Nagar and camp alongside the river at Bayal. The third to the eighth day takes you to the picturesque villages in the interior parts of Shimla, Mandi and Kullu districts (the essential Himalayan back country) of Himachal Pradesh. The event will ride trails, single tracks, dirt roads, and rivulets of the hill state spanning these three districts.