Maharashtra’s Rachure comes 2nd, two more finish world’s ‘toughest cycle race’

PTI, Jun 26, 2023, 8:39 PM IST

Image credit: Team Kabir Rachure

Ultra-cyclist from Maharashtra Kabir Rachure has come second in his category in the Race Across America (RAAM), billed as the world’s toughest bicycle race.

Two other Indians — Dr Amit Samarth and Dr Srinivas Gokulnath — have also finished the gruelling race, which sees cyclists traverse over 4,000 km from the West to the East coast of the USA in under 12 days.

All the three have been RAAM finishers from earlier editions of the competition, and this will be the best year ever for Indians at the endurance race with three finishes.

Rachure, an advocate hailing from central Maharashtra region of Marathwada who resides in Navi Mumbai now, came second in the solo male under-50 years category, finishing the competition in 10 days, 19 hours and 21 minutes, as per the official leaderboard.

“We had a target to reduce last year’s time and be fresher at the finish line,” Rachure, who had completed the race in more than 11 days to secure the third spot in his category last year, said after crossing the finish line at Annapolis in Maryland.

Rachure said he faced some troubles early on due to faulty placement of the saddle, and thanked physios in his team who ensured that he keeps going.

The clock is ticking continuously at the race and participants are required to pedal from the West Coast of the USA to the East Coast in under 12 days, managing their sleep, eating and all other errands within the given time, which makes it a tough endurance race that tests the mettle.

Racers are accompanied by a support crew in vehicles which takes care of all the requirements on the go and trails the cyclists post-sunset for safety reasons. Indians started participating in the race about a decade ago.

Swiss cyclist Isa Pulver, racing in the solo female category between ages 50-59, emerged the fastest individual in the contest by finishing the course in 9 days, 12 hours and 16 minutes.

Rachure’s category was won by Poland’s Marek Rupinski, who cycled the distance in 10 days, five hours and 27 minutes.

Samarth battled mountain sickness in the heights of Colorado, a western US state, which forced him to be hospitalized midway and restarted to complete the race within the allotted time.

The doctor from Nagpur said he lost 19 hours due to the hospitalization, and maintained it was a 31-hour non-stop riding right after the discharge which took care of all the doubts in his mind about racing.

At the end of the race, which he finished in 11 days and 4 hours, Samarth managed to raise over USD 70,000 for the Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO which is into providing nutrition for the underprivileged.

Srinivas Gokulnath, also a doctor who has been associated with the armed forces, finished the race in 11 days and six hours.

“RAAM is an amazing life teaching experience…we all know that time is crucial. We don’t pay that much attention to every second, but RAAM race makes you think for every second, it teaches you to value time,” he said at the finish line.

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