What next? That is what I was thinking after a national record for cycling Leh to kanyakumari in Sep 2014 in 15 days. It all started in Oct 2014, when I was in Pune doing my MOJCC 179 and I had decided to participate in “The Deccan Cliffhanger” 2nd edition, one of the qualification race for Race Across America. I finished third and qualified for Race across America and this qualification is valid for 2015 and 2016. I went back to my unit in valley and did share my dream to participate in RAAM. I was sent to the Directorates Office in the early Feb 2015, he was happy to know about the achievements and was eager to help me in my RAAM dream. As always said “Circumstances are stronger than men”, I was moved out from valley in July 2015 and reported to the busiest place, the Arty centre, Nasik. I managed to utilize my time right from day one at the centre with one intention to be the first Indian to finish RAAM successfully.
It was very demanding to manage many commitments at the centre but my focus on my objective was very clear. I was almost riding 300 km a week in Dec and then 500 km a week till March and then around 600 km a week in April and taper in May
I trained almost 10,000 km for the race and was mentally preparing to meet the race challenges.
The race needs a dedicated support crew and the crew needs to be equally motivated and experienced. The crew composed of my wife Prafulla and four cyclist friends from India and an ambulance assistant Sep Dhanasekaran who was the physiotherapist on board. Getting them all together was a tough task in its own.
Financial ordeal: The race is very expensive, and it is way too expensive for a foreigner like me. Luckily my crew members, my savings, my friends and a bit of crowd funding helped me sail through the storm. But it is not as easy as said than done. The major expenditures are registration for the race, hotels, support vehicles and Air tickets.
The challenges till the time race started were many and belief in oneself was the biggest strength