Two young guns from Himanchal Pradesh are all set to convert their dream into reality. They will be representing India for the first time in the oldest MTB stage race of the world and one of the biggest in Europe – The Bike Transalp.
The race is not only a physical challenge but also a mental challenge for more than 1200 riders from across the world participating. It is one of the toughest 650 km that these guys have to go through. This is surely not the preferable choice to pursue a career and that too in India is quite a big deal. There can be many challenges in front of you in form of finance, lack of quality mentorship, social support etc., and in in case of Technical terms it can be equipment, gear etc. These kind of career in India surely need extraordinary determination, exceptional will power and an earnest desire to do something for the country.
The journey was not so simple, these two guys Devender and Shiven have fought their own battle to reach up to this place. In words of Ashish Sood, Team HASTPA and Manager Hero Action Team, “It was in 2013 during MTB Shimla, a boy was at our Shimla office and this typical boy with baggy cargo pants, a hat and big hiking boots walks in and says I want to ride. I asked him a few questions and then he said that he doesn’t have money or a bike. I don’t know what it was, but for some reason I took him in. On the race day – This boy arrived without a helmet, wearing the same cargo pants, shoes and the hat! I gave him my own bike. This boy certainly did not have the best of starts to his riding career! He went off in a completely different direction and then called me half an hour later asking where the rest of the riders were?
I told him he has half an hour to reach the start point of the race before the competitive section of the race flags off. I still do not know how he rode that 15 km in 30 odd minutes.
The race commenced, and this boy in baggy pants was riding like a madman- He would crash every few meters, gather himself up and start peddling again. He finished 2nd in the students category, just after another young star! The boy in the baggy pants was Devender and he had finished 2nd behind Shiven.”
However, it was just the realization of a dream for the young Devender, after this race he never looked back, next year at Hero MTB Shimla he took the challenge to the defending champion and knocked him over.
The other guy, Shiven has got the exposure much before Devender as he had won the MTB Shimla student category on two occasions and had won the MTB Nationals in the U-19 Category. Btw he was only 17 then, Shiven has since developed into one of the most promising riders on the Indian scene. He will be the youngest Indian to participate in Transalp at just 18.
Along with these two there is one more team that will be representing India in the race and that is of Ashish Sood and Hinrich Fuchs and the race is one of the toughest one with riders participating from 3 countries to ride through a distance of 17000m across the climbing European Alps.