First Mangalorean SOLO Cyclist to Qualify for ‘Race Across America’ (RAAM) – WeRC

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First Mangalorean SOLO Cyclist to Qualify for ‘Race Across America’ (RAAM) – WeRC

Mangaluru: “The Deccan Cliffhanger’, India’s most popular & toughest ultra cycle race, is an annual 646 Km (400 Mile) bicycle race from Pune to Goa, organised by Inspire India. Riders who complete the race distance of 646 km in the race cut-off time, qualify for the Race Across America (RAAM), the world’s toughest cycle race. By completing the Deccan Cliffhanger race, our rider Joseph Pereira became the first Mangalorean to complete the SOLO Race, and qualified for the Race Across America (RAAM) too, a feet unmatchable for his age, said the President of WE R Cycling Club Sarvesh Samaga in a press meet held at the Press Club Urwa here on November 25.

Addressing the mediapersons Sarvesh Samaga said, “The 8th edition of this Ultra Cycle race, saw racers from across the country taking part in this mega event. 47 racers under the SOLO category and more than 42 riders in 14 TEAM categories consisting of 2, 3 & 4 member teams were flagged off on November 21, 2021, by the race director Divya Tate in Pune. WE R Cycling Club, Mangalore which is at the forefront of cycling for health, fitness & joy, also encourages a culture of competitive cycling, with a goal to elevate talented local cyclists to the national & international cycling stage, and participate in races, brevets, tours, etc”.

Addressing the mediapersons Ashok Lobo who was the Crew chief of the race said, “This year, the most prolific rider and the man of steel Joseph Pereira represented Mangalore from WE R Cycling Club. Having seen many teams from WERC taking part in the previous additions of Deccan Cliffhanger races, and fresh from his recent Super Randonneure success, Joseph Pereira during one of his casual interactions with team members, showed his interest to take part in this year’s edition of Deccan Cliffhanger. Team WERC guided Joseph sir to speak to team WERC mentor and coach Gratian Govias, for feedback and consultation. Coach Gratian, who is a standout national level coach, having guided several champion cyclists to various podium finishes including WERC riders, agreed to help Joseph sir and consented to be part of the journey. Though the coach would have liked a 3 months preparation at least, it was a kind of 2-week crash course where Joseph sir was advised to simulate several rides of 100, 200, 300km at various times of the day and night and terrains. In the back end, the search for the crew members was on. Due to so many prior commitments, several members couldn’t join”.

Ashok further said, “Since it is very crucial to have a good crew for the event, as it can either make or break the racers ride, I myself, took up the lead and ensured that the best crew team from WERC is put together to accompany Joseph sir for the race. Shivananda and Nithin joined hands with me to support Joseph sir in his endeavours. While Joseph sir’s training was on, we were busy arranging the backup car, cycle, spares, hotel accommodation, travel plan, registration formalities, route planning, food & nutrition plan including capturing the event as it happens”.

5 days before the event, the training volume was reduced and Joseph sir’s food and sleep conditioning were taken care of. Coach Gration travelled all the way from Chennai to Mangalore to join the team and the group of racer, coach and crew left for Pune on the 17th afternoon. The registration formalities were completed at the venue on the 18th and Joseph sir was left to take one last good nap a day before the race day, while others rushed to complete all the last-minute documentation, arrangements, race formalities etc.

On the race day, 20th November 2021, Joseph sir, was one of the first riders to be flagged off and the race began at 5:22 am. This year, the 50+ age category saw 12 racers including a female racer, which by itself is a new event record.

Pedalling his way, Joseph sir crossed one milestone at a time, with all his composure and fearless techniques. While many were racing, Joseph sir was following Coach’s advice that the racing would start only at the 350+km mark!!

With the excellent support from crew, whether it is food, drink or any kind of support in terms of massage, rest time etc. and apt guidance from the coach on ride time and rest, Joseph was growing in confidence by every km and started leaving behind those racers who had crossed him earlier. By evening Brijesh, the ever-energetic member of team WERC joined the backup crew and took some pressure off by taking over the backup task and driving burden, giving the tired crew much-needed relief.

Joseph Pereira and his team completed this adventurous race in 33hrs 45 min, touching the finish line in Goa around 2:30 pm to huge applause from the organisers, race director, participants and their entire crew and team WERC. Many congratulations to Joseph sir and the Team WERC crew of Ashok, Shiva, Nithin and Brijesh lead from the front by coach Gratian. By completing the Deccan Cliffhanger race, our rider Joseph Pereira became the first Mangalorean to complete the SOLO Race, and qualified for the Race Across America (RAAM) too, a feet unmatchable for his age.

Members of WE R Cycling Club Shivanand, Joseph Pereira, Nitin and others were also present.


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