EPIC 17000 Mountain Biking Race to go bigger this year

Mangan, 24 May (IPR):

The North District Administration in collaboration with Mountain Goats Adventure Company and Hub Outdoors is organizing EPIC 17000 Mountain Biking Race, the highest Mountain Biking race in the world. The associate partners for the race are Lachen Dzumsa, Lachung Dzumsa, MNP, TAAS, Indian Army and ITBPF. The theme for this year's race is 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' and 'Secure Himalayas'.

Last year the race could make a mark in the Red Bull events. This year the aim is to take the race globally and make a mark in the mountain biking calendar of the world. Adventure tourism has been widely promoted by the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for empowering the youth and entrepreneurship development. The EPIC 17K event strives to achieve the vision of the State Government for sustainable development of tourism in the Sikkim.

Today a preparatory meeting was conducted by the District Collector, Karma R Bonpo and was attended by Senior SP, North, KD Shangderpa, ADC North, SDM Mangan, Representatives of Mountain Goats Adventure Company and Hub Outdoors.

The EPIC 17K Mountain Terrain Biking Race is a unique race being held in North Sikkim, where riders will get to experience riding at an elevation of upto 17800 ft. It is a race that will test not only the endurance of the riders but also the ride presents the most panoramic views of Sikkim. The EPIC 17K is organized as a four-stage race and covers a distance of almost 330 kilometers.

The first day of the ride starts from Mangan and the riders will ride upto Lachung town. The next day the ride will be from Lachung and go right upto Yumesamdong and back to Lachung. On the third day, the riders will ride from Lachung to Thangu on the Lachen axis. The final day of the race will be from Thangu to Gurudongmar Lake which will be the final destination of the race. The stages of the race are staggered in such a manner where the obstacles presented to the riders will increase as the stage progresses.

Speaking during the meeting, the District Collector, North, stated that the EPIC 17K Mountain Terrain Biking Race was started in 2017 and the current race is the second edition of the race. While the first race was limited to just the local riders of the state, the current version will see participants from neighboring states of India and countries such as Bhutan and Nepal.

The District Collector also stated that the program has potential to be a game changer for development of tourism in the district and move the entire industry towards high value tourism in the state. The race will act as a platform to showcase the abundant bio diversity, unique geology and scenic beauty of the district. It will also attract the youth of the state into the industry thereby promoting entrepreneurship among them.

The District Collector also enlisted the support of stakeholders such as Dzumsas, Indian Army, ITBPF, Mangan Nagar Panchayat, TAAS to make the program a success. He stated that the Indian Army will be providing medical support and other logistical support to the race. The youth of Lachen and Lachung will provide logistics and other support to the event. The rescue team, in case of any emergency, will be led by Kazi Sherpa, an eminent Everester from Sikkim. Ambulances and two medical units would follow the riders both from the front and back and ensure safety of the riders.

The total prize money of the race is Rs 2,50,000 and is being jointly sponsored by the District Administration and Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Hishey Lachungpa. The Minister Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management, TW Lepcha and MP Rajya Sabha, Mr Lachungpa are the chief patrons of the event. Both the patrons have actively supported the event and have stated that the race will provide a much needed platform to showcase the beauty of Sikkim to the entire world. A special prize for women riders will also be presented with the message “Empowering Women”.

Mountain Goats Adventure Company and Hub Outdoors are the joint organizers of the race. Mountain Goats is an adventure company promoted by local entrepreneur Panjo Saring of Mangan. The company has wide experience in adventure tourism in Sikkim and is working dedicatedly in promoting mounting biking in the state. Hub Outdoors is a local firm based out of Gangtok with wide experience in Mountain Biking and it also has a store in Gangtok. These two firms will be providing technical support to the event and will tie up with the sponsors of the event. The event will be widely covered by the Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Sikkim, Photography Club of Sikkim and film producers from Darjeeling .