Highest 4-day stage race in Country, EPIC 17K concludes

Mangan, 30 Jun (IPR):

The EPIC 17K Mountain Terrain Biking race, the highest four day stage race in the Country came to a finish at Gurudongmar at an altitude of 17800ft in North Sikkim. The event was organized by the North District Administration with its technical partners Hub Outdoors and Mountain Goats.

The event revolved around the theme “Beti Bacho Beti Padhao” and “Secure Himalaya”.

The race was very challenging but it was a race of lifetime for both elites and amateurs, as they passed through one of the most panoramic views of the world and experienced the beauty of North Sikkim having covered a total distance of 330km in four days. Over 80 cyclists participated in the event which included amateurs, elites with varied professional background like bureaucrats, doctors, cadets from SSBs.

Issac Rai from SSB who covered a stretch in 13 hours, 32 minutes and 5 second won the coveted prize in the Men’s Elite category and took away a cash prize of Rs 70,000. Tandin Wangchuk from Bhutan stood second in the Men’s Elite category completing the stretch in 14 hours, 48 minutes and 32 seconds while Shiven from Chandigarh stood third with a timing of 14 hours, 55 minutes and 4 seconds

Issac Rai was also adjudged the winner in the “King of the Mountain” race which was the toughest stage and won a cash prize of Rs 20000. He covered the stretch from Lachung to Thangu spanning a distance of 83 km in four hours 47 minutes.

The final stage of the race took place on 29 June from Thangu at an elevation of 13,300 ft with Gurudongmar as the final destination at an elevation of 17,800 ft. This stage saw a tie between Asim Sharma from Sikkim and Issac Rai of the SSB and both completed the race in 2 hours, 29 minutes and 2 seconds.

In the Men’s Master competition which is for riders above the age of 40, the winner was 62-year-old Tashi Dorjee Tangbi from Bhutan who finished the course in 17 hours 3 minutes and 28 seconds. Tenzing Chombay Sherpa from Darjeeling stood second in the category with 18 hours 5 minutes and 12 seconds and Brinda Mohan Subba stood third with a timing of 18 hours 43 minutes and 56 seconds. The cash prize of Rs 30,000, Rs 20,000, Rs 10,000 was awarded to the first three riders in Men’s Master competition. A special consolation prize was awarded to all female riders who participated in the event.

Forest Minister, TW Lepcha who was the main sponsor of the event also took part in the race. In the closing ceremony held at Lachen Dzumsa Hall, he said that the race will promote entrepreneurship among the youth and develop tourism in the state. He stated that the youth should capitalize on the event and he also invited feedback from the riders for further improvement in the event in the coming years. He also gifted a mountain bike to Ching Chang Rai who stood 8th in the race and is a taxi driver by profession.

The closing ceremony of the event was organized at Lachen Dzumsa hall where a grand feast was organized by Lachen Dzumsa and a traditional cultural program was showcased. The Deputy Speaker SLA, Sonam Gyatso Lepcha, Forest Minister Mr Lepcha and other esteemed guests attended the closing ceremony. The medals of the race were distributed to all the winners and participants. Mementos were also distributed to the volunteers and sponsors of the event.

The District Administration has decided to make the competition an annual feature to be held in the district. The first edition of the race was held on 28 and 29 May in 2017. The event has generated significant attention in the Mountain Biking community and many organizations have expressed their willingness to be associated with the event in the near future.

The EPIC 17K event was supported by 11 Battalion ITBP commanded by Rajesh Tomar,112 Mountain Brigade of the Indian Army, Lachen Dzumsa, Lachung Dzumsa, and Kazi Sherpa an eminent Everester from Sikkim, District Hospital, District police force and Sikkim Nationalized Transport.