Nepal woman cyclist makes it three on the trot

October 8th, 2011 - 5:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Oct 8 (IANS) Nepal’s intrepid biker Nirjala Tamrakar Wright Saturday scored her third win on the roll in the women’s category of the Hercules MTB (mountain biking) Himachal-2011, event organisers said here.

Nepal made it two in two when Ajay Pandit Chhetri won the expedition — the country’s most gruelling cycling rally — for the second time.

“Nirjala and Chhetri won the mountain biking expedition in their respective categories,” Mohit Sood, president of the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), the event organising club, told IANS.

Nirjala finished the race 5 hours 10 minutes ahead of Monica, who finished second. There were five women bikers and only two managed to finish the race.

“This time my focus was only on retaining the title for the third time in a row and, thank God, I succeeded,” Nirjala, 32, who was riding a carbon fiber Scott bike, told IANS.

“Of course, inhospitable off-road tracks here were quite challenging. But practice on similar topography and under same climatic conditions (in Nepal) helped me a lot to retain the title,” said Nirjala, who has been pedalling professionally for 11 years.

Last month, Nirjala, who got married to a Briton in January this year, bagged the first prize in the 6th Forest of Dean Enduro race held in Gloucestershire, UK, Sep 25.

She was then riding her sponsored Qoroz Professional titanium bike. She stood first among 35 female competitors by completing the 20-mile (32-km) race in 2 hours 17 minutes.

Nirjala, who also participated in the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou in China, said she spends two to three hours a day cycling through terrain riddled with obstacles such as trees and boulders in and around Kathmandu.

The Hercules MTB rally, comprising 104 bikers, including 12 from France, Belgium, South Africa, US, Britain and Nepal, was flagged off from Shimla Oct 1. Only 44 riders finished the 504-km race that passed through Shimla and Kullu districts.

Chhetri, who recently won the Tran-Wales Challenge in Wales, said it was his luck and, of course, his bike that supported him a lot. He was also crowned overall champion.

He finished the race 25 minutes ahead of another Nepalese biker Nanyan Narang, who finished second. Vijay Kumar Singh was third.

In the masters’ category, Amitabh Pandey finished the race 3 hours 50 minutes ahead of Datta Patil, who finished second.

Covering the most rugged and inhospitable terrain, Hercules MTB Himachal has been billed as the third toughest mountain biking event in the world, next to the Trans-Alps Challenge (Europe) and Trans Rockies (Canada).

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