Congratulations to Bharat Pannu who set the Solo, Male, Standard record from Leh to Manali, India n Oct 10-11, 2020
Bharat covered the 293.1 miles in 1 day, 11 hours, 32 minutes for an average speed of 8.25 mph
LEH TO MANALI FASTEST SOLO CYCLING (MALE)
(10TH OCT TO 11TH OCT 2020) BY BHARAT PANNU
- I have successfully completed the LEH-MANALI Fastest Solo Cycling (MALE) (10TH OCT TO 11TH OCT 2020) in 01 Days 11 Hours 32 Minutes 22 Seconds. The distance travelled by me on cycle from Leh Gate, Leh (where Manali-Leh Highway meets the Kardil-Skargu Road) to Manali (at the bridge over the Beas river) was 471.68 km (293.1 miles) along with a cumulative elevation gain of 6,107 m (20,036 feet). I started from Leh Gate, Leh at 1038h on 10th October 2020 and reached Manali at 2210h on 11th October 2020.
- I, Bharat Pannu, an Indian national of 37 years had attempted the above mentioned record. Leh to Manali Expedition was a challenge which I had been looking forward to attempt. I had to undergo a strict training regime, immaculate planning before the event and relentless efforts by my support crew members. It tested my determination and all the endurance cycling experience. It was a wonderful event and the complete team had a wonderful time covering the beautiful high and dry mountains across the Union territory of Ladakh and the tourism heaven of Himachal Pradesh. The route was full of ups and downs and rolling terrain in the mountainous ranges of Himalayas’ comprising of 05 high altitude passes of Tanglang La Pass, Nakee La Pass, Lachung La, Barlacha La and famous Rohtang La Pass along with the flat landscape of Morey Plains
- Run-up Towards the Event. I had not faced any medical or physical issues during the event; and I owe this to my coach Tracy Mckay and my physiotherapist Dr Aarti Nagrani who had relentlessly worked upon me after my collar bone fracture in May 2019 which happened during a training ride just before my solo attempt at RAAM. Getting back in shape within 05 months of the collar bone fracture, I successfully attempted Kashmir to Kanyakumari Expedition in Oct-Nov 2019 for WUCA Record, and successful completion of this event boosted the morale of the complete team for RAAM 2020. Due to CORONA-19 pandemic, RAAM 2020 was cancelled and Virtual RAAM was organized in Jun 2020 where I secured overall 3rd place and 1st in age category.
- Preparations Towards the Event. Our team arrived in Leh on 25 Sep 2020 to acclimatize in high altitude before attempting such a gruesome event. The conditions were tough in that terrain with temperatures dipping below -5 degrees Celsius but the team was in high spirits to attempt the Leh-Manali expedition. I was following a strict routine as part of preparations for the event which was being repeated every day and nothing was left to speculations. Our team had 05 support crew members which included Katha Sonaniskar (Crew Chief), Aarti Nagrani (Medico & Physiotherapist), Abdul Ahad Shaikh (Bike Expert), Ajay Bakshi (Navigator) and Vishal Nagrani (Rider Care & Nutrition). Apart from their routine duties, everyone was multi-tasking to leave no stone unturned in making this an event a success story. Jyoti Tripathi, Arham Shaikh and Sushant Jadhav were the 03 officials for the event. The team will be remembered for the relentless and cheerful effort in making this journey possible with no unpleasant incident. The credo of our TEAM was -“Full Power – 24 Hour”.
- Bike. I had used SCOTT ADDICT 10 for this expedition and it proved it`s prowess in helping me cruise through the 472 km long journey. The terrain was mostly comprising of steep climbs and sharp descends throughout the route and the mean machine suited best for it. I faced no mechanical breakdown during the event. I found the endurance geometry with the positive angled stem best suited for my long pulls, as this combination provided me utmost comfort along with good cruising speed. I used a single saddle for the complete event and I was glad that I didn`t face any issues of chaffing/saddle sores. The credit of this goes to the Physiosaddle which has been designed by Edge Cycling Technologies. The PhysioSaddle combines cycling with biomechanics and anatomical knowledge to improve comfort and decrease pain for bicyclists. The product features four specifically placed concavities, reducing the pressure points created by conventional bike seats.
- The Journey – Leh to Manali Expedition
- a) Day 1 – (10th Oct 2020) Leh Gate, Leh to Barlacha La. We started our expedition at 1038 h from Leh Gate, Leh (junction where Manali-Leh Highway meets the Kardil-Skardu Road). The weather pleasant in day time but nights were very cold with temperature ranging from minus 3 degree C to minus 12 degree C. The wind chill factor was aggravating the riding conditions both during day and night. We covered 294 km in the initial 24 hours while we took eight breaks of short durations comprising of 10 to 30 minutes for frequent change of clothing due the cold weather, wet conditions, physiotherapy, massage, power nap etc. The road condition was good for the initial 130 km but later it turned to bad for the next 150 km due to the broken patches in the mountainous region and also due to the frequent landslides. In the first night, we crossed Tanglang La Pass (5328 m / 17,480 feet), Lachung La (5065 m / 16,616 feet) and Nakee La (4,739 m / 15,547 feet). Early morning we crossed the Barlacha La Pass (5030 m / 16,500 m). We crossed all the passes in spine-chilling cold where cycling was very difficult and dangerous especially in the Gata Loops after Nakeela Pass. The scenic view of Morey Plains was praise worthy and there were countless view-points enroute which are major attractions of tourists but we couldn’t halt anywhere as we were on a non-stop journey.
- b) Day 2 – (11th Oct 2020) Barlacha La to Manali (Himachal Pradesh). The ride was swift, smooth and more enjoyable on the second day as the weather was much better due to lesser altitude and we covered the balance mileage of 178 km in about 11 hrs with two small breaks of total 22 minutes for dress change and physiotherapy session. The headwinds were a bit of trouble and slowed us down. As the newly constructed Atal tunnel was still not in use, perforce we had to take the longer route via Rohtang La Pass (3,980 m / 13,060 feet) adding extra 40 km to our route. The expedition culminated at the bridge over the Beas river in Manali and the total distance of 68 km (293.1 miles) was covered along with a cumulative elevation gain of 6,107 m (20,036 feet). The expedition was successfully completed in the record time of 35 hours 32 minutes 22 seconds.
- Off-Saddle Time. My total off-saddle time was 03 hours 48 minutes in the total time of 35 hrs 32 minutes which included physiotherapy sessions, apparel change, massage, nature`s call and a power nap of 30 minutes. The bike was getting its routine maintenance checks whenever I was off-saddle. Every time I used to stop, the crew used to be ready beforehand with all the requirements to minimize the off-saddle time. Our navigation was immaculate and as a result, we never went off-route avoiding any additional distance. The event was well documented on paper as well as on camera by the team.
- The Leh to Manali expedition for WUCA Record was a memorable experience and its memories will be cherished by all of us.
- My Strava Profile – https://www.strava.com/athletes/15927816