Proving once again that age is simply a number, a 45-year-old mother of two has become the first woman solo cyclist to ride across India from the West to the East. Cycling for about 4,000 kilometres from the borders of Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh, Preeti Maske put up with various challenges throughout her journey. However, none of these dimmed her efforts, and within 14 days, she proudly cycled her way through the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Cycling For A Cause
Pune-based Preeti Maske had taken up cycling to combat age-related illness and depression. Five years into the sport now, she cycled from West to East India, creating awareness about organ donation on behalf of the organisation RebirthThrust.org. A sport she picked up to deal with her issues healthily grew into an expedition for a larger cause.
According to a report by The Print, she cycled for about 350 km in the first ten days with an average saddle cycling time of 19 hours. With the continuous riding every passing day, it was difficult to keep up as sleep deprivation was gradually getting to her. Talking about the non-stop journeys, she was quoted saying, "I was cycling continuously for 19 hours and sometimes for more than 24 hours. It was coffee that kept me awake." Besides the challenging sleep cycle, she had to deal with severe cramps at the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh route, which had a total elevation gain of 15,679 m.
At the elevated points, the expedition's chief crew Ghanshyam Raghuwanshi felt that she would call off the remaining ride, but she got back up with some massage and stretching exercises. Faring through all problems, with a five-member crew who followed her in a vehicle, she made it through 3,995 km to reach Kibithu, near the border with China in Arunachal Pradesh, within 13 days, 19 hours and 12 minutes. With this, she became the first ever woman solo cyclist to ride across the country from West to East within less than 14 days.
Awaiting The Guinness Recognition
Cycling was tough through the heavy headwind from Darbhanga in Bihar to the elevated under-construction roads of Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh. Even further, the temperatures continued to drop at threatening lower levels, making it difficult to ride since they did not carry adequate warm clothing. With the challenges and zero network connectivity, informing people about the feat Maske had achieved took a while.
Extending support to them at such a time was the Border Roads Organisation, which helped them with the necessary logistic and navigational support. Even though it took a while, the team could disseminate the information to the media and complete the required formalities with the World Ultra Cycling Association (WUCA) and Guinness World Record (GWR). The WUCA-GWR has reportedly accepted all the paperwork, evidence, and time stamp pictures, and they will be processing the certificate in due course, gleams Raghuwanshi proudly.
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