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The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.

- Alexander von Humboldt

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News

Nov 29, 2015

Go through The Hell Race

Otherwise known as the paragliding capital of India, The Hell Race will be the first of its kind MTB race organised in Bir, Himachal Pradesh.

WRITTEN BY

Yogesh Kumar

The 55-km competition is on December 6.

With the rising number of people getting on bicycle saddles everyday in India, cycling events and races are adding up in the annual race calendar in new locations to cater to this community. The Hell Race, to be held in Bir, a very picturesque Tibetan settlement town in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, India, is the the newest race in that league. Bir is a world famous paragliding destination and recently hosted the first ever Paragliding World Cup in India 

The race will see about 50 riders (including three international riders) push their limits on the challenging and unexplored terrain which will include steep up hills and bumpy down hills. It is a 3-day event from December 5-7 and the race will be on the second day. The riders can expect technical single-track with broken rocks, flowing water streams, hanging bridges, fallen trees and fast paced down hills. On few non-rideable patches on the route, they would have to carry the bikes on their shoulders.

Barot Valley challenges
Barot Valley challenges

The organizer of the race, Vishwas Sindhu told The Outdoor Journal, “I always felt the adventures, our lone rangers, are scattered all over and this race could be a humble attempt to bring them together & create lasting stories.” When asked why did he chose Bir for the race?, he said, “Bestowed with the serene landscapes, Bir is a hub of unexplored mountain biking tracks of all levels – easy, medium & difficult. It becomes easy to set stages for any race here and the unknown factor builds the curiosity”.

43-year-old, Gurleen Kaur a participant from India capital city New Delhi said, “The terrain seems to be cruel and designed to test the skills and will power of the rider. One can’t afford to be weak. I like to test my own physical and mental strength and this this is going to be a real opportunity for that.”

The route will be as below:

  1. Bir to Billing:

Distance: 18km | Uphill (1000m Elevation gain) | Tar Road

Difficulty: Tough

This is the starting phase of the race where participants would ride on the tar road, mostly uphill, for the initial 18kms. Riding in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, riders will experience the beauty of nature at its best.

  1. Billing to Chaina Pass:

Distance: 8km | Uphill (400m elevation gain) | Slushy-Muddy | Technical

Difficulty: Extreme

This phase of the route is meant to test the best of riders in the worst! This phase gets riders to ride the muddy, slushy & bumpy paths of the narrowest trails. This will challenge them to the extreme and will try to falter their will power at every possible second.

  1. Chaina Pass to Baragram:

Distance: 13km | Downhill (470m Elevation loss)| Bumpy | Very Technical

Difficulty: Tough

This phase is the most beautiful of all in the Hell Race. In other worlds, riders will be gifted with a heaven of the nature right after grilling themselves. This part of the route gets them ride over the hanging bridge & crossing various streams. The welcoming Dhauladhar ranges alongside the route are the added charm. Some section of this part has narrow single-track as well as some non-rideable section where riders will have to carry the bike on their shoulders.

  1. Baragram to Barot:

Distance: 16km | Downhill (500m Elevation loss) | Tar Road

Difficulty: Easy

This phase is the easiest of all where riders can put their best to speed and cover up. This part of the route is mostly on tar road.

The valley beyond Billing!
The valley beyond Billing!

The cut-off time for men is 6.5 hours and for women is 8.5 hours. The participation fee is Rs. 6,500 for males and 20% off on females. Registration can be done here.

Images courtesy: The Hell Race

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Adventure Travel

Jul 31, 2018

Kayaking’s Elite Return to India at the Malabar River Festival

During the week of July 18th to 22nd, the Malabar River Festival returned to Kerala, India with one of the biggest cash prizes in whitewater kayaking in the world.

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

A $20,000 purse attracted some of the world’s best kayakers to the region for an epic week battling it out on some of India’s best whitewater.

The kayaking events at Malabar River Festival were held on the Kuttiyadi River, Chalippuzha River, and the Iruvajippuzha River, in South India on the Malabar Coast. The festival was founded and organized by Manik Taneja and Jacopo Nordera of GoodWave Adventures, the first whitewater kayaking school in South India.

Photo: Akash Sharma

“Look out for these guys in the future because there are some future stars there”

One of the goals of the festival is to promote whitewater kayaking in the state of Kerala and encourage locals to get into the sport. One of the event organizers, Vaijayanthi Bhat, feels that the festival plays a large part in promoting the sport within the community.  “The kayak community is building up through the Malabar Festival. Quite a few people are picking up kayaking… It starts with people watching the event and getting curious.  GoodWave Adventures are teaching the locals.”

Photo: Akash Sharma

Vaijayanthi is not lying when she says the kayak community is starting to build up.  In addition to the pro category, this year’s Malabar Festival hosted an intermediate competition specifically designed for local kayakers. The intermediate competition saw a huge turnout of 22 competitors in the men’s category and 9 competitors in the women’s category. Even the professional kayakers who traveled across the world to compete at the festival were impressed with the talent shown by the local kayakers. Mike Dawson of New Zealand, and the winner of the men’s pro competition had nothing but good things to say about the local kayakers. “I have so much respect for the local kayakers. I was stoked to see huge improvements from these guys since I met them in 2015. It was cool to see them ripping up the rivers and also just trying to hang out and ask as many questions about how to improve their paddling. It was awesome to watch them racing and making it through the rounds. Look out for these guys in the future because there are some future stars there.”

Photo: Akash Sharma

 

“It was awesome because you had such a great field of racers so you had to push it and be on your game without making a mistake”

Vaijayanthi says the festival has future goals of being named a world championship.  In order to do this, they have to attract world class kayakers to the event.  With names like Dane Jackson, Nouria Newman, Nicole Mansfield, Mike Dawson, and Gerd Serrasolses coming out for the pro competition, it already seems like they are doing a good job of working toward that goal! The pro competition was composed of four different kayaking events- boatercross, freestyle, slalom, and a superfinal race down a technical rapid. “The Finals of the extreme racing held on the Malabar Express was the favourite event for me. It was an epic rapid to race down. 90 seconds of continuous whitewater with a decent flow. It was awesome because you had such a great field of racers so you had to push it and be on your game without making a mistake.” says Dawson.

Photo: Akash Sharma

The impressive amount of prize money wasn’t the only thing that lured these big name kayakers to Kerala for the festival. Many of the kayakers have stayed in South India after the event ended to explore the rivers in the region. With numerous unexplored jungle rivers, the possibilities for exploratory kayaking are seemingly endless. Dawson knows the exploratory nature of the region well.  “I’ve been to the Malabar River Fest in 2015. I loved it then, and that’s why I’ve been so keen to come back. Kerala is an amazing region for kayaking. In the rainy season there is so much water, and because the state has tons of mountains close to the sea it means that there’s a lot of exploring and sections that are around. It’s a unique kind of paddling, with the rivers taking you through some really jungly inaccessible terrain. Looking forward to coming back to Kerala and also exploring the other regions of India in the future.”

 

For more information on the festival, visit: http://www.malabarfest.com/

Subscribe here: https://www.outdoorjournal.com/in/subscribe/

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