A 45-year-old mother of two has proved that age is just a number by cycling solo about 4000 km, from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh, in about 14 days.
Pune-based Preeti Maske began her ride from Koteshwar Temple on the western border with Pakistan on November 1 and cycled her way through Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the expedition’s chief crew Ghanshyam Raghuwanshi told PTI on Monday.
Maske completed her 3995 km ride in 13 days, 19 hours and 12 minutes to reach Kibithu, near the border with China in Arunachal Pradesh at midnight on November 14, he said. Her feat made her the first woman solo cyclist to ride across the country from West to East in just 14 days.
The paperwork, evidence, time stamp pictures have been submitted and accepted by World Ultra Cycling Association and Guinness World Record. “They will process the same and award the certificate in due course,” Raghuwanshi said.
It took time to provide the information to the media due to poor digital network issues in the remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh. It delayed the completion of the required formalities with WUCA-GWR.
Maske had taken up cycling five years ago to combat illness and depression.
Maske was followed by a five-member crew in a vehicle. She faced many challenges along the way, particularly in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, with a high total elevation gain.
“Cycling was tough in these treacherous areas as there was heavy head wind from Darbhanga in Bihar. After Tezu in Arunachal Pradesh, the route is treacherous with elevation, bad roads, boulders and construction work,” she told PTI.
Besides, the temperature dropped to 2-3 degrees celsius in Arunachal Pradesh during the evening and night. “This made it difficult to ride and we also didn’t have adequate warm clothing. With zero network and abandoned roads, we missed the direction and had to take a longer route in the night,” Maske said.
The Border Roads Organisation gave the necessary logistical and navigational support which helped her to complete the expedition. Maske cycled for almost 350 kms in the first ten days with an average saddle cycling time of 19 hours.
“Managing sleep deprivation in a continuous non-stop ride was a challenge. I was cycling continuously for 19 hours and sometimes for more than 24 hours. It was coffee that kept me awake,” she said.
Maske got a severe cramp in her legs near the Assam-Arunachal border. ”It appeared that she would have to call off the rest of the ride but with massage, stretching exercises and rest, she recovered,” Raghuwanshi said.
She undertook the expedition to support and create awareness for organ donation for the organisation RebirthThrust.org.