Mumbai: Mohinder Singh Bharaj has refused to join any senior citizens’ club at his hometown Nashik, despite being 67. “I find old people to be very negative and I am the person who always likes to be amid positive people. So, all my friends are aged between 18-45 years,” Bharaj tells PTI over the phone, as he travels back from Kanyakumari.
Bharaj and his team are returning home after finishing the ‘race against age’, which will in all probability go down as a record-setting cycle ride, that saw the 67-year-old youngster (as he likes himself to be identified) cycle 3,600 km from Srinagar to Kanyakumari in 12 days, 18 hrs and 57 minutes, reaching the southern tip of India at 2 AM on Sunday. Starting from Srinagar on a cold morning, Bharaj took on formidable challenges like sleep depravity (the clock was ticking continuously), hot weather from Jhansi to Bengaluru, saddle sores for the last seven days which occurred as a result of spending up to 18 hours cutting an average of 275 km a day.
“I could not sit on an otherwise comfortable sofa last night,” Bharaj quips, as he speaks of one of the worst nightmares for an endurance cyclist. Diet was also important and he had to push 10,000 calories a day to continue with the ride, where his team of six crew member friends were of immense help.
“I had prepared well for the ride and was not in any fatigue when I reached,” he says, stressing that the team saw the sunrise at Kanyakumari and set off for Nashik in the vehicle immediately without waiting for the magical sunset. Preparations involved cycling every alternate day for about two hours, having a long ride of over 6 hrs on Saturdays, and pumping weight at a gym on the remainder of days, Bharaj, who has always been agile and fit, says. Athletics was a favourite since school days for Bharaj, and the 100 metres sprint was a favourite. But after hitting 40s, running slowed down over fears of damaging the knee. There was a break of about five years when he did no activity, till the long-distance cycling bug caught up. Being in Nashik, which has produced a slew of endurance cyclists, bigger and more audacious plans was the natural way of being for Bharaj. Bharaj said he will continue cycling and executing bigger plans in the future as well, and stressed that a lot is remaining to be achieved. The ‘race against age’ clearly does not stop with the successful completion of an inspiring cycle ride.
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