Tawang: One of the world’s highest Enduro mountain biking race ‘MONDURO’ was conducted this year from November 11-14 at Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, an event to promote Tawang as a biking paradise and ultimate destination for adventure tourism.
‘Mon’ stands for Land of Monpas, and ‘Duro’ depicts Enduro format of MTB : related to a long-distance race for bicycles or motor vehicles, typically over rough terrain.
Organized by the Tawang Cycling Association (TCA), the initiative has been undertaken in association with Spokehub cycling Guwahati; National Downhill champion 2020 Gautam Taode and Abhishek Saikia, a guwahati based cyclist. It has been supported by the Department of Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh; and the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
The Mountain Terrain Biking (MTB) event was divided into two race formats – Enduro, and Cross-Country (XC) races. For Enduro format races, a full suspension bike with full-faced helmets was used. Whereas, for Cross-country format races, an XC bike with a regular helmet was utilized by the riders.
According to Monduro official website, “Enduro format has various stages on which the riders will have to compete against time. The riders need to get to the start of each stage under their own steam and set a timeframe. The times on the stages add up to represent the overall competition. Each rider will be given a start time for each stage.”
“Unlike downhill races, which are conducted in time trial format, cross- country races traditionally feature a mass start or interval start, where riders are released in several large groups divided by age and/or ability. Races with very large fields that do not wish to stagger starts will sometimes employ a Le Mans start where racers begin by running to their bikes.” – the statement further adds.
Speaking with Northeast Today, the Junior specialist & Orthopedic surgeon of Tawang District Hospital, & Chief of Tawang Cycling Association (TCA), Dr. Dukhum Magu elaborated on how the Tawang weather perfectly suits the event. “The place Tawang is perfect for MTB due to certain reasons. First is the weather, its never too hot for the event, yeah it does get cold during winters but then you can wear warm clothes. Second is the terrain, incorporating the perfect combo of good weather and the vegetation required for MTB racing – no big trees, the alpine vegetation, easy to build some effective trails. Third is the deep history, this trails comprises of – basically a story buried underneath. The old forgotten historical trails are being revived now. And the most important of all is the hospitality of the Monpas of Tawang, once you experience it, I’m sure you will never forget it. So, the event Monduro plans to make the best use of available resources and promote adventure tourism in Tawang via Mountain Biking, thereby transforming the region into a mountain biking paradise, and revive the old historical paths, once trodden by the 6th Dalai Lama.”
Responding to how the Monduro event plays a crucial role for transforming Tawang into a significant ecosystem to promote adventure tourism, Dr. Magu informed that “When people come to Tawang, they visit three places – Tawang Monastery, Shangester or Madhuri Lake and Bumla Pass, but there is more to it. If you really want to explore Tawang, you need at least 3-4 weeks. Like I said every trail, every rock, stone and house has history here, stories sell better than logics why not sell these stories. The trails we used are historically important, which can be used for trekking. You will be walking the trail used by people centuries ago to go to Tibet, Tsona, the nearest town in Tibet. The paths walked by 6th Dalai lama on his way to Tibet from Tawang.
So ‘Monduro’ been the first enduro event held in India is one of the highest such races conducted globally. With the history behind these trails, it sure will attract more riders in coming year. The trails are the best in the country and riding MTB at an altitude of 14,400 feet is not easy, that’s what attracts many riders. It is an event that will play a significant part in transforming the MTB scene not just in Tawang but in the whole country and yes promote adventure tourism as a whole.”
Dr. Dukhum further informed about the entire schedule of this event. Held on November 11, the start & end-point of Cross-Country (XC) event was Tawang Gompa. Commencing from the largest Buddhist monastery in India situated at an altitude of 9300 ft, the riders took five loops from Dobley Tse which is situated at around 11,400 ft, and then returned back to Tawang Gompa.
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The distance measured was 45 km with a total elevation gain of 5485 feet, which was won by the Manipur-based cyclist Mr Adonis – the U-23 National Champion 2021.
Similarly, on November 13-14, the Tawang Cycling Association led by Dr. Dukhum Magu organized the enduro event. On November 13, the race was conducted on the Gyalwa Tsangyang Gyatso trail commencing from Lama Zhapshey, located at an elevation of around 12,000 feet to Mermang grassland adjacent to Khinmey Gompa – the monastery situated at an elevation of around 8000 feet covering a total distance of 8.5km.
On November 14, the race commenced from Gangto near Y junction which is at an elevation of 14,400 feet, and culminated at Dobley Tse which at elevation of 11,400 feet.
“The trails incorporate of factors that an enduro usually consists – steep at times with rocky gardens, streams, rides through rhododendrons-filled jungle and huge green grassland, and specifically stating Arunachal Pradesh has the best trails across the nation.” – added Dr. Magu.
Furthermore, the Enduro race was held on November 13-14 this year, was won by the Nepal-based renowned cyclist & National Geographic 2018 ‘Adventurer of The Year’, Mr Rajesh Magar.
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