Kalyan Cyclist Foundation organised MTB Rayate 2022, the third edition of this race, we at CyclingMonks.com are stoked to have partnered in these cool shenanigans!
Cycling has been getting popular around the country, with many new riders taking up cycling as a lifestyle and a means of getting fit.
Mountain biking has been a laggard. Cycling is already a niche sport, and MTBs occupy an even smaller niche within this niche. There is one big hurdle for mountain biking to get popular. That is a lack of hurdles and mountains!
It is difficult to be a mountain biker, when there are no mountains around you or hurdles for you to jump over. Flat smooth roads don’t a mountain biker make. There are people who buy MTBs to ride on roads, but they don’t count!
The Western Ghats as such, are a perfect playground for the ardent mountain biker. You have the entire region peppered with small hills with short steep climbs. The weather throughout the year, is by and large conducive for outdoor activities.
In these settings, Rayate MTB Fest has been organised by Kalyan Cyclist Foundation for the past few years…
What is MTB Rayate?
This MTB festival has been held on the outskirts of Mumbai, near the village of Rayate, since 2018. The races have been organised by Kalyan Cyclist Foundation, a renowned and registered bicycle club from the satellite town of Kalyan.
It all kicked off with one guy’s desire to go explore the surrounding hills. Soon that became many guys and eventually it turned into a race.
What makes Rayate MTB Fest unique is that they not just host an XC race, but also an Enduro race. Enduro races are near impossible to find in most parts of the country. You will find a few DH races in Himachal, Manipur, Meghalaya. But no signs of it elsewhere. The BBCh race in Bangalore and the Pashan boys from Pune are more the exception rather than the rule.
It is refreshing to see Rayate cater to the adrenalin of these tiny group of racers, who have few opportunities to express their competitive spirit.
Highlights of MTB Rayate 2022…
On the 26th of June more than 300 people descended on the hills surrounding Rayate. 85 of these peeps were ‘Ready to Race’!
A whopping 25 were racing the Enduro race, 44 raced the XCO loops and the rest were kids who raced the XCC course. A magnificently large number of racers in the third iteration of MTB Rayate.
Along with the racers, their families and friends tagged along to enjoy the festivities. Fortunately, there was no rain on race day, even though the skies were cloudy. Giving respite from the heat, without inundating the riders and spectators. The action this year, remained on the ground and not in the sky!
Racers for MTB Rayate 2022, were not just from Kalyan and Mumbai. They had come from a number of cities of Maharashtra. Some of the racers had also come from Goa, Telangana, Gujarat and even from as far as Rajasthan. The talented riders upped the level of the race with their presence.
Shockingly, there were a bunch of riders who participated in the XCO (Cross Country Olympic) race and the Enduro race. It takes loads of skill, fitness, talent and dedication to muster the courage to race both these events on the same morning. Kudos to Pradhyum Naik, Vishwajit Pol and Richard Sam for doing so.
The races were flagged off by the Chief Guest of the event, Dr. Prashant Patil, IMA President – Kalyan.
Hitesh Dusseja from Kalyan Cyclist Foundation was the event lead, who was overseeing proceedings. He is a man who works away from the limelight! Satish Dwivedi is the brain behind this entire event and has been instrumental in making it bigger and better with every iteration.
Before the race could even begin, work started on the trails. Long before the races, in fact! The trail system took 4 weeks to build. Even then they managed to complete building the track two weeks prior to the races.
Most of the trail building work was done on the Enduro section, which had 15 features built into them. These features included, berms, jumps, drops and more. All this was built, knowing that there was high risk of heavy rain. The downsides of racing in the monsoon.
The final trail marking was done on Saturday, a day prior to the race. But even before it could be marked, many of the racers were already present at the venue and doing dry runs.
Many riders compared it to the nationals and said it was better managed. That in itself is a big achievement by Kalyan Cyclist Foundation.
XCO Race Report
The XCO race was held over 3 laps, with each lap being around 8.7 km. This included some nice climbs and little bit of technical elements. The XCO race was flagged off first at around 730 AM, and 90% of the riders managed to complete it by 10 AM.
From the moment the flag dropped, two riders broke away in commanding fashion. Vitthal Boshale and Anup Pawar were the duo who broke free. Vitthal riding a solo race at the front, minutes ahead of everyone else. He was seemingly riding in a different planet, as nobody could even get him in sight, much less reel him in.
Anup, on the other hand, was a surprise element. Nobody expected him to be at the front and racing in such a strong fashion. He too was riding solo for the entirety of the race in second place, with the bunch unable to catch up to him.
The next group of riders were National Level XC racers, who were together for much of the race. They could not catch the guys ahead and were too fast for the guys behind. Next there was a group of riders who were slightly slower than these national level racers. The vanguard was brought up by riders who had come to experience mountain biking. With minimal prior experience, it was more about finishing the race than anything else for these cool cats.
Vitthal and Anup held their positions all the way to the finish line, with nobody being able to show them a wheel. Third was taken up by Satish Bajiya as he managed to break from the bunch at the end. In fourth there was Sudhanshu Verma.
A few people dropped out of the race due to exhaustion. We are sure those folks will work harder and come back stronger in future races. A couple of riders suffered from technical problems and got help from the tech team of Kalyan Cyclist Foundation.
Enduro Race Report
After the XCO race ended, it was time for the swashbuckling Enduro riders on their magnificent steeds. As they, jumped and swooped and whooped along the two stages of this Enduro race.
Most riders could ride the first stage in around two and a half minutes. But the fast boys from Pashan, were zipping it at around a minute and thirty seconds. Stage 1 was steep enough for gravity to pull the rider to the bottom. But the fast riders were still pedalling through the straighter bits of the track.
The rider’s consensus was that Stage 1 was reasonably technical to challenge their skills.
Stage 2 on the other hand was a flowy trail, ending with a flat section in the last 100 metres. That last 100 metres required the rider to pedal. The purely downhill sections were dominated by the Pashan boys. But this flat section allowed others to make up time on them.
It allowed the results to be a little more topsy turvy than one would have imagined with the Downhill riders present.
Vinay Menon, one of the stalwarts of the sport in India was the Enduro Race Director. He oversaw the rules and regulations of this cool race.
As one would expect in Enduro racing. There were a couple of crashes. Both riders who crashed were named Prajwal, so maybe their stars were not aligned, even if their wheels were!
Race Results and Prizes
|First Name||Last Name||Rank|
|Sharath Raj||Rajan||Full Suspension||11th|
Winning Prizes and Participation goodies
First Prize: ₹10,000 + Certificate + Medal
1st runner up: ₹5000+ Certificate+ Medal
2nd runner up: ₹2500 + Certificate+ Medals
3rd runner up: Clipless pedals + Certificate+ Medals
First Prize: ₹10,000 + Certificate + Medal
1st runner up: ₹5000+ Certificate+ Medal
2nd runner up: ₹2500 + Certificate+ Medal
First Prize: Medal + Winning certificate
1st runner up: Medal + Certificate
2nd runner up: Medal + Certificate
All participants who completed the race were awarded certificates and medals.
Village Books Distribution
MTB Rayate 2022, was not just a mountain biking fest. The team also used this opportunity to donate books to children from the surrounding villages.
From the excess funds from racers and sponsors, the club purchased books for 100 children from the villages that surrounded the race track. The local village sarpanch was instrumental in getting these books to those who required it most.
The villages covered were Wagherapada, Aane, and Nalindi. Life is difficult in these villages. Even a basic necessity like drinking water has to be got from some distance away.
Lots of respect to Kalyan Cyclist Foundation for this initiative.
Support from Sponsors
No event is possible without the help of brands which are involved in growing the sport at the community level.
Bikeport, AMK Bicycles, Total Sports and Fitness, GHV Villas, Freeriders, Psynyde, Manav Hospital, Ramdev Hotel, 91 Cycles, Decathlon Malad, High Octane, Pixel Haveli, and Fast & Up assisted Kalyan Cyclist Foundation to pull off this event.
Events like this are only possible with the tireless efforts of the countless volunteers. They are the unsung heroes who make it happen.
We at CyclingMonks are incredibly happy to have also been a part of this event. We eagerly await more such cycling initiatives by Kalyan Cyclist Foundation.