The third edition of the Assam Downhill Championship (ADC) at the Monkey Temple Trail situated in the Hengrabari Hills near VIP Road is all set for this Sunday.
Just like the previous editions, top cyclists from all over the country have registered to take part in this year’s event. This year, however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of participants has been limited to 60.
The event, organised by Spokehub, provides a platform for thrill-seeking riders across India where they meet up for uninterrupted and gravity-defying racing.
We talked to some of the top riders that took part in the event and questioned them about their careers in mountain biking and the mountain biking scene in Guwahati.
EastMojo reached out to Atoba Longkumer, who started biking in 2016 and founded the Trail Hounds cycling club, co-founded the Nagaland Mountain Biking Association, and has organised cycling events such as the Mokokchung Mountain bike festival and the King of the Hill Series.
We also spoke to riders Apshai Griffith Niangti, Neeraj Bora, and Bikash Haloi and got to know about their expertise in mountain biking.
Speaking about the Mountain Biking scene in Guwahati, Longkumer said, “Mountain biking in Guwahati is slowly but definitely growing by leaps and bounds. And SpokeHub is taking the initiative of actually promoting it from the grassroots levels. They have events like the ADC, which is a premier event. So it is affecting a lot of mountain bikers, even from other states to participate in their events. When you think of Assam, people only think it’s plain and only for road bikers. But that’s not true, Assam has got hills and mountains that people need to explore more and capitalise on.”
Another top rider, Apshai Griffith Niangti, said that even though Guwahati has scope for mountain bikers, trails in Guwahati do not have ‘enough trees’ and would recommend Guwahati for freeriding and jumps. He says that technical races are difficult to pull off in Guwahati since “Downhill is all about the tress.”
When asked why the riders preferred mountain biking, they said that the adrenaline rush and sense of accomplishment after going through all the obstacles in the trail is why they do it.
Longkumer, however, said that we need to capitalise on our assets more – which are the mountains and hills of the Northeast.
We also got to know that currently, riders Bikash Haloi and Neeraj Bora are riding a hardtail bike, while Atoba Longkumer and Apshai Griffith Niangti own both a hardtail and a full suspension bike.
Speaking about their dream bikes, Neeraj Bora said it is the Trek Slash and for Apshai Griffith Niangti, it is the Evil Wreckoning, which he mentioned is also going to be his retirement bike. Atoba Longkumer, however, said that he already owns his dream bike, the Commencal Meta SX.
Also, the riders’ dream places to go mountain biking vary from the trails in Ladakh and the Pune Bike Park in India, to the Finale Ligure, Italy and Whistler, Canada.
All the riders praised the Assam Downhill Championship event and encouraged riders of all ages to participate in such events. Neeraj Bora, who participated in the ADC 2.0 event, praised Spokehub and said that it was a well-organised event, compared to others he has participated in. He said that the route had chicken lines and big drops, and was suitable for both hardtail and full-suspension riders.
Riders in this year’s ADC event has been limited to 60. The inaugural edition of ADC in 2018 had around 45 riders from different parts of Northeast and Himachal Pradesh, whereas last year’s edition had over 50 riders from the Northeast and Maharashtra.
You can catch the Assam Downhill Championship race this Sunday, which is being managed by trailnexus.in, a trail sports event platform focused on mountain biking and trail running. Spokehub Cycling, Pedal for a Change and Whacky Talky are the organisations behind the event.
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