Eleven days, 18 hours and 45 minutes after setting out from California, Srinivas Gokulnath created history by becoming the first Indian to complete what is considered to be the toughest cycle race in the world — the 4,900-km Race Across America (RAAM) in solo category.
In a feat that marks the Indian arrival on the endurance cycling scene globally, another Maharashtrian, Dr Amit Samarth of Nagpur, followed him at the finish line at Annapolis on American east coast around midnight 27 June as per the Indian time.
1.Among the nine men who finished, Gokulnath stood 7th while Samarth was right on his heels at number 8.
2.”I am relieved…that is the feeling I am going through right now,” is all Lt Colonel Gokulnath could say at the finish line.
3.In its over three-decade history, only three Indians had attempted RAAM solo, but no one could finish.
Starting from temperate climes on the Pacific Coast, the race enters the furnace-like Mojave Desert, passes through arid Arizona, cold mountain passes in Colorado, windy plains in central America, and finally the Appalachian Mountains test the riders before they reach the Atlantic coast on the east.