Only Indian to be given International Super Randonneur Award after completing grilling routes
Sheetal Bambulkar began her expedition spanning four countries in 2016, and completed it in June this year
Mulund resident Sheetal Bambulkar has gone where no Indian has gone before.
She entered the international super randonneur (ISR) hall of fame earlier this month, making her the only Indian in the league.
Randonneuring is a long-distance solo cycling sport aimed to be completed in a specified time limit. Each ride, covering at least 200 km, must be completed in a different country over any period of time. International Super Randonneur is a super randonneur series (200 km, 300 km, 400 km and 600 km) under the Randonneur Mondiaux code. The International Super Randonneur Award is conferred by Audax United Kingdom, an
internationally recognised long-distance cycling association in the UK.
Sheetal completed four races in as many countries since last year: 600 km within 40 hours in February 2016 in India, 300 km in 20 hours in Thailand in August 2016, 200 km in 13 hours in Singapore in April this year, and 400 km in 27 hours in London in June.
She said her ISR success was born out of a failed cycling attempt. "I did not finish the 300 km tandem brevet, which was an eye-opener for me, after which I decided to go solo."
She said the Indian leg of her 1,500-km-long expedition -- Vadodara in Gujarat to Chikhli in Buldana district of Maharashtra and back on NH8 -- wasn't as challenging as navigating foreign locales owing to the advantage of knowing the local languages.
"However, riding on Indian roads in the night was tough. In India, we have no traffic discipline. Vehicles take the wrong direction, flashing their high beam lights, restricting visibility. No one respects bicycle riders. I suffered a major fall during the ride when a motorcycle rider tried to overtake me."
During her Singapore ride, she encountered a dog chase. "While trying to save myself, I lost sight of the Singapore organiser, but managed to find my way back to the path," she recalled.
During her Thailand stint, Bambulkar was not feeling her healthy best. "After 200 km, I felt sick and began vomiting due to dehydration.
Her tip for wannabe randonneurs: "Never quit, and always ride with a helmet."
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