ICYCLE, India’s leading bicycle solutions provider and the organizer of Great Malnad Challenge – the longest off-road cycling challenge in India, has announced event dates for the 7th edition of Great Malnad Challenge 2017 (GMC 2017). Qualifier events for GMC 2017 will start from 03rd June 2017 and continue till 01st Oct 2017. Close to 1000 cyclists are expected to participate in the 36 scheduled qualifiers to secure their spot in the finals. Top 50 cyclists will be chosen to compete at the 700+ kilometres, 7 days’ challenge from 28th Oct to 03rd Nov 2017. There will be a cash prize in excess of INR 100,000 for the winner of this year’s edition and a similar combined prize pot for the 1st & 2nd Runners-Up.
Since its inception in 2010, GMC is now India’s longest running annual mountain biking challenge event and the longest mountain biking challenge in India. Organizers say it takes the stamina of running 7 marathons in cycling terms to complete the GMC challenge. This year onwards, ICYCLE is also introducing ‘GMC Corporate Race’ exclusively for organizations in India. Companies can send their employees to represent their organization at this 2 days’ event which will run parallel to the main GMC race. SBI, Performax, Track & Trail, Frederique Constant, Wildcraft, Giant Starkenn, KHS, KSRTC, Deccan Chronicle, 24 Mantra Organic, Sandeep Seva Nilayam, Yoga Bar, Yuva Spandana (A Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports Initiative) etc. include the Sponsors of GMC from previous editions.
Another addition is the launch of ‘GMC Touring’ segment where cyclists can stroll through the trail and experience the unique culture and cuisine of Malnad region as well as enjoy places of interest such as Hassan, Belur, Chikkamagaluru, Muthodi Forest Reserve, Kemmanagundi, Mullayanagiri, Bhadra River, Agumbe, Kundadri, Nagara Fort, Kodachadri, Sharavathi Backwaters, Jog Falls, Murudeshwar etc. without the pressure of competing. There will be live cultural shows and culinary experiences specifically created for the Touring Category participants sandwiched between the 7 days’ touring trail. ICYCLE is promoting GMC Touring & Competition category across 250 large mountain biking clubs at 60+ countries worldwide across North America, Europe, Asia & Australia.
Manjesh Chandrasekharan – Managing Director of ICYCLE says; “The Malnad region has a lot of potential for eco-tourism and from the chartered cycling trails we regularly organize for foreign tourists, we have learnt that the Malnad landscape, culture, cuisine etc. are of great interest to foreigners – especially from Europe. So we took a conscious decision to also introduce the ‘GMC Touring’ category this year which we expect to be taken up with great enthusiasm by the city dwellers as well, who will find it very refreshing from their regular holidays. We have already received many positive responses from our customer base in India on the Touring category which is a unique blend of adventure, fitness, touring, culture and local experience.”
Santhosh Anand, CEO for ICYCLE said; “Since 2010, GMC has grown to become one of the largest and most important MTB events. We get participants not just from various parts of India, but also from places beyond Asia. We hope that the ‘Touring’ category will also provide an option to avid cyclists who may not come in the Top 50 for the finals of the race, but who are very keen to experience the specialties of Malnad region.”
Athul Ghosh, who was part of the organizing team for 2016 Road World Cycling Championships and Advisor for GMC 2017 added; “Cycling is an emerging sport in India. Unlike most other sporting disciplines, Cycling helps in building an environmental, civic and socially responsible culture. Within the last 4-5 GMC edition participants, this is very evident from the large number of people who evolved from Cycling as fitness routine to embracing it as a lifestyle. We aim to keep encouraging this culture right from grass roots by encouraging school children across 200+ schools, colleges and offices to build a larger group of eco-civic-social-fitness friendly citizens.”
Great Malnad Challenge is also vying to be included as IMBA’s (International Mountain Bicycling Association) Destination Partner. If included, GMC will only be just the 2nd MTB event from Asia to be included amongst the most prestigious cycling destinations around the world.