Race Report – Bangalore Mountain Festival

Byline: Crank Bengaluru Bureau

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In a first of its kind event, Bangalore got all its active life enthusiasts from different disciplines together at one place. The Bangalore Mountain Festival held between 6th and 7th Feb, 2016 near Nandi hills was being conspired for quite a few months now. Bangalore being the unofficial capital of Indian cycling was long overdue for some serious activity that involved everyone from enthusiast to professionals.

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The Bangalore Mountain Festival (BMF) hosted three rugged sports, Trail run, Cross Country Mountain biking and Downhill Mountain biking. Bengaluru had near reached saturation point with the existing locations to carry out these sports at a competitive level and something new had to come along. News of trail building for the Downhill track had come our way at least 4-5 months ago and all else was kept well guarded. Downhill riders from across the country and even the Indian Dakar King, Santosh CS himself had inputs in putting together the DH track used at the festival. For the first time in India, ladder bridges were used to create a smooth track to help reduce hang time and set fast lap times for racers. The entire track was freshly carved and created on the side of the hill that hosts the Thimmaraya Swamy Temple on the Devanahalli-Nandi Hills road.

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Runners and cyclists from Bangalore have been going to Nandi hills often to train. The climb made for good strength training and the conditions of the roads have always been pristine. With the utilization of the back tracks of Nandi in the previous season on BBCh (Bangalore Bicycle Championship) as the course for Downhill racing, the idea of Nandi hills being the ultimate adrenaline junkie rest stop had somewhat peaked.

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The entire idea was conceptualized by Sunil Nanjappa who has been an active cyclist and community enthusiast for quite some time now. He teamed up with a merry band of mountain bikers like him to conceive the event and with the help of Balu, Rajnikat, Preetham, Mohan, Yashas and Ajay Padval, he managed to bring the idea to reality.

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BMF hosted over 70 trail runners, 30 Cross country cyclists and 20 of the finest DH warriors from across the country. The team from the Indian Air Force graced the running fields while Kiran Kumar Raju who is the current Indian National MTB champion bit it out at the Cross Country race. The DH race however turned out to be the most dominating on the number of eye balls. It brought together many of the Indian DH Bombers whom we had featured a few issues ago. These are pioneers like Vinay Menon, Nilesh Dhumal and Scott’s rising star, Piyush Chavan. DH is fast growing in India and proof of that was many teenagers who showed up on entry level hard tail MTB’s to take on the DH track.

The runners and cross country riders had nothing to be disappointed about with the slight shift in glory towards the DH riders. In fact, the trail run did not just include some grass patches here and there. It included challenges like multiple flights of stairs, running alongside a lake, some steep climbs on rocky paths and naturally occurring obstacles sprinkled with short flat sprint sections.

All three races were hosted on a single day with the first day of the event allotted for inspection of the course and dry runs followed by some good old school camping under the stars in the open mountain winds.

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The festival was kept open for men and women’s category and from kids of 16 years to veterans upto 60. While the obvious trend was the young ones got attracted to the most new sport of DH. Many of the seasoned participants were enthusiastic towards the 10kms run and the Cross Country Riding.

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BMF has opened out a great avenue for enthusiasts who have been looking for newer grounds to prove their mettle in. With sponsorships from Ajmal properties and support from lifestyle brands like Haul, Lumos, Merida among others BMF can only help grown these extreme adventure sports in a bustled city like Bangalore.

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Trail Running-Men
1St Girish Chandra Tiwari
2nd Mohd. Salman Khan
3rd Yakeel Yadav
Trail Running- Women
Winner Jyoti
XC-Men
1St Kiran Kumar Raju
2nd Craig Raynes
3rd Ronny
XC-U 18
1St Tejesvi
2nd Rishabh Gowda
DH-Men
1St Advaith
2nd Ajay Padval
3rd Vinay Menon
DH-U 18
1St Rishabh Gowda
2nd Errol

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