Shimla: The 12th edition of Hero MTB Himalaya flagged off from Shimla. Lt. General Raman Dhawan, Chief of Staff ARTRAC Shimla, flagged off the race from the Ridge. Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association, Shimla (HASTPA) with the support of the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation is organising the 12th Hero MTB Himalaya-2016. Race will conclude at Dharamshala on 3rd October, 2016. National and International cyclists from 15 countries are participating in the event.
This year for the first time in the history of the event the race will be travelling to Dharamshala. The brand new route this year will advance from Erstwhile British capital-Shimla to the land of His Holiness, The Dalai Lama- Dharamshala travelling from the Shivaliks to the mighty Dhauladhars traversing 4 districts of Himachal Pradesh and crossing two ferocious rivers of Himalayas- Beas and Satluj.
The Shivaliks formed by tertiary deposits of the outer Himalayas are the southernmost and geologically youngest east-west mountain chain of Himalayas. Dhauladhars feature major passes across the range like Indradhar pass and Rupin pass. Dharamshala is the closest tourist town from Dhauladhars also known to be the home to the Central Tibetan Administration and Dalai Lama’s residence. The race will also be touching the boundaries of the Great Himalayan National Park which is one of the biggest national parks in India and is located in the Kullu region.
Bir-Billing which is known to be the world’s second highest point for paragliding will also feature along the race route. The race is considered to be one of the toughest of all other cross country races around the world. This year’s race will be divided along 8 stages and 650 kilometers and feature an elevation gain of 16,000 meters, covering 60-90 kilometers every day. It is a scenic route with the Himalayan beauty at it’s best and the riders are very excited.
Major towns near the race route will be Shimla- Gadagufar- Narkanda- Luri- Swad- Jalhori- Jyot- Gadagushaini- Jhanjeli- Mandi- Barot and finish at Dharamshala. The race tracks will be tarmac, broken gravel, rocks, mud and sand. The competition has been fiercely building up over the years with the race gaining popularity around the region. The highest point of the race is Jalhori pass at a height of 3000 meters.