Srinivas Gokulnath from Maharashtra created history by becoming the first Indian to complete the 4,900-km Race Across America (RAAM) in solo category. Considered to be the toughest cycle race in the world, he cycled for eleven days, 18 hours and 45 minutes.
In a feat that marks the Indian arrival on the endurance cycling scene globally, another Maharashtrian, Dr. Amit Samarth followed Gokulnath at the finish line at Annapolis on American east coast around midnight on Monday as per the Indian time.
Among the nine men who finished, Gokulnath stood 7th while Samarth was right on his heels at number 8. The race was won by Christoph Strasser.
Unlike a stage race like the famed Tour de France, the clock is constantly ticking at RAAM, and the riders have to pedal over 400 km a day to finish the race in the stipulated 12 days. They can rest for only a couple of hours a day.
In its over three-decade history, only three Indians had attempted RAAM solo, but no one could finish. Gokulnath, a doctor by training, is an aerospace medicine specialist working with the Army in Nashik.