Shimla, April 12 : Over 100 cyclists will participate in the two-day Hero MTB Himalaya -- Shimla edition race that will be flagged off from here on Friday, event organisers said on Thursday.
For the first time, the race takes the riders through some of the most pristine parts of the Shivalik hills or the foothills of the Himalayas.
The riders will pedal their way through uphill off-road tracks, meadows, thick vegetation and jeep tracks as they travel around 120 km in two days with an elevation gain of 3,500 metres.
The highest elevation is of 2,350 metres across a new route.
The race route starting in Shimla takes the riders through Kufri, Mashobra, Craigneno, located at an altitude of 7,700 ft on the Shimla-Naldehra highway and will culminate in Shimla, Mohit Sood, President of the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), told IANS.
The ride takes the participants through some age-old paths that date back to the British era, including the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies.
This year the race will witness participation from 108 participants from seven countries -- India, Nepal, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Czech Republic.
Professional cycling teams, including Hero Action Team, Steadfast Nutrition, Merida Cycling team, and riders from paramilitary force Seema Shastri Bal will be taking part.
Shimla boy David Kumar, the winner of the last edition of Hero MTB Shimla, will be defending his King of Shivalik title this year.
German Sarah Appelt, 28, who rides for Hero Action Team will be defending her Queen of Shivaliks title to score a hattrick this season.