One of the world’s tallest Enduro MTB races, “MONDURO”, was held this year from November 11-14 in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, an event to promote Tawang as a cycling paradise and ultimate destination for adventure tourism.
“Mon” stands for Land of Monpas and “Duro” stands for the Enduro format of mountain biking: linked to a long distance race for bicycles or motor vehicles, usually over rough terrain.
Organized by the Tawang Cycling Association (TCA), the initiative was undertaken in association with Spokehub Cycling Guwahati; The 2020 national downhill champion Gautam Taode and Abhishek Saikia, a cyclist based in guwahati. It was supported by the Ministry of Tourism of the Government of Arunachal Pradesh; and the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu.
The Mountain Terrain Biking (MTB) event has been split into two racing formats – Enduro and Cross-Country (XC). For races in the Enduro format, a full suspension bicycle with full face helmets was used. Whereas, for races in the Cross-country format, an XC bike with a regular helmet was used by the riders.
According to Monduro official website, “The Enduro format has different stages on which the riders will have to compete against the clock. Riders must get to the start of each stage on their own and set a schedule. The times on the stages add up to represent the overall competition. Each runner will be allocated a start time for each stage.
“Unlike downhill races, which take place as a time trial, cross-country races traditionally feature a mass start or interval start, where riders are released into several large groups divided by age and / or capacity. Races with very large fields that do not wish to stagger the starts will sometimes use a Le Mans start where the riders start by running towards their bikes. – adds the statement.
Talk with North East today, junior specialist and orthopedic surgeon from Tawang District Hospital and head of the Tawang Cycling Association (TCA), Dr Dukhum Magu explained how the weather in Tawang suits the event perfectly. “The Tawang place is perfect for mountain biking for some reasons. The first is the weather, it never gets too hot for the event, yes it is cold during the winters, but then you can wear warm clothes. Second, the terrain, incorporating the perfect combination of good weather and vegetation required for mountain biking races – no big trees, alpine vegetation, easy to build efficient trails. The third is the deep story these trails include – basically a story buried underneath. Old forgotten historical trails are now relaunched. And most important of all is the hospitality of Tawang Monpas, once you experience it I am sure you will never forget it. Thus, the Monduro event plans to make the best use of available resources and promote adventure tourism in Tawang via mountain biking, thus transforming the region into a mountain biking paradise, and reviving the old historical trails, once trodden. by the 6th Dalai Lama.
Responding to how the Monduro event plays a crucial role in transforming Tawang into an important ecosystem to promote adventure tourism, Dr Magu explained that “when people come to Tawang, they visit three places: the monastery from Tawang, Lake Shangester or Madhuri and the Bumla Pass, But there is more than that. If you really want to explore Tawang, you need at least 3-4 weeks. Like I said, every trail, rock, stone and house has a story here, stories sell better than logics, why not sell these stories. The trails we have taken are historically significant and can be used for trekking. You will walk on the trail that people used centuries ago to go to Tibet, Tsona, the closest town to Tibet. The paths traveled by the 6th Dalai Lama on his way to Tibet from Tawang.
Thus, “Monduro” was the first enduro event held in India and is one of the highest such races in the world. With the history behind these trails, it will certainly attract more cyclists over the coming year. The trails are the best in the country and mountain biking at 14,400 feet above sea level is not easy, which is what attracts many cyclists. It is an event that will play an important role in transforming the mountain biking scene not only in Tawang but across the country and yes promoting adventure tourism as a whole.
Dr Dukhum further informed about the full program of this event. On November 11, the start and finish point for the cross-country (XC) event was Tawang Gompa. Starting from India’s largest Buddhist monastery at an elevation of 9,300 feet, the event culminated at Dobley Tse, located approximately 11,400 feet.
As a result, the runners did five loops from Dobley Tse to Tawang Gompa. The measured distance was 45km with a total elevation gain of 5,485 feet, which was won by Manipur-based cyclist Mr. Adonis – the 2021 U-23 national champion.
Likewise, on November 13th and 14th, the Tawang Cycling Association led by Dr Dukhum Magu organized the enduro event. On November 13, the race took place on the Gyalwa Tsangyang Gyatso Trail starting at Lama Zhapshey, located at an elevation of about 1,200 feet to the Mermang Grassland adjacent to Khinmey Gompa – the monastery at an elevation of approximately 8,000 feet covering a total distance of 8.5 km.
On November 14, the race started at Gangto near the Y junction which is at an elevation of 14,400 feet, and peaked at Dobley Tse which at an elevation of 11,400 feet.
“The trails incorporate factors that typically make up an enduro – sometimes steep with rock gardens, streams, walks through the jungle filled with rhododendrons and immense green meadows, and specifically indicating that Arunachal Pradesh has the best trails. Across the country.” – added Dr Magu.
In addition, the Enduro race, which took place from November 13-14 this year, was won by famous Nepalese cyclist and National Geographic “Adventurer of the Year 2018” Mr. Rajesh Magar.