15th Indian National MTB Championship 2018 | XC – Mass Start

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The 15th National Mountain Bike Championship 2018 conducted by the Cycling Federation of India saw a refreshing new course for the Cross Country discipline, with tech climbs and steep singletrack descents. Not the usual XC course you’d see at the Indian Nationals, the 2018 trail was demanding as well as rewarding, with it’s flow and gradients, said some of the racers. The Giant Starkenn team did an excellent job of putting together a challenging XC track, which surely filtered on the best XC racers of the country. Here’s some action from the Mass-start (Elite Men) leg of the three day event at Sunny’s World, on the outskirts of Pune City in Maharashtra.

The battle begins right out of the start arc. \\ Photo: Kimaya VM
Being in the leaders pack was key to a good finish, on the tight singletrack sprinkled course. \\ Photo: Vinay Menon

The 3.7kms long trail consisted of loose dust on hard-pack in most bits. With steep tarmac climbs into steeper single-track climbs, the racers had to power it through, only to hold on to the bars tight for one of the steepest descents ever included in an Indian National XC Race! A trail previously built/maintained and ridden by the local downhill riders of Pune City, the “Mad Monkey” descent was included in the national cross country event, to spice things up for the lycra army.

This year’s XC course tested the racer’s legs as well as their skills! \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Indian Army’s Ramesh Ale was blazing through the forest in his usual style. \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Sandeep Madaan couldn’t get a desired result this year at the Nats. A DNF for the Himachal Pradesh team racer for 2018. \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Indian Army racer, Ashish K pulled through on the podium grabbing a third. \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Ashish K, navigating through the dusty downhill section of the course. \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Indian Army racer, Suraj Malik climbed through the technical course, onto a 2nd place on the podium. \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Inspite of a spill on the track, Suraj Malik managed to grab a Silver at the 15th National MTB Championship 2018. \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Keeping the speeds up on the singletrack, Suraj Malik. \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Too fast for the competition! Kiran Kumar Raju representing Karnataka. \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Descents were not a problem for the Bengaluru native. Having competed in Downhill races in the past, Kiran Kumar Raju knows a thing or two about DH too! \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Style OR control OR both! Karnataka team racer, Kiran Kumar Raju, kept his speeds high even on the descents, leaving the competition behind! \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
The glow of Victory! Elite Men podium at the 15th National MTB Championship 2018. Ashish K in 3rd, Suraj Malik taking the Silver and Karnataka state team racer, Kiran Kumar Raju taking the big WIN! \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
2018 National Cross Country MTB Champion of India – Kiran Kumar Raju. \\ Photo: Vinay Menon
Elite Women XC Mass Start – Winners – Priyanka Karande of Maharashtra landed a 3rd, Maharashtra’s Pranita Soman grabbed a silver and Uttarakhand’s Poonam Rana took the big win.
Maharashtra State team won the 2nd place overall at the 15th National MTB Championship 2018.
Karnataka state team took the overall WINNER’s title at the 15th National MTB Champs 2018.

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