Mohinder Singh Bharaj said he will continue cycling and make bigger plans in the future
"I find old people to be very negative and I am the person who always likes to be amid positive people. So, all my friends are aged between 18-45 years," 67-year-old Mohinder Singh Bharaj says over the phone while on his way from Kanyakumari to his hometown Nashik.
Mr Bharaj and his team are returning home after finishing the ''race against age'' which saw the 67-year-old cycle 3,600 km from Srinagar to Kanyakumari in 12 days, 18 hrs and 57 minutes, reaching the southern tip of mainland India at 2 am today.
Starting from Srinagar, Mr Bharaj took on formidable challenges like sleep deprivation, hot weather from Jhansi to Bengaluru and saddle sores which occurred as a result of spending up to 18 hours cutting an average of 275 km a day.
"I could not sit on an otherwise comfortable sofa last night," Mr Bharaj quips. Diet was also important and he had to push 10,000 calories a day to continue with the ride, where his team of six crew member friends were of immense help.
"I had prepared well for the ride and was not in any fatigue when I reached," he says, stressing that the team saw the sunrise at Kanyakumari and set off for Nashik in the vehicle immediately without waiting for the magical sunset.
Preparations involved cycling every alternate day for about two hours, having a long ride of over 6 hours on Saturdays, and pumping weight at a gym on the remainder of days, Mr Bharaj, who has always been agile and fit, says.
Athletics was a favourite since school days for Mr Bharaj, and the 100-metre sprint was a favourite. But after hitting 40s, running slowed down over fears of damaging the knee. There was a break of about five years when he did no activity before starting long-distance cycling.
Being in Nashik, which has produced a slew of endurance cyclists, bigger and more audacious plans was the natural way of being for Mr Bharaj.
Mr Bharaj said he will continue cycling and executing bigger plans in the future as well, and stressed that a lot is remaining to be achieved. The ''race against age'' clearly does not stop with the successful completion of an inspiring cycle ride.