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Sat, 24 Aug 2019

Northeast Today

Meghalaya’s son, Winward Sangma, creates history pedaling through the Himalayas

Meghalaya’s son, Winward Sangma, creates history pedaling through the Himalayas
July 01
17:54 2019

|Dipanti Lahon|

Winward Sangma, a 20-year-old endurance cyclist from Meghalaya started his historic BMX ride on 21st June 2019 to the Himalayas from Besisahar, Nepal. As Sangma mentions, the starting point was a steep hill of Besisahar and the journey lasted till the troupe reached Lake Tilicho that lies in the heart of Himalayan Mountains.

 

 

Winward

The lake is nestled in Manang District of Nepal and is regarded as the highest lake due to its large size to be settled in an altitude of 4,919 meters (16,138 ft). Manang is located at a distance of 55 kilometers (34 mi) as the crow flies from the city of Pokhara. It was a 111 km ride in steep Himalayan Mountains.

It is required mentioning that prior to this stop at the Himalayas, Winward and the troupe had been riding through Myanmar and Bhutan starting from his homeland of Meghalaya.

On this momentous ride, the young cyclist was accompanied by another MTB rider, Hopesent Marak, and a professional media team which includes Anup J Sarmah and Steve Johari. The entire team is from Shillong (India) as Winward is one of the Managers of the first Skatepark in Northeast India which is VizibilityZero.

Winward’s troupe was hosted by a team called Pangro which is an outdoor event management team in Kathmandu who also promotes cycling community in Nepal. This crew helped them with their permits and some knowledge and must needed guidance for this groundbreaking ride.

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The Challenges:

Sangma said they set out for the record making ride on a monsoon season in Nepal, due to which they had to face numerous difficulties throughout the journey. Due to extreme weather the troupe’s luggage, clothes and some of their essential electronics were soaked and damaged. Despite the odds, Winward’s team continued their ride without keeping a break and completed the same on day 8.

Winward rode in those paths where it was impossible to pedal through with BMX. Successfully, the record of being the first BMX’er to ride from Besisahar till Tilicho Lake, with a single speed BMX bike was set by this unstoppable young lad.

Speaking about his journey, Winward mentioned feeling uncomfortable with the brakes of his BMX while riding through treacherous paths, which led him to ride the entire trip with just front brakes. He also speaks of an incident where the team got fortunate enough to cross a bridge on time. After an hour of crossing the bridge, the troupe received news that the bridge had collapsed and there was no way left for the locals to commute to nearby places.

The 60% of the ride had to be ridden in the steep mounts of Himalayas which was impossible with BMX. As they rode up to the mountains and got to the higher altitudes, the oxygen level started falling and that led to a lot of physical turmoil. When they were just 20km away from their destination they said they had to keep garlic in their mouth which they believe, had helped them in breathing. Sangma said it was this very technique for which they could complete their trip or else they wouldn’t have made it back.

Sangma most of the times had to use the trekking route and carry his bike along with 15kg loaded bags, he says it was the hardest ride for him in his life but he also said that “The harder the battle, The sweeter the victory.

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A much-needed message:

The Moto for the ride was “Save Trees, Save the Earth”.

Through this record-setting ride, the team wanted to spread a noteworthy message on the needs of trees. Winward called the Lake an ideal place to spread a message regarding climate change and environmental issue. On his ride amidst the beautiful Himalayan Mountains, Winward was astounded by the scenic views. At the same time, the troupe noticed that the snow that was covering most of the mountains till dawn started melting around 10 in the morning and gigantic rivers started flowing through the mountains. Sangma said, that sight made him feel very vulnerable.

 

Winward (1 of 5)

As the Ride Concludes:

With the trip to the highest lake, Sangma has engraved his name in history as no one else has ridden till this lake with BMX freestyle bike. Sangma and his team are working on the documents for the World record team and soon will be verified.

Winward says he tried knocking many doors for sponsorships for his trip but the approach wasn’t appreciated by many. However, Winward received helping hands from his parents following with some of his close contacts, sponsors and great friends as listed below:

. Arshel Akhter

. Tod Fod

. Pro_Cycling

. Max Ex

. Nikhilesh Deka

. Zealot BMX

.Tabrez Ahmad

. Akash Bhawal

. August Phawa

. Pangro

. Northeast Today

. Brut India

. DSACCD team

. TNT

. Deepanti Lahon

. Red FM

. Chong Sangma

. Desmond Sunn.

The rider said, without them, he wouldn’t have been able to push himself for the challenging trip and create history.

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