The Deccan Cliffhanger 2016 – Race Report

Ila Patil of Pune, creates history becoming the first Indian woman to Qualify for RAAM in India

Pune-Bogmalo – 5th-6th Nov 2016 – The 4th Edition of the Ultra Cycle race The Deccan Cliffhanger proved to be very exciting.

The race was flagged off from The Cliff, Forest Trails, Bhugaon, by some of Pune’s most inspiring names in cycling. Ulhas and Gayatri Joshi who have been riding long distances for decades and have fostered the growth of cycling in Pune. Divyanshu Ganatra, whose inability to see, has not stopped him from having an incredible vision, nor stopped him from doing outdoor sports. Gagan Grover, who enabled Divyanshu by partnering him on a Tandem bicycle to ride from Manali to Khardungla recently.

32 solo racers and 21 teams each started between 5:00 am-6:30 am, heading south to climb up Mahabaleshwar, and then continue to Dharwad over rolling terrain, before descending the Anmod Ghat to Goa.

The route and the climate proved to be tough. Only 12 of the total 31 people who stood at the solo start line finished in RAAM Qualification timings. 10 others finished within Inspire India time and 1 outside that time limit. 8 did not finish the distance. This is a RAAM Qualifier Race…. we didn’t say it was going to be easy! Among the 21 teams, 21 finished within the time limits of 30 or 31 hours, and 1 finished outside of their time limit.

Till the Mahabaleshwar control point some solos had managed to stay ahead of the field, but by Satara most teams, who are flagged off later and have less time to finish, were leading the field of racers on the road. Akshay Chougale set an excellent pace and maintained his speed throughout, only losing time at Belgaum where Race Officials had to stop him till his lights were fixed. Another solo racer who set a very good pace was Anand Patil who was the only contestant in the solo 50+ age group. Ila Patil too riding strong and steady throughout the race.

Pune 4 person Team ‘Sweat in Practice, Bleed in Battle’ crossed the Finish line 1st in a cracking 22 hrs and 2 mins, winning first place in their category. They were followed by another Pune Team 4 person Team ‘Axis’ who got second place in their category and Mumbai 3 person Team ‘Wurlee 545 Lost’ who won first place in their category. The next to arrive were Pune 2 person Team ‘Cymour Relay Spirit’ winning first place and second place winners 2 person Team ‘Yellowcycle’.

In the men’s race Akshay Chougale finished 1st in the SOLO 18-49 age category in 26 hrs and 46 mins. At the finish line he was followed by Anand Patil, who won first place in the 50+ age group and was third overall among the solos. Preet Singh of Mumbai came in second in the 18-49 age group followed by Dattatray Chakor of Nasik.

SOLOIn the women’s race Ila Patil finished in 32hrs and 14mins to become the first and only woman from India to qualify for the Race Across America. Zaara Syed rode strong to finish the distance within Inspire India timings of 35 hrs and 31mins.


Deccan Cliffhanger 2016 Results

RAAM Qualified Racers – Deccan Cliffhanger

7 Racers completed The Deccan Cliffhanger Solo within the RAAM qualification timings in Feb 2014.
And in Nov 2014, 3 Solo Racers completed within qualification timings and qualified for RAAM.
The riders who are now qualified to race in RAAM, are listed below.


Shusanah PillingerFeb 2014
Karthik PadmanabhanFeb 2014
Mahendra MahajanFeb 2014
Hitendra MahajanFeb 2014
Gyanendra SharmaFeb 2014
Prashant TidkeFeb 2014
Sundaram.NFeb 2014
Chaitanya VelhalNov 2014
Apurv VermaNov 2014
Srinivas GokulnathNov 2014
Michael LehnigNov 2015
Chaitanya VelhalNov 2015
Apurv Verma Nov 2015
Gaurav YadavNov 2015
Amit SamarthNov 2015
Rahul KotabageNov 2015
Srinivas GokulnathNov 2015
ammar miyaji Nov 2015
Nitin TakaleNov 2015