After an inaugural season, an Indian army officer observes a bis 1200 km from Paris-Brest-Paris

NEW DELHI: Just out of his first stage in the unbearable Paris-Brest-Paris circuit, Indian Army lieutenant general Anil Puri He is eager to accomplish the feat again in the next edition of the long distance cycling event.

The Paris-Brest-Paris is France's oldest long-distance cycling event that began in 1891. The event begins in Paris, the cyclists go up to Brest and then return, covering a total of 1200kms.

The 56-year-old officer became the first serving general of the Indian Army to complete the event last month.

It was a very painful experience, but since each cloud has a positive side, I am very satisfied with my achievement. I learned many life lessons and it was a truly humiliating experience for me, said Puri.

Elated by his performance, Puri, who could not participate in 2015 due to some previous commitments, is now looking to compete in the next edition with his wife by his side.

My wife is an eye surgeon in the army. We both cycle together. We both plan to participate in the event in the next edition. That is the plan for now.

Puri joined the army in 1984. He is currently posted at the headquarters in Delhi and is working in the chief secretariat. He took up cycling four years ago in 2015 at the age of 51.

"I ran out of steam playing other games so I took up cycling . It was a gift I gave to myself at 51."

Since then, his cycle occupies a place of honor in his living room.

Before, my cycle used to stay under the stairs. Now he is in my living room.

The 19th edition of the PBP was attended by 6500 amateur cyclists. India sent 367 participants that included six cyclists from the defense forces.

To qualify for the event, cyclists must complete a series of short rides, organized around the world under the regulations of Audax Club Parisien , the organisers of PBP. Brevets are long distance cycling events starting from 200 km onwards with time limits.

In the main event, each participant must opt ​​for a time interval to complete the race in 80, 84 or 90 hours.

I chose the 90-hour slab and was able to cover the route in 90 hours and 25 minutes. Due to a last-minute route change, everyone was given an extra hour, Puri explained.

A participant has to take into account sleep, food, mechanical failures and other unforeseen incidents along the route that include a significant increase in elevation and fall. The total elevation is about 11,566 m, which is well above Mount Everest.

"I remember there was a Japanese participant who just slid from his cycle as he slept while cycling . You have to deal with everything on your own. You don't have any help available except at the control points."

It was not easy, we were constantly going up or down. While we were going down we were at speeds of more than 50 km and while we were going we went down to 5 km. It was very cold at night and very hot during the day with winds against everything along the route, said Puri, who lost about 7 kg after the event.

For the next edition, Puri has decided to train more in the mountains to navigate the mountainous terrain in France.

The Indian terrain is very different from the real route. It was only once I got there that I realized that we were not prepared. Delhi has no mountains, we used to go to the Gurgaon-Faridabad road to train, but next time I will definitely try to train more in the mountainous areas.