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The Sunday, 7th Jan’18, dawned with the kids showcasing their bicycle handling skills in The Samhita Academy MTB Challenge, a district level cycling competition for kids aged between 4 and 11. The event was hosted in the six-acre campus of The Samhita Academy CBSE School, a socially integrated school, located at Malumichampatti.
On her vision of the event, Ms. Kamakshi Jayaram, Associate Director – The Samhita Academy states, “The Samhita Way is to give kids a caring, creative and enriched environment. The next generation, future leaders of our country must be environmentally conscious and socially aware. An active well-balanced lifestyle goes miles in aiding this”
The event was conducted in the Enduro format, a form of mountain biking in which participants start in intervals and race through stages. The rider who accumulates the lowest cumulative time with all the stages put together is crowned the winner.
The track was a custom designed, six-hundred-meter circuit, in the school grounds which had its fair share of long straights, twists, technical sections and strategically placed challenges, whoops and single mounds. The hard-packed surface littered with pebbles added to the challenge being a tall one and definite guarantee for an adrenaline loaded race day.
The action started early with around 140 bright and beady eyed kids reporting for the race from 07:00 am onward. The participants checked in at the reporting station by presenting their BIB Numbers and were led to the pre-race briefing zone for a quick catch up on the race format and safety guidelines. The riders were allowed a trial lap to get acquainted with the track challenges and technical sections, post which the little engines were flagged off in 30 second intervals.
Five, Four, Three, Two and Go..!! There was excitement in the air every time a rider was off the start line. It was a sight to behold witnessing the kids sling shot their bikes through the corners, leap over the whoops and mounds and rocket on the straights. Yes of course, there were slips and falls, but we were looking at conquerors on a crusade, who handled these incidents with courage and were spirited to get back and finish the course. “Today I learnt more than a lesson about resilience and hitting hard time again. You fall to get back up stronger and smarter”, states Jeyamurugan who was heading the Emergency Medical Team from Ortho-One Orthopaedic Speciality Centre.
The timing crew at the start and the finish had the supreme responsibility of day, making sure that the start and finish timing is captured with surgical precision for each rider off the start line. The eagerness and anticipation of the parents flocking the timing boards said it all. Seconds were munched to milliseconds for the top spots and it was a supercharged environment on and off the track.
The icing on the cake was the race of the 4 and 5-year-old champs. In a wink, the track was altered to skip the hoops for the kids loop. The tiny tots raced through the course on their bicycles some donning trainer wheels and pom-poms. The Barbie and Ben 10 bicycles transformed to dirt slugging machines and pretty – mean made more sense than just an oxymoron. The objective was plain and simple for the group, ride or race but finish at pace in style.
On his experience from the event, “The track is the best that I have been to for a cycling event. The safety measures that were in place gave me the confidence to let my son ride it out without worry. Yes, the course conditions changed and got a lot more challenging as more riders when through, but that does add to the fun element”, states Beno, whose son Aaron participated in the 4-5 category.
Practice makes it perfect, is just not an age-old adage. “We came down for the practice session on Saturday and were pleasantly surprised by the track layout. Steve did a few loops in the course to assess the layout. The track is a little technical in nature and the track assessment did pay off”, exclaims Vimal parent of Steve Antonio, the winner in the boys (8-9) category.
“We believe in creating a lasting impression and transforming lives. We wanted to give the kids a unique experience that can bring out the best in them and act as a fire-starter. I believe, this is in-line with the twofold premise of The Samhita Academy”, states Mr. Shankar Gajendran, an IIM-A and IIT Chennai alumnus who heads Team Samhita in Coimbatore.
To sum it up, it was a day that dawned early, where we witnessed some electrifying action by little hearts on the dirt tracks with pretty – mean bicycles topped up with some enthusiastic racing by the parents too…!!
Thanks for reading.. Have you witnessed kids cycling events? What do you feel about cycling events for kids? Or if you have any feedback on an event organised by Tryspsorts.. do drop a note by leaving a comment below..!!