A total of 174 cyclists (166 men and eight women) successfully completed the ‘Pezzaad67’ cycle ride organised by Slopes and Bends cycling club in Ponda. The cycle ride was unique as it challenged the cyclists from all over Goa, Sawantwadi and Bengaluru to ride up to an elevation of 1,000 metres for the stipulated 67 kilometres to be completed within six hours. The route included difficult climbs of Farmagudi, Savoi Verem, Opa Khandepar, Nirankal, Konsheim, Shiroda, and Talaulim.
In the speed segment of the men’s category, the first place was won by Vasco-based engineer and accomplished ironman, Vinayak Gaonkar. In the same category, the second place was won by Pradip Kolhapte; while the third place was shared by Parshuram Koli and Jonah Countinho.
In the speed segment of the women’s category, the first place was won by Navelim-based dentist and experienced marathon runner, Blanche Themudo. In the same category, the second place was won by Pooja Jawahar; while the third place was won by Akshata Alornekar.
“I had never explored the scenic, interior village roads of Ponda with their slopes and bends,” said Gaonkar. Likewise Themudo said, “It was challenging to ride the steep slopes and hills of scenic Ponda.”
The event was flagged off from the premises of GVM’s higher secondary school, Farmagudi-Ponda at 6:30 a.m. by Goa’s international badminton player, Anura Prabhudesai.
The oldest cyclist at the event was 68-year-old Anoop Babani of Carmona village, while the youngest cyclist was 12-year-old Vicente Fernandes from Bandora. President of the Slopes and Bends club, Ajay Dongre said that the safety of the cyclists was ensured on the busy roads of Ponda by volunteers positioned at all important crossings. A Manipal hospitals’ ambulance was also on site for any medical emergencies. “All cyclists who completed the ride were presented with a finisher’s trophy,” said Dongre.