Bangalore: Samim Rizvi, the only Indian to ever qualify for the Race Across America (RAAM), known to be the world’s toughest cycling race, has got a leap start no doubt. Sponsored by LeapStart, India’s premier physical education and sports program, Samim pedaled his way to glory this Wednesday.
“Championing excellence through sports in schools is our motto. Samim has and continues to overcome physical human limits to achieve what few have. A ‘never say die’ attitude, taking the road less travelled, persevering where others have given up, and succeeding against the odds… these are qualities that this program believes in and lives by,” said Leap Start Chairperson and MD, Dev Roy.
The RAAM, is trans-continental, ultra-marathon bicycle race across the United States that started in 1982 as the Great American Bike Race. The race direction has always been from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States, approximately 3,000 miles (4,800 km) in about a week.
Rizvi is the only Indian ever to qualify for the Race Across America, known to be world's toughest cycling race.
In 2011, Samim completed this distance in 12 days and 40 minutes, while competing with 20 other people. This year, his aim is to complete the same distance in just 10 days.
Samim is an engineer by qualification, a perfume scientist by profession and a martial arts/fitness trainer. He is a multifaceted and versatile athlete, an ultra-endurance cyclist. Samim is the only Indian and third Asian to ever qualify for RAAM. The RAAM route is 3000 miles long with 170,000 feet of climbing, traversing the United States through rugged mountain regions, cold country-sides, beautiful river territory and the long endless rolling hills of Kansas and West Virginia.
Asked why he tests himself to the limit and beyond, Samim said: “To prove that nothing is impossible… once you put your mind to it, you can do anything… the secret is to never give up.” Samim, surely the ‘Star of the Week’, answered a few questions for City Express:
How did you take a fancy for cycling?
A life long passion, starting from age 10, renting cycles for 50 paise in Mumbai and racing in local Mumbai roads.
How many hours do you cycle?
Few hours a day to long rides on weekends, which include riding from Bangalore to Ooty or Bangalore to Hyderabad depending on training intensity.
Any major cycling events that you have won?
No major cycling events. Currently ranked No 16 in UMCA ranking in endurance cycling.
Which is the bicycle you race on and what is the cost?
Specialised S-Works and it costs a whopping Rs 4.5 lakh.
What are your expectations from this race in US?
To finish strong in 10 days and to be the first official finisher from India that brings the first International medal in the cycling field to the country.
Your personal background in brief.
I am from Mumbai but have moved to Bangalore for family business. There is no one in the family with the same interest in cycling though many of my family members are interested in sports in general.
Who is your cycling idol, if any?
Jurie Robic, a five-time RAAM winner, who showed how tough one can be. Lance Armstrong for his ability to overcome odds and perform with single minded focus.