Physical fitness is important for everyone! But Anjali Bhalinge took it to the next level when she started her preparation for the 2002 Kailash Manasarovar Yatra in Sinhagad. This introduced her to some of Pune’s top fitness and adventure experts. The engineer, who ran her own export company, was so motivated that at the age of 40, she began cycling, swimming, and jogging actively. And now, she has added another feather to her cap by completing the ultra-cycling race, Paris-Brest-Paris!
Pune’s Anjali Bhalinge Completes Paris-Brest-Paris!
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In addition to finishing the Boston Marathon and qualifying as a cyclist for the Race Across America (RAAM), Anjali Bhalinge won the Ironman title at the age of 50. The now 56-year-old is the first person from Pune to finish the tough Paris-Brest-Paris ultra-cycling race, one of the oldest cycling competitions in the world dating back to 1891.
In an interview with The Indian Express, she stated that completing the PBP in the stipulated time of 90 hours is a seriously prestigious feather in one’s cycling cap. The Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP), a cycling carnival conducted every four years, requires participants to complete a series of endurance rides of 200, 300, 400, and 600 km in order to qualify for this event that spans a distance of around 1,220 kilometres. The ride that started on August 20 had to be finished in 90 hours.
She further notes that it is a self-supported ride, not a race, from beginning to end. Lights, a tool kit, extra tubes, rain and cold-weather clothes, food supplies, and other items must be carried by the participants. A good setup and careful planning are helpful. It’s crucial to carefully organise your eating and sleeping times. If one doesn’t get enough sleep, they risk having hallucinations, falling off their bike, and taking the wrong path.
Cyclists Gather At Rambouillet Near Paris
The starting town of Rambouillet, which is outside of Paris, is where cyclists from all over the world gather. They all travel together to share the road with more than 6,000 cyclists from more than 60 nations.
She was able to complete the ride flawlessly and well within the allotted times at each control point. In fact, she had two hours to spare because she was within the 90-hour time frame! The exact time of her ride was 87 hours, 59 minutes, and 50 seconds. When she returned to Rambouillet, people were cheering for her near the castle and gave her a warm welcome.
At her age, PBP was actually never on her thoughts, even though some people have bucket lists. But again, she has always travelled by bicycle.
Cover Image Courtesy: Anjali Bhalinge/ Facebook