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April 2, 2013 divider image

28th March Regular Meeting – Mrs Divya Tate

The regular meeting of 28th March generated lot of excitement due to unusual topic (Randonneuring). The speaker was Mrs Divya Tate from Pune, the only lady Randonneurer from India. Randonneuring is basically a long distance cycling sports with its origin in France. Audex Club Parisien (ACP) is the international governing body for this endurance sport. Unlike a race where position matters, here each rider receive equal recognition regardless of their finishing order. Divya Spoke about how she came to know about this. She had been into cycling for long time. A small initiative for healthy lifestyle soon turned into passion.

An interior designer by profession, Divya soon got attracted to this fascinating event also called as Brevets. Some of the famous brevets are Paris – Brest – Paris and London – Edinburgh – London. Randonneuring being endurance event is also difficult for the fact that the riders are expected to be self sufficient between the control points. She explained the different types of brevets. The most popular is 200 km but there are other brevets also like 300, 400 and 600 km. Anyone completing all these four in a single season is called Super Randonneurer. Again Divya is one of them and the only lady from India to achieve this honour. With a time limit of 13 1⁄2 hour for 200 km, 20 hr., 27 Hr. and 40 hrs for 300, 400 and 600 km respectively, rider has to maintain an average speed of 15-20 kmph. She shared the joy and the pain of undertaking this rigorous event. Climate, food and terrain are big challenges. But with more than 120 years of legacy behind the event, the people are very enthusiastic and offer food, drink to riders even at midnight.

The brevet attracts many riders from across the world and the inspiration one gets from different riders is amazing. Riders come with different types of bike like recumbent, tandem bikes, triple. There was a rider who is amputee and rides with only one leg. Then there is another rider who has completed brevet by backward paddling. The oldest person to complete the ride is 80 years. This and similar stories lift the spirit and make you do it once more.

On being asked why would somebody does it, she said the challenge itself is self-propelling. The satisfaction, confidence and the resolve that comes with surviving pain is immense. We have sporting heroes who have excelled but fallen from grace. The recent example of Lance Armstrong and Pistorius is case in point. You may want to do it for various reason but for her the inspiration that she could give to others, share the stories, the legacy that would be built, and the opportunity that can be tapped by future generations are some of the reason why brevets still attract her.

Now she is preparing for 1200 km brevet 2015 and the mother of all RAAM (Race across America). She has already enrolled as crew-member for this year’s RAAM.

Earlier 3 new members were inducted to the club. Sheela Singhee introduced the speaker and Rtn Alok Goenka proposed vote of thanks.

-Parag Paranjpe

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