Cycling Enthusiasts Prepare for Mandalay Challenge

By Zarni Mann 22 December 2015

MANDALAY — In the last week of December, dozens of professional and amateur cyclists will take to the streets of Mandalay for a bicycle race now in its fourth year.

The Mandalay Hill Bike Challenge, organized by a group of local amateur cyclists, is now well-known across Mandalay Division and has received the backing of the Ministry of Sports and the Myanmar Cycling Federation.

This year for the first time, the mountain bike course will be complemented with a 17.2 km road race

“In the road race, both racers and mountain bikers will participate, racing along the city’s road heading to Mandalay Hill, going up the hill and finishing there,” said Aung Aung, the manager of Mandalay Free Rider group which organized the challenge.

Another event includes the 1,500 meter downhill off-terrain course, where mountain bikers will compete by negotiating the rocky slope of Mandalay Hill.

“There will be an elite level for the professionals, a master level for experienced bikers and an entry level for new bikers in the downhill race. A couple of professional bikers from Thailand will also compete,” Aung Aung said.

The challenge will be held on December 27 with at least 120 professional and amateur cyclists, including seven women and 10 elderly bikers, enrolled to compete so far.

Organizers said this year’s challenge will utilize a better judging system than in the past.

“Unlike past years where the organizers themselves had to serve as judges, we have hired experienced judges who took part in the Southeast Asian Games’ races this year. We will also assign ushers for the convenience of the racers,” Aung Aung said.

According to organizers, the number of participants in this year’s competition has risen compared with previous races.

“This will be the fourth time that Mandalay bikers and bike lovers have had such a race,” said author and cycling enthusiast Nyi Pu Lay. “Cycling is good for health and we are glad to see many Burmese youth still have affection for cycling and hope this culture will continue.”