MOUNTAIN BIKING - A PART OF A BIGGER CULTURE IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH
By Anissa Lamare
Arunachal Pradesh, a land heavily blessed with high mountainous ranges, forests and rivers, and is deeply rooted in many indigenous cultures. Having more than twenty tribes, the region celebrates their resources through dance, folk songs, local breweries and food. A recently concluded festival, Moopin / Mopin Agricultural Festival, which takes place every April, is greatly honoured by the Galo tribe of the region. Every year the festival fuses local culture with a touch of the modern convention as well. This year, the festival blended mountain biking to promote cycling, which credits the event’s theme; Preservation of Nature and Culture.
MTB Moopin 2021 was a four-day event starting on April 4th and concluded on April 7th, 2021. The event spread across the charming towns of Likabali, Basar and Aalo and comprised of two primary races; Stage Cross Country (XCM) and Downhill for two categories, Hardtail and Full Suspension. The former ran through three stages of 44 km, 52 km and 61 km on the three days and towns, respectively.
Since the festival celebrates agricultural bounty, the racing event also witnessed the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Shri. Pema Khandu flag off the first stage of the XCM race. The event was organised by three districts and their cycling associations; namely Lower Siang, Leparada, and West Siang District Cycling Association under the ambit of Arunachal Amateur Bicycling Association ( AABA).
The event received massive support from varied ventures like Dukandada, Tirbin Valley Green Tea and Osie Garde. Spokehub Cycling, GearUp and Itanagar Cycling Meet provided the technical support needed for the race.
Event Director Ijum Gadi remains optimistic about making the event bigger in the years to come and alluded that “cycling is the fastest growing sport in Arunachal Pradesh in the recent years”.
The event became a part of the festival, the community and their celebrations because it offers a different perspective to cycling as a sport in the local region. It also helps in promoting eco-tourism in the region through cultural tours and festivals like Mopin / Moopin.
MTB Moopin 2021 is the second mountain biking race that has happened in the Northeast since the 2020 lockdown. Though the number of participants was less, the effort was noble and goes a long way in the racing community.
In fact, for a change, the race winners saw a change in the prizes. Robin Darius from Bengaluru took the initiative to sponsor tools like shovel and garden scissors for digging and making proper trails.
It is safe to say the first edition of MTB Moopin 2021 was a success because of the people who were a part of it. The event director asserts and promises bigger things in the future.
Check out the results of the race below:
DH (Full Suspension)
1. Ismamul Howk (Assam)
2. Bommo Riba (Arunachal Pradesh)
3. Debabrat Konwar (Assam)
1. Nicolas Shyrti (Meghalaya)
2. Er. Tung Sono (Arunachal)
3. Er. Marter Riba (Arunachal)
XCM (Three - Stage Race)
1. Gollo Joseph
2. Tajum Dere
3. Maninder Singh