Lt. Col. Bharat Pannu from Rohtak, Haryana became the new record holder for the Fastest Cyclist To Cover Kashmir To Kanyakumari Route (K2K). Riding from Northern tip of India, Bharat Pannu covered a distance of 3600 kms and reached to the Southern tip passing 13 states enroute creating a Guinness World Record.
His journey was flagged off from Lal Chowk, Srinagar on 21st Oct, 1:49 am and culminated at Kanyakumari on 29th October, 11:37 am. Bharat Pannu managed to complete the challenge in 8 days 9 hours and 48 minutes, clocking a distance of 440 km a day thus setting a new World Record. The previous record for K2K was held by a Delhi based ultra cyclist Vikas Saroha, 10 days 3 hours and 32 minutes. The authorities at the Guinness Books of World Record will officially certify Bharat’s feat after completing routine formalities.
Bharat Pannu is an aeronautical engineer employed with Indian Army since June 2005 and currently posted in the Aviation Unit in Bangalore where he looks after maintenance of helicopters. He has ridden most of the long distance races in India and abroad. This includes the gruelling Race Across Austria (RAA) in 2017, and winning and setting course record at Inspire India’s Ultra Spice Race 2019. Inspire India created ‘Bharat Pannu Award’ owing to his three consecutive podium finishes at the Ultra Spice Race.
“I keep challenging myself to venture into the territory unexplored.”
Speaking about his experience Bharat said, “K2K ride was very important for me as I wanted to get back on saddle after the collar bone fracture in May 2019 during Race Across America attempt. My support team and I were feeling very low after the RAAM incident and I thought K2K ride would boost our morale. I am yet to fully recover from the shoulder flexibility issues after the fracture but the grounds are now set for the preparations for Race Across America 2020.”
He added, “We did not face any untoward incident during the K2K ride but due to the tense situation in Kashmir we had to plan our route accordingly, staying with the movement of traffic for safety. We faced some really bad patch of roads in central India, and it was a little challenging with Cyclone Kyarr hitting the Western Ghats and with all of Southern India under heavy rains.”
I was inclined towards cycling since childhood, but took the hobby seriously in December 2015.
Bharat Pannu started ultra-distance cycling in November 2016 when he was posted at Nashik. He was inspired by the achievements of Mahajan Brothers and other athletes, and stepped up into the league of ultra-cycling. There was no turning back thereafter and he conquered one challenge after the other. Pannu says, “Nashik has played a big role in shaping up as an athlete and has provided a perfect environment for my growth.”
My move to Nashik in September 2016 was the start point to set the wheels spinning and pedals rolling. The weather here was conducive for any sports activity and the Nashik Cyclists family was ever encouraging to everyone to pursue cycling as a leisure activity or as a sport. It all started with leisure rides and soon it escalated to higher level. I had set my goal to get the Super Randonneur title and become a RAAM Qualified Cyclist during my 2 years of Nashik tenure. I started Randonneuring from November 2016 and completed two titles of Super Randonneur within a short span of 5 months.
Bharat Pannu has been spreading the message of Go Green through his expeditions. He has even planted 5000 trees in Nashik supporting the cause. “Cycling helps me in drive home the message to protect the ecosystem” he said.
“We need to break self-created mental barriers which hamper our progress. We should think big and have untiring attitude to achieve the target despite all odds. Everyone is gifted; we just need to open the package.”
Photo credits: Team Bharat Pannu
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