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Snow mountain bike racing catches on in Kashmir

The top 14 cyclists of the Kashmir Valley competed in two recent snow mountain bike races this week according to the Greater Kashmir.

As part of the Gulmarg Snow Festival, organizers held a downhill snow mountain bike race which started at Gulmarg and finished at Tangmarg. The 14 kilometer race was held amid ongoing snowfall. Well-known local sportsman Riyaz Ahmad won with a time of 55 minutes and 20 seconds. Muzamil Mehraj and Tariq Ahmad finished second and third respectively.

A second mountain bike snow race was organized by the Department of Tourism. Shakeel Ahmad won despite heavy fog with a time of 22 minutes and 10 seconds ahead of Muzaffar and Riyaz Ahmad. In the low visibility conditions, three cyclists, Abid Amin, Tariq Ahmad and Umar Ahmad, crashed into each other, but all continued racing.

Given the success of the event, the Tourism department committed to future annual snow cycling events, not only in Gulmarg, but also at other tourist destinations within the valley. A state championships will be held sometime in January 2007 to decide a winner among 30 of the top local cyclists.

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