5,328 meters above sea level, Naresh and Shivani stood still, absorbing every second of the heavenly backdrop that seemingly continued till infinity. Their cycles parked at a distance, amidst heavy winds and sparse oxygen, they met again. At this point in time, they knew each other better than ever before.
“Cycling gives us moments where we ride next to each other without talking, which is actually great…” exclaims Naresh, as Shivani goes on to complete his sentence, “And when you see your partner pushing his limits, it feels great!”
After having tied the knot four years ago, Naresh Gupta and Shivani Elhance consider cycling to be the catalyst in their marriage.
The couple from Ghatkopar signed up for a cycling expedition which included a tour of Jaisalmer in December 2015 organized by Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI).
“We saw forts, we got to see the beautiful city, and somewhere in between, we rediscovered our love for cycling” reminisced Naresh.
However, it was only after they joined Ghatkopar Cyclists Club (GCC) that they fell in love with their vigour for cycling. Shivani believes the decision to join the GCC was not merely to pursue cycling.
“I work in an office and Naresh works as a freelance consultant. So, most of his colleagues are virtual - they are stationed in different countries! That’s why I wanted him to go out and interact with people.”
Apart from that, the duo had never gotten a chance to see the city; hence, after joining the GCC, they started exploring the alleyways and bylanes of Mumbai.
The couple that finished the Super Randonneur Brevet series in October 2017 did face a couple of roadblocks on their journey. While they finished 200 and 300 km rides without breaking a sweat, they could barely accomplish the next milestone.
Shivani remembers, “We had to quit at 350 km with two and a half hours in hand. I had some knee issue and he wasn’t too well either. It was very disappointing to see the DNF (Did Not Finish) tag next to your name, it was very frustrating!”
With time in hand until their 400 km brevet, the twosome attempted the toughest of all challenges - the 600 km brevet. It was after this attempt that Naresh and Shivani decided to work on the complications that hurdled their path to success.
Naresh explains, “That’s when we decided to go back to the drawing board and work on the basics. We trained together and pushed each other.”
On 7th October, they conquered the final frontier and finished the Super Randonneur Brevet series.
“It was something magical. We had been trying to finish and there were people in the GCC group who looked up to us and believed in our abilities. Hence, it was just phenomenal to finally do it,” says Shivani, as she holds on to Naresh’s arm.
Habituated by daily cycling, staying fit has become a priority for this adventurous couple as through it, Naresh and Shivani found a way to connect with each other amidst their compressed office routines.