Shimla:Seventy-six cyclists set out from here Saturday to conquer the lofty mountains for the sixth edition of the Hercules MTB Himachal 2010 - the country`s toughest cycle rally.
During the 500 km expedition, the cyclists will test their level of endurance, skill and luck on rocky mountains.
`The mountain biking started from Shimla`s ridge and will pass through Mandi and Kullu districts,` Mohit Sood, president of the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), told to reportes.
He said 76 participants, including 11 foreigners, would compete in men solo, women solo and open masters (above 40 years) and teams of two categories.
The rally, flagged off by state Health Minister Rajeev Bindal, would conclude in Shimla Oct 30. `The rally would also pass through the Jalori Pass (at 3,223 metres), the highest point in the rally in Kullu district,` Sood said.
The teams representing the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police are also participating.
The foreign participants are from the US, Austria, Germany, Nepal and Bhutan.
Covering the most rugged and inhospitable terrain, the Hercules MTB Himachal has been billed as the third toughest mountain biking event in the world. The other two are Trans-Alps Challenge in Europe and Trans Rockies in Canada.