By Chenelle Fernando
We have decathlons, triathlons, and numerous marathons that test and push mankind to their limits. A 24-hour bicycle challenge on the other hand is a rare occasion and is almost never heard of. Race the Pearl makes its mark as the first-ever bicycle race to have done this, and is considered to be the ultimate endurance challenge by Yasas Hewage, Race Organiser and Founder of the renowned Spinners.
The challenge is set to start from Dondra Head, across the island, all the way to Point Pedro where participants will travel 600 km over a span of 24 hours. Not only will this test one’s endurance, but added to it are the picturesque views whilst trailing through what nature’s got to offer. Participants will ride through a varied mix of terrain of pan flat, straight narrow roads, uphills and downhills, green and barren land, all circling from daylight through to night time.
The core cause the organisers wish to further, according to Yasas, is collecting funds for children with cerebral palsy. Whilst Sri Lanka is a nation which consists of a number of individuals who live with this condition, around 10,000 of them, we were told, are in need of wheelchairs. Children with this condition specifically may require the assistance of wheelchairs to be able to engage in the most simplest of activities such as going to school or just moving around their house. Interestingly, Yasas shed light on how they’ve been able to raise funds for over 2,000 wheelchairs over the past four years, in collaboration with an organisation named Wheels for Wheels.
“When we ride with our wheels on a bicycle, we wish to add wheels to a wheelchair,” said Yasas.
The next monumental reason attributed to the organisation of this unique event is in light of celebrating 71 years of independence. They wish to highlight this message by carrying the national flag throughout the course of the challenge. “Most people who are involved in this race are people who have ridden bicycles around Sri Lanka whilst enjoying the freedom we’ve received over the years,” said Yasas.
This event is an important occasion that furthers a true mark of potential for Sri Lankan tourism. “It’s a beautiful country; we can easily market it as an exhilarating yet fun event,” said Yasas. With all these eventful effects at hand, this celebratory ride will surely be a tale that’ll be heard by the generations to come.