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Indian Origin Srinivas Gokulnath, Amit Samarth Create History By Completing World’s Toughest Cycle Race Across America

More than twelve Indian riders qualified for RAAM in the past decade through special rides that take place in different regions like the Deccan plateau, the Thar desert and the hills of southern India

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Gokulnath is the first indian to cross Race Across America
Mountain Biking. Pixabay
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  • Srinivas Gokulnath marked history by becoming the first Indian to complete the toughest cycle race in the world – RAAM
  • Dr Amit Samarth  trailed behind him at the finish line
  • Gokulnath stood 7th amongst the nine men who finished whereas Samarth stood 8th

June 27, 2017: Srinivas Gokulnath marked history by becoming the first Indian to complete what is known to be the toughest cycle race in the world. He completed 4900 km Race Across America (RAAM) in solo category in the stretch of Eleven days, 18 hours and 45 minutes after setting out from California.

Dr Amit Samarth of Nagpur, trailed behind him at the finish line at Annapolis on American east coast around midnight today as per the Indian Standard time.

Gokulnath, a doctor by training, is an aerospace medicine professional working with the Army in Nashik. He was timed out last year after pedalling at RAAM for nearly 3,000 km. Samarth, on the other side, completed the race in his earliest trial. Apart from Rizvi and Gokulnath, Sumit Patil from Alibag was the only one to have tried the race in the past.

Springing from the moderate weather on the Pacific Coast, the race opens the furnace-like Mojave Desert, crosses through parched Arizona, freezing mountain passes in Colorado, windy plains in Central America, and ultimately, the Appalachian Mountains test the riders before they reach the Atlantic coast on the east.

Gokulnath stood 7th amongst the nine men who finished whereas Samarth stood 8th. Christoph Strasser stood out as the winner of the race.

Team Sahyadri Cyclists, from Gokulnath’s hometown of Nashik, ceased the race in the 4-men category in eight days and ten hrs today.

According to PTI report, riders have to pedal over 400 km a day to finish the race in the stipulated 12 days. Fatigueness and hallucinations are not uncommon with so much unrest.

“I am relieved…that is the feeling I am going through right now,” said Lt Colonel Gokulnath at the finish line.

In the history of three-decade, only three Indians had endeavoured RAAM solo, however, none could reach the finish line. The first Indian to try RAAM solo, Samim Rizvi also participated this year but couldn’t complete. Gokulnath stated he went through the upheaval of emotions right from the inception of the race, which he called a relentless effort from the moment one signs up for it.

More than twelve Indian riders qualified for RAAM in the past decade through special rides that take place in different regions like the Deccan plateau, the Thar desert and the hills of southern India.

After qualifying the RAAM, one has to endure exhausting training sessions for several months and do simulated multi-day rides with a uniquely collected crew. One also requires for arranging the finances that run up to over Rs 20 lakh for the race and more for training, mentioned PTI report.

Satish Patki, who virtually introduced distance cycling in the country over a decade ago, congratulated the finishers saying the resources required make it an exclusive club, but there is a huge dormant for endurance riding in India too which can be traversed by conducting domestic races.

– prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94

 

 

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California Cuts Coffee Off From Cancer Causing Chemicals

The state’s action rejects that ruling.

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A posted Proposition 65 warning sign is seen on display at a coffee shop in Burbank, Calif., March 30, 2018.
A posted Proposition 65 warning sign is seen on display at a coffee shop in Burbank, Calif., March 30, 2018. VOA

California officials, having concluded coffee drinking is not a risky pastime, are proposing a regulation that will essentially tell consumers of America’s favorite beverage they can drink up without fear.

The unprecedented action Friday by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to propose a regulation to clear coffee of the stigma that it could pose a toxic risk followed a review of more than 1,000 studies published this week by the World Health Organization that found inadequate evidence that coffee causes cancer.

The state agency implements a law passed by voters in 1986 that requires warnings of chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects. One of those chemicals is acrylamide, which is found in many things and is a byproduct of coffee roasting and brewing present in every cup of joe.

Win for coffee industry

If the regulation is adopted, it would be a huge win for the coffee industry, which faces potentially massive civil penalties after recently losing an 8-year-old lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court that could require scary warnings on all coffee packaging sold in California.

Judge Elihu Berle found that Starbucks and other coffee roasters and retailers had failed to show that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed any cancer risks. He had previously ruled the companies hadn’t shown the threat from the chemical was insignificant.

The state’s action rejects that ruling.

“The proposed regulation would state that drinking coffee does not pose a significant cancer risk, despite the presence of chemicals created during the roasting and brewing process that are listed under Proposition 65 as known carcinogens,” the agency said in a statement. “The proposed regulation is based on extensive scientific evidence that drinking coffee has not been shown to increase the risk of cancer and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.”

A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. State health officials proposed a regulation change Friday that would declare coffee doesn't present a significant cancer risk, countering a California court ruling.
A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. State health officials proposed a regulation change Friday that would declare coffee doesn’t present a significant cancer risk, countering a California court ruling. VOA

Unprecedented move

Attorney Raphael Metzger, who won the court case on behalf of The Council for Education and Research on Toxics, said he was shocked the agency would move to nullify the court decision and undermine its own report more than a decade ago that drinking even small amounts of coffee resulted in a significant cancer risk.

“The takeaway is that the state is proposing a rule contrary to its own scientific conclusion. That’s unprecedented and bad,” Metzger said. “The whole thing stinks to high hell.”

The National Coffee Association had no comment on the proposed change. In the past, the organization has said coffee has health benefits and that the lawsuit made a mockery of the state law intended to protect people from toxics.

Scientific evidence on coffee has gone back and forth over many years, but concerns have eased recently about possible dangers, with some studies finding health benefits.

Big Coffee didn’t deny that acrylamide was found in the coffee, but argued it was only found at low levels and was outweighed by other benefits such as antioxidants that reduce cancer risk.

Coffee beans
Coffee beans, Pixabay

Congress

The state agency’s action comes about a week after bipartisan bills were introduced in both houses of Congress to require science-based criteria for labels on food and other products. One of the sponsors, Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, alluded to the California coffee lawsuit as an example of misleading warnings.

“When we have mandatory cancer warnings on a cup of coffee, something has gone seriously wrong with the process,” Schrader said in a news release. “We now have so many warnings unrelated to the actual health risk posed to consumers, that most people just ignore them.”

The lawsuit against Starbucks and 90 companies was brought by the tiny nonprofit under a law that allows private citizens, advocacy groups and attorneys to sue on behalf of the state and collect a portion of civil penalties for failure to provide warnings.

The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, better known as Proposition 65, requires warning labels for about 900 chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.

Also read: What Does Your Coffee Say About You?

The law has been credited with reducing cancer-causing chemicals, but it has been criticized for leading to quick settlement shakedowns and vague warnings that are often ignored. (VOA)