He managed to “soft-pedal” even mighty elements like storms, showers and gusty winds of southern Tamil Nadu during the course of his cycling expedition from Kanyakumari to Chennai, but navigating his bike through the heavy traffic of his destination proved more tiring for M Vignesh.
The delay notwithstanding, a nomination in the Guinness Book of Records is likely for Vignesh, who managed to cover a massive distance of 717 km in 26 hours 45 minutes, clocking in 625 km during the first 24 hours.
The 18-year-old lad, a Class XI student from Tiruvarur, was burnt out as he reached his destination, with fatigue preventing him from even putting up a smile for photographers. A panting Vignesh explained as he gulped down bottles of water, “The expedition taught me what adversities one can encounter in life. From thunder and lightning to heavy winds and storms in total darkness, I’ve witnessed it all,” he said, adding that fear never clouded his ambition. Not even when a windstorm threatened to blow him away twice on the 200-km stretch between Nanguneri and Madurai.
“An entry into the Guinness Book of Records is possible, as people have not attempted this at 18. We will send photographs and videos of his feat to London,” said S Mohan, Vignesh’s father and a cycling coach, who himself figures in the Limca Book of Records for cycling through the two cities within 30 hours in 1998, aged 33. A State-level cyclist in his heyday, Mohan said his son had taken a natural liking to sports such as kho-kho, swimming and sprinting, though cricket never caught his fancy. Plans for the future? “God willing and provided we get the support, Vignesh would want to cycle from Kashmir to Kanyakumari,” said Mohan.