From Novice to Champion: Sahadev Sahoo’s Inspiring Journey in Long-Distance Sports

By Debamitra Mishra

As an exceptional athlete who has left an indelible mark of long-distance cycling and running, Odisha’s Sahadev Sahoo’s journey in the world of sports began in 2021 when he embarked on his first long-distance ride. It was a 200 BRM organized by the Bhubaneswar Cycling and Adventurous Club, affiliated with Audax India cycling club. From that moment, he never looked back. With numerous accolades and records to his name, Sahadev shares about his journey thus far with us.

1- Achieving Titles as a Randonneur and Super Randonneur:

Q: You’ve achieved titles as a Randonneur and Super Randonneur from Audax India cycling club. Could you share the challenges and rewards of participating in long-distance cycling events?

A: Participating in long-distance cycling events presents various challenges, with mental and physical endurance being paramount. These sports heavily rely on mental fitness, often determining whether we cross the finish line. While our bodies may falter, our minds play a crucial role. Balancing this, we must also listen to our bodies. The ultimate reward of long-distance rides is profound self-discovery. It’s about understanding who you are, why you do it, and what you’re capable of. When you reach that finish line, you feel an incredible surge of power and confidence. So, remember, “Don’t limit your challenge, challenge your limits.”

2- Completing Various Long-Distance Rides:

Q: You’ve completed various long-distance rides, ranging from 200 km to 1200 km. What motivates you to take on these challenging rides, and can you share any memorable experiences from your journeys?

A: Nature and I share an unbreakable bond. I’m drawn to the deep jungles and the lap of nature, and cycling provides a perfect means to embrace it. Nothing distracts me when I’m on my bike, no matter the time. Being in tune with nature is essential for genuine enjoyment during each moment.

My professional cycling journey commenced in September 2021 with a 200 BRM ride organized by the Bhubaneswar Cycling and Adventurous Club. It was an Audax India cycling club initiative based in France. That ride marked my first long-distance adventure, and I never looked back. Over time, I tackled distances from one milestone to another. My personal best stands at 1000 km in 72 hours and 1200 km in 90 hours.

3- Balancing Cycling and Running:

Q: In addition to cycling, you’ve participated in half-marathons across the country. How do you balance your passion for both cycling and running and do they complement each other in any way?

A: My passion and profession are separate worlds. Turning cycling into a profession is a challenging endeavor. Thus, I devote my mornings and weekends to cycling and running, while my professional work occupies the rest of my time. The synergy between cycling and running is undeniable. Running enhances my performance in long-distance rides, while cycling has provided me with a means to break away from the digital world and find solace in nature.

4- Completing Your Dream Full Marathon:

Q: Congratulations on completing your dream 1st Full Marathon (42.2km) at the NMDC Hyderabad Marathon. Can you describe the emotions and sense of accomplishment you felt during that race?

A: The NMDC Hyderabad Marathon is one of India’s few international standard marathons. With 26 thousand participants and over a lakh school and college students cheering us along the routes, it was an extraordinary experience. Every inch of the 42.2km route was filled with encouragement. The entire city of Hyderabad rallied behind us, making it a race to remember. I would eagerly participate in every edition of this marathon.

5- Recognized Records and Achievements:

Q: You’re recognized by several sports organizations and hold records in the India Book of Records and Asia Book Of Records. Could you share your thoughts on being one of the youngest Indian Cyclists to complete the 1200 km LRM brevet with an MTB in under 90 hours?

A: Completing the 1200km LRM cycling in 90 hours was an unexpected honor. After finishing the ride, I learned that I was the youngest Indian to accomplish this feat. I proudly hold records in both the India Book of Records and the Asia Book of Records, officially approved on February 13, 2023. This milestone marked the first edition of the 1200km LRM cycling event in Odisha, and 7 other cyclists from Odisha were first-timers to conquer it.

6- Pursuing Passions alongside Professions:

Q: What advice would you give to individuals looking to pursue their passions alongside their professions, as you have done with cycling and running?

A: To pursue your passion alongside your profession, remain authentic, and dedicated to your work. Love what you do, whether it’s your passion or profession, and stay focused on the present to reap rewards in the future. Embrace a disciplined lifestyle, and remember that consistency is key to achieving your goals. Taking the first step towards your dreams is the most vital step, so start each day by challenging and surpassing your yesterday. Compete with yourself, find happiness in your progress, and forget about what others are doing.

7- Continuing Challenges in Cycling and Running:

Q: How do you plan to continue challenging yourself in the world of cycling and running in the future?

A: Cycling is more than a regular activity for me; it’s a way of life. Once you start pedaling, you develop an unbreakable bond with it, and you can’t stay away from the thrill of those pedals. My to-do list is filled with numerous plans. I’ve already conquered 14 districts of Odisha, and my future goals include covering the remaining districts of our state. On the running front, I have my sights set on selected marathons across the world. There are many miles to go before I rest. Thanks to Cuttack Cyclist, Cuttack Runners and Bhubaneswar Cycling and Adventures Club where I found myself enjoying and grow from beginner level to an ultra level athlete.

8- Upcoming Events and Goals:

Q: Are there any upcoming events or goals that you’d like to share with our readers?

A: My ultimate goals revolve around maintaining both mental and physical fitness throughout life and encouraging more people to engage in sports, such as running and cycling. In the upcoming months, I’m gearing up for exciting challenges. In November, you can find me participating in the Cuttack Ultra Marathon and the Tata Steel Kolkata Marathon. Come January, I’ll be lacing up for the Mumbai Marathon. Additionally, during the winter season, I have plans to embark on the Katak to Koraput cycle ride.

9- Inspiring Aspiring Cyclists and Runners:

Q: Lastly, what message or inspiration would you like to convey to fellow enthusiasts who are considering taking up cycling or long-distance running as a passion or hobby?

A: Embrace the love for cycling and running; it’s an endeavor that can enrich your life. For those who have already started or are contemplating the journey, remember that consistency is paramount once you take that first step. Uphold a disciplined lifestyle and commit yourself fully to your passion. Training for long-distance rides or marathons demands dedication. The most critical step is taking the first one each day, aiming to surpass yesterday’s achievements. Compete with yourself, and don’t concern yourself with others. Focus on your progress and continue doing what brings happiness to your life.

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