“Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion, you must set your self on fire” – Arnold H. Glasow
Agni, a Sanskrit word for fire, is a symbol of purity, sacrifice & intense burning passion. In the Hindu culture, fire or Agni is held in high regards. It is worshiped in India, as a heavenly force that destroys evil and gives immense strength to bring out the best in you. It is one of the five fundamental elements of which the Universe is formed.
The name is symbolic to the hard work put in by Sumit and the team. It symbolizes the burning passion to cross the finish line at the Race Across America and get the glory for the nation. The team is a mix of seasoned people who get maturity and experience with them and a bunch of young people who add enthusiasm and spunk to the team.
Ashish Agashe: An adventure enthusiast who has been working as a journalist for the last eight years. Currently writing on banking, including central banking, for the country’s premier news agency Press Trust of India. Has had stints with the largest financial daily The Economic Times and with the general interest broadsheet The Asian Age prior to this. Love for the mountains led to hikes in the Sahyadris, and now graduated ti cycling in the Himalayas every year. Believes strongly that the humble bicycle is the solution for all that ails urban transport and mobility.
Ashok Khale: He is one of the best cyclist India has ever seen. A proud recipient of the Chhatrapati Shivaji award, Maharashtra’s highest sporting honour. Also a National Road Racing Champion, 1979. A bicycle wizard, who is also the most skilled wheel-binder in the country. To his fans, he is nothing less than a scientist
Ashwin Tombat: Former editor of two of Goa’s leading English newspapers, presently a full-time adventure sports organizer, as well as marathon runner, sailor, Kayaker, solo sea swimmer, mountaineer and coach.
Bhavika Jain: A complete misfit in a group of endurance cyclists and adventure junkies. While the others in the team do unbelievable things to get their daily dose of adrenalin rush, for her waking up at 6 in the morning is nothing short of an adventure. Has been a journalist since the last five years, currently working with the Times of India and was previously employed with the Hindustan Times. Writes on the city, culture, heritage, politics, anything that is making or breaking Mumbai, a city that she really loves. Doesn’t understand the details and the magnitude of the sport, but is on board to support her best friend through his journey.
Chaitanya Wakhale: A Mechanical Engineer who works around Mega-structures as an Inspection Engineer. While Sumit’s passion for cycling took a leap, he recalls the long discussions about cycling, gear-sprocket-tool mechanisms adding to his CQ (cycling quotient), in their shared room at Chembur. With a penchant for adventure sports, he dreams & loves sporting in Air & Sea. He is there with the team to share his piece of mind, contributing to make the team endeavor a success & sees Tricolor and Sumit at the finish line < 12 days.
Dipti Shah: A chartered accountant by profession and taking baby steps in adventure. Used to hate cycling during school days. Cycling as an adventure happened as a fluke to de-stress from work. Cycling with Sumit inspires me to cycle more and would want to contribute in every possible way to support him to achieve his dream.
Kailas Patil: Brother from another mother! You can find him climbing the Khandala hill on a Saturday morning on his Road bike. One of the first two Indian’s to finish PBP and now the 4th Indian RAAM qualifier, loves to trek, swim and run. Patil brothers have logged many miles together during various events. Have been riding Mumbai to Goa for the past 4 years during Xmas eve. Loves to drive. Will be supporting Sumit, on and off the steering wheel, in his venture.
Kaushik Iyer : Kaushik works as an HR at Tata Power for a living, but his passion lies elsewhere. He is the 3rd member of the Brevet Trio along with Patil brothers in long distance cycling. He is a passionate cyclist with a fetish for Italian & Lugged Steel Bikes, when not riding he is immersed into his planted aquarium or out on the road driving. He will be with Sumit all through his RAAM journey on the road & behind the wheel.
Lavinia D’souza: Been an investment banker for the last 5 with corporate houses like JP Morgan, India Bulls and HSBC and currently an entrepreneur because it has always been my dream to do what i believe in. An avid footballer and lover of the game and will be starting off with a football club campaign for women and children as it has always been my dream. Apart from that adventure is in my blood and keep seeking for opportunities like Enduro event, the one that changed my life, pushing me to my limits.
Mehul Ved: A Triathlete and an endurance cyclist. Technology, Sports, Start Ups, are the topics that my life revolves around. My day starts with indulging in sports, continues with commanding computers on how to operate. Evenings are spent over a coffee or two with friends, catching up on exciting things they are up to.
Neha Khetan: The over enthusiastic and hyperactive member of Team Agni. A Communications Professional, workaholic and talkative by nature she juggles her time as Sumit’s Manager and her career in PR. She is currently putting all her talking skills to some good use and is responsible for all the communication and marketing activities for the team but secretly wishes that PR stood for “Peaceful Relaxation” right about now. A sports enthusiast herself, she also loves her food, shoes and books! But currently her motto – Anything for the brother from another mother!
Prabodh Keny: Knows cycles, their tantrums and solutions like the back of his hand. There is no tool required to fix a cycle that he hasn’t used. He is the point’s person for cyclists in the country to purchase equipments or to get equipment related guidance. Is highly resourceful and well connected Owns a chain of multi brand bicycle shops – “KENY CYCLES” A professional cyclist himself, he is also an excellent rally driver.
Satish Patki: A friend, a philosopher, a guide! He is an acclaimed cyclist, mountaineer, triathlete in India and abroad.With tremendous on field experience and knowledge accumulated for over four decades, he is one of the most coveted coach/guide that any cyclist could have. He has also been on the team of several international sportsmen. He introduced Randonneuring to India. Being the first Audax Club Parisien representative of the country, he played an instrumental role in imbibing the spirit of Ultra-Cycling in youngsters!
Sherezad Irani: Has been cycling ever since his earlier years, been doing long distance touring and also short distance cycle racing. He has won number of races at the Maharashtra State Level at Junior and in Men’s Open categories and has represented his State & University at the national level on a number of occasions as well. He has been Maharashtra State champion in Men’s individual pursuit event. At present – Sherezad heads the raw material procurement function of the Asia Pacific region for a leading global confectionery company, mixing his corporate life with a large dose of cycling & touring. On board he will assist as driver, mentor and other support functions.
Trilok Khairnar: Trilok daydreams at his job as a computer performance engineer about cycling through the toughest mountain routes around the world singing Ghazals at the top of his terrible voice. He likes to top a night coding at the desk with a gnarly MTB ride in the hills around Pune. Weekend are spent trekking in Sahyadri ranges. He takes an annual trip in the Himalayas, vowing to never return every time. He plans to put his data science skills to good use in collecting and analyzing ride performance data to help Sumit reach peak performance and make history.
Vinit Vikamsey : A Commercial Pilot as such, currently studying Finance & Wealth Management, a HAM Radio Operator, he is an avid trekker and loves to take long off-roading trips in his SUV. Putting fingers in all piles possible, he added biking to his adventure list as well. He wants to support Sumit Patil in his endeavor of crossing the finish line and sees to waive tri color at the finish line. On board he will assist as a driver, navigation and other back end activities. He is also trained in first aid handling.