Shunmuganathan A (Shun Athi) - Chennai
Super Randonneur | Endurance Racer | Bicycle Commuter
Shunmuganathan, lovingly called as Shun by his cycling buddies, started cycling from class 6 in school and used to commute 10-20 kms on his Hercules Captain cycle. In 2006 he moved from his native (Tirunelveli) to Chennai to start his career. He continued to commute the same distance on a bicycle without knowing about anything professional in cycling. In 2008, his company had arranged normal cycles for a 40 Km ride from Adyar to Mahabs. He enjoyed that ride with 2 hours of saddle time. In late 2009, he moved to a new branch located in DLF Ramapuram. Due to safety reasons (for his cycle), he stopped commuting on his cycle and started using public transport to commute. Over the next 2 years his weight increased dramatically from 58 kgs to 85 kgs. That’s when his senior and cycling mentor Kandappa Sir advised him get into an active lifestyle again. But he could not do anything about it then. At the 2011 Wipro Marathon, he registered from his corporate team and completed it by walking 10 Kms.
Fast-forward to 2014, Shun started his fitness regime, again through his company with 3 fitness sessions a week. His 10 Kms timing in DRHM2014 was surprisingly good and that encouraged him to get back into cycling and running. He used to rent cycles from Balaji World / ProBikers and rode up to 100 kms at a time. There was no stopping from then. With the help and assistance of his coach Vallab, he purchased his first geared cycle FUJI Absolute 1.7 from ProBikers and rode passionately for longer distances. Kandappa Sir has always been a source of inspiration for him, like for many others. When Kandy Sir (as he is lovingly called by fellow cyclists) completed his 600 BRM (Endurance Cycling Event under Audax Paris) on September 2014, Shun was inspired to give it a try.
His first BRM was the ECR Classic 200 in November 2014 which he was surprised to complete in less than 11 hours. That was the start of a long randonneuring journey completing distances of 300, 400, 600, 1000 & 1200 Kms. Meanwhile, he also competed at several local races by TCC (Tamil Nadu Cycling Club) and WCCG (We are Chennai Cycling Group). He changed gears in mid-2016 and shifted his focus to power based training starting from Jan 2017. He also became one of the highest mileage cyclists in India in 2017.
Shun has a remarkable list of achievements including successfully completing 58 BRMs, participating in 25 races and has ridden a whopping 2.35 lakh kms since Oct 2014… That’s an average of 100 kms per day for the last 7 years. You may need to read this twice for it to sink in and then read on for more because that’s not all. Most elite cyclists are either into endurance cycling or racing. Shun is one of the few elite cyclists who does both, i.e. endurance racing. He rides up to 300 kms at an average speed of 31 kmph and 600 kms at an average speed of 25 kmph. He was the fastest finisher at one of India’s toughest endurance events – Bliss in the Hills in 2016 & 2019, both times clocking an incredible time of 80 hours 1 minute and 81 hours 5 minutes respectively. An absolutely astounding timing for a distance of 1200 kms with 15,000 meters of elevation gain. He also finished the Virtual Race Across Europe 2020 edition 1st in India and 7th in the world, clocking 4650 kms!
Even with all these achievements, Shun is one of the most simple, humble riders around. He still commutes on a bicycle too. There’s a lot more to Shun than what has been written here. You may follow his ongoing cycling journey on www.facebook.com/shun.athi and / or www.instagram.com/shunathi/ and follow him on Strava on the link below.