Siddharth Kumar is a Program and Delivery Manager at the Navitas Data Sciences Bangalore office. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Science and his interest in alternative medicine says a lot about who he is as a person. Upbeat and spiritual, Kumar is a lover of nature, always looking to challenge himself and to find a positive lesson in everything that he does.

Throughout his career, he presented white papers at PHUSE and PharmaSUG on the use of Multi-dimensional Arrays when a large number of parameters are to be added, to minimize code and increase efficiency for processing clinical trial data. After working in the industry for 15 years, he joined Navitas only 8 months ago and says that he is enjoying every moment.

He is a man of many passions, and lives by the Zig Ziglar motto, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” When asked why he enjoys his job, Kumar replied, “I love supporting Oncology and Rare Diseases projects. For some of the diseases we work on, patients are waiting for a cure, and my passion is to be a part of the team that finds solutions to deliver drugs quicker.”

Kumar is also an advocate of the Art of Living, an organization that promotes optimum mental and physical health through a meditative breathing process, and he begins each day with 35 minutes of Sudarshan Kriya meditation. “It is a practice of rhythmic breathing exercise which helps relax the mind and to be more focused,” he says.

He also enjoys a good game of badminton at the end of the day, but perhaps Kumar’s favorite passion is participating in biking expeditions. In July, he completed an extreme cycle ride through some of the highest altitude mountain passes in the world. In December 2015, he biked around the desert area of Jaisalmer and in December 2018, completed a bike ride around the coastal state of Goa, India.

Cycling takes Sid Kumar to beautiful and inspiring locations.

In the following account, Kumar shares the physical and mental challenges he faced during his arduous bike expedition in July 2019:

Exploring mountains on a bicycle is a dream ride for cyclists across the globe. I got such an opportunity when I took on the challenge of riding my bicycle 475 kilometers from Manali to Leh. It is one of the highest motorable roads in India, crossing through five treacherous high mountain passes in 8-10 days. The journey requires an average distance of 50 kilometers to be cycled every single day against the utmost unpredictable climatic conditions! Not surprisingly, the difficulty level of this expedition is ranked as “highest difficulty in India.”

I registered for this expedition 3 months ahead, giving myself enough time to practice and prepare. As aspirations of a unique adventure were building up in me, I knew that I had to step out of my comfort zone to achieve something big and different. “Bring it on!!” was my attitude.

Finally, the July date dawned, and with my backpack ready, I pushed into flight. I was aware that altitude and terrain were the main impediments to the upcoming feat. I had reached the base camp, located on the banks of river Beas, 15 miles from Manali Himachal Pradesh, two days earlier to give myself enough time to acclimate.

Accommodations were in makeshift tents and food arrangements were basic but comfortable. The group of around 103 enthusiastic cyclists gathered in the early morning for the test ride. This was also intended to be the qualification round. Our task was to complete a 22 km ride which included steep uphill mountain trails with loops. Although every cyclist was a pro, by the end of the day, the climb weakened the confidence of one and all. It was tough and tiring. 

There was unrest in every tent and whispers of giving up were everywhere. Unanimously, we thought if the first day was so trying, what was in store for us was unimaginable. The following morning my calves were still hurting, but with a determined mind and racing heart, we all assembled for Day 2 of the test round. Reality had hit us all harshly and today we were going to do the same route with more caution and one day’s experience behind us. The results at the end of the day were surprising. Every cyclist not only completed the ride, but each one of us beat our previous day’s record! Motivation and confidence were restored. 

The expedition which followed for the next 8 days, was a once in a lifetime experience. We crossed 5 high altitude passes: Rohtang Pass (13,000 feet), BaraLacha la Pass (16,500 feet), Nakee La Pass (15,500 feet), La Chung La (16,600 feet), Tanglang La Pass (17,500 feet) and rode through the beautiful valleys of Kullu, Lahaul, Sarchu, and Pang, maneuvering the incredible 21 hairpin bends of Gata Loops and Morey Plains.

Like any unfamiliar path in life that scares us, this cycling event was terrifying at times, but once we focused on our strengths and believed in ourselves, we reached our goals with joyful determination.  

 

Here are my Key Takeaways:

 1.   As Greg Anderson has said: Focus on your journey – not the destination!

 While riding uphill, the technique was to keep our eyes focused on the pedals and not lookup. (A great reminder that as in everything in life, it is best to focus our attention on each small step ahead instead of getting overwhelmed by large tasks.) I had to agree with Aaron Lauritsen, when he said that “the freedom of the open road is seductive, serendipitous, and absolutely liberating,” and with Emma Chase. who pointed out that “the greatest part of a road trip isn't arriving at your destination. It's all the wild stuff that happens along the way.” -So true!

 2. Power Breaks – Quick bounce back is the mantra!

Short breaks are the key. Do not take long breaks because they cool the body down. Rest – Recoup – Recharge! Don’t let the momentum lose its pace. Bounce quickly after short breaks.

3. Stay Hydrated – Breathe, refuel, ease your way forward!

Keep sipping water and hydrating your physical being just as you feed your mental strength by determination. Keep refueling your mind with positivity to ensure that you stay in the game, making your way forward easier.

4. Get the equations right!

I realized that age was not a factor in completing this expedition. It was a combination of factors that resulted in success. I believe that equal amounts of technical knowledge, physical strength, and mental strength are what contribute to a winning formula.

5. Believe in Yourself - Keep telling yourself, “I can do it!”

Faith can move mountains. This expedition was a test of patience, determination, physical endurance, and mental perseverance. To win a battle like this, be prepared and well-practiced.

 

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