Have you ever wanted a reason to visit Nepal?
I recently stumbled across the Yak Ru website .. an annual mountain bike event in Nepal that takes riders along to an altitude of 5416 metres. The eight day event (5 days racing, one day resting and 2 days recovering) covers a mere 240km through the rugged Annapurna Range of Nepal but the inclusion of an ‘acclimatisation day’ makes me think this is more of an amazing adventure than a race. This event is not for the faint hearted as it climbs to cross the Thorong-La Pass (carrying your bike at 5416 height metres) and openly admits to the extreme weather you are likely to encounter “cold, rain, snow blizzards, heat, dust” plus “slippery, icy tracks“. A steady, smooth and specific training program is advised in the lead up to this event to ensure physical and mental wellbeing during the event. Training tips and support are available on the Yak Ru site.
The competition ends at an altitude of 3700 metres and participants then enjoy a 2 day recovery period riding the semi desert terrain of the Mustang Valley and bathing in the hot springs.
Strangely, I am still drawn to this event.. not as a race but as a life experience…
The results from 2014 are published on the website with 9 of 14 riders finishing in times that vary from 13:12:08 to 33:48:57 for the 240km.. This would have to be one of the toughest races on the mountain bike calendar.
The race is scheduled for March 2015 (30th March to 11th April) and several weeks acclimatisation prior to the event are advised to maximise your chances of finishing.
Yak Ru: means Yak horn. “the Yak Ru symbolises our respect for this hairy high mountain beast of burden that supports the lives and livelihood s of the few people hearty enough to endure the Yaks environment“.