Yak Attack: Way Up High On a Mountain Bike

 

THE NORTH FACE YAK ATTACK 2013

March 2- March 13 2013

400 KM / 11 stages

Yak Attack: Way Up High On a Mountain Bike

The highest race in the world began in Kathmandu on March 2. The riders, dressed for the hot sun sure to hit later on the race, were feeling the chill, but they could just as well be shivering from the anticipation of what they would be facing over the next 12 days.

The race took the 33 riders from Shivapuri to Besi Sahar, and then on the Annapurna Circuit, all the way to Pokhara, traversing the highest point of the race, the Thorung La Pass, on the 10th day of the race.

Riders were of all skill levels and varying experiences. Some were devils on the downhill, while others overtook everyone else whenever an uphill section came around. Some were proud of their hike-a-bike (bike-carrying) skills whereas others were built for speed. Some, like the Aussies, were used to the heat of the early days from Shivapuri to Besi Sahar, whereas some of the Americans and Europeans were really looking forward to the colder sections.

In short nobody could prepare for everything they would be up against. Add to that the strikes that this year’s Yak Attack had to deal with, and everybody’s adjustment pains to a new country and new food, and you had a whole lot of uncertainty to deal with.

But that is what Yak Attackers thrive on, tackling all the challenges thrown their way with courage, and grace.

The race ended in Tatopani, 5 riders down. Two had to pull out because of road accidents, and two because of snow blindness. One of the riders pulled out because of stomach problems.

From the start of this race in 2007, every year, it has been won by a Nepali. This year was no exception. Narayan Gopal Maharjan from Nepal won this year’s Yak Attack, at a record time of 21 hours, 24 minutes, 51 seconds. Second was Ajaya Pandit Chhetri, last year’s champion, and third came the young smiling Aayman Tamang.

Yak Attack is not just a race. It is a rare experience with amazing food, amazing people, and amazing views. And the seventh Yak Attack 2013 did not disappoint, on any of the counts.

 

Text: Mamata Pokharel

Images: Samir Jung Thapa

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One Response to “Yak Attack: Way Up High On a Mountain Bike”

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    June 23, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

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