We talked about this race in December, but as it is about to start we thought it well worth reminding you bout it and pointing out a few more details. After all, it is an extraodinary extreme endurance race with the aim to finally decide who is the faster over severe tough and varied terrain – mountain biker or runner.
Some seriously fit mountain bikers and long-distance endurance athletes will be determined to prove that their medium is king and will be either en route to Nepal or already there acclimatising to the very different altitude. This is a reminder of the imminent start of this year’s Yak-Attack.
“Yak Attack is not runner versus mountain bike, it’s man versus nature and nature seems to have the upper hand,” says Phill Stasiw, Manang to Thorong Phedi, Yak Attack 2007.
March 8th is kick-off day for the annual Yak-Attack with race registration beginning at 2pm infront of the Kathmandu Guesthouse. Starting in the heart of Kathmandu, the race follows a mixture of back country roads and jeep tracks to traverse the Himalayan foothills on its way to Besi Sahar, where the real mountains begin.
After 9 days of riding (and 1 rest day) with stages ranging between 100 km and 18 km,the race will finish in Tatopani where competitors can enjoy a well deserved soak in the rejuvenating hot springs just a short walk away from the hotel and an all-important post race celebration. The final day incorporates a group ride to Beni and then transfer by bus to the lakeside tourist destination of Pokhara.
“I’ve come away with great memories, new friends and a pair of sore legs and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat,” says former entrant Geoff Bamber (runner).
“Yak Attack is the only MTB stage race to take place in Nepal and it offers competitors a rare opportunity to ride in the Annapurna region. There aren’t many locations around the world where you have to ride uphill for 4 days, followed by a close to 100km of descent,” says Phil Evans, event organizer. “The route also takes competitors through the deepest gorge on earth, with the trail passing between two 8000m plus mountains,” he adds.
Evans, the man behind Extreme World Challenges, liaised with Mr Chhimi Gurung, president of the Nepal Mountain bike Association,in 2007 and the idea for Yak Attack was born. It became Extreme World Challenge’s first independent event. Using one of Nepal’s most fabled trekking routes, the Annapurna circuit, as the venue, this innovative runner-versus-mountain bike race had its inaugural opening in March 2007.
Extreme World Challenges was born out of a love for traveling to far out places and a passion for pushing the body to its physical extremes.
This is a fascinating race between man and bike, and an incredible experience in some of the most beautiful and harsh terrain on earth. In 2007 a runner, marathon man Hari Rokaya, easily won the final stage and finished the entire Annapurna circuit in an astonishing 24hrs and 5mins, making him the fastest person ever recorded to complete the circuit.
In 2008 it was the turn of the mountain bikers with Kaji Sherpa winning in a hard fought battle in a time of 20:52:43. Amazingly, considering the weather had favoured mountain bikers, second place was taken by a runner, Phudorjee Lama Sherpa, in a time of 21:08:34. Both competitors beating the 24 hour mark and proving that that the Nepalese were stealing the show although Philip Morris held up the flag for the Europeans with a third place and a praiseworthy time of 22:06:22 !
2009 … can anyone tell us who won this race? I cannot find the results anywhere. We would also love to know if it was a runner or a biker…
The 2010 yak-Attack, starting on 8th March and ending the 20th, will be the best ever as this year there’s 330 km riding with over 8000 m of climbing. Brought to you by Extreme World Challenges UK in collaboration with Dawn Till Dusk, Kathmandu, this is the fourth Yak Attack challenge. Dawn Till Dusk is the first mountain bike company in Nepal run by professional Nepali mountain bikers, Chhimi Urkyen Gurung & Sonam Gurung. It runs bike tours to Nepal, Tibet, Ladakh, Sikkim and Bhutan.