It has already begun – this ultimate mountain bike event. Competitors from Nepal, India, UK, Australia, South Africa and Singapore have signed up to take on the 400km, 11 day, high altitude stage race around the Nepal Himalaya – known as THE YAK ATTACK.
The event, sponsored by Genesis, has gone from strength to strength and this year, a year when the course has been made even more difficult than normal, it has attracted the largest field to date.
Previous advertising is enough to put the most extreme mountain biker on red alert:
|ARE YOU TOUGH ENOUGH?|
For 2011 the race has been made even tougher than previous years, with an additional initial 4 days through the foothills and a final extra day through the tropical lowlands, adding an extra 5,200 m of vertical climbing, making a collective total of over 11,000 m! The race peaks after 8.5 days at an oxygen deprived 5,416 m on the Thorong la pass, from where competitors then enjoy 105 km of predominantly downhill, finishing 2.5 days later at a mere 800 m above sea level.
Known as “the highest mountain bike race on earth”, the Yak Attack is in its 5th year and 2011 promises to be the most hotly challenged to date. National champ, Ajay Chhetri is vying to be the first person to win 2 consecutive Yak Attacks, whilst Padam Sabenhang is hoping to recreate the success he had in winning the 2008 event. With 3 other Nepal national team riders taking part, a team from the Indian army and with rumors of one of the Australian riders training in an altitude chamber,the pace threatens to be fast and furious.
“Yak Attack isn’t about man versus man, its man versus nature, and nature definately seems to have the upper hand,” said Phil Stasiw (Yak Attack 2007 competitor, mountain bike guide and adventure photographer.)
The following is a wonderful video of the scenery and the people of the region. Sadly it won’t be comprehensible for most of our readers, but it’s still worth watching…
At the end of day 4 Ajay Pandit Chhetri (Nepal) is leading with an overall time of 9:08:09, being chased by Narayan Gopal Maharjan (Nepal) at 9:33:16… Padam Sabenhang is in third place with a time of 9:50:25. In fact the Nepalese are lording it, the first foreigner is in 10th place – John McGillivray (UK) with a time of 12:26:44. Still it’s only day 4, there’s plenty of time to go!