Mixing work and play blended well this summer. Visiting Nepal for a project for ‘HAUL Apparel’ proved to be a crispy time. It’d been four years since I’d ridden in the mighty mountain nation. After spending two weeks seeing through a view finder of my camera and hours of starring at a computer screen, it was time to wear the dusty bike shoes!
The ‘Asian Enduro Series 2016 – Round 1’ was about to flag off in five days. It was a quick unpacking of the bike and a quicker packing in of the camera gear! But before strapping on the race plate I had to get in some ride time. Who better to shred with than the French explorer and mountain wanderer Tangi Rebours. On board a hardtail now, Tangi led the way through the busy lanes of Kathmandu to a newly found gem in the hills around 15kms from town. A dry trail in the forest used by very few villagers is Tangi’s new playground. Wide smiles, narrow switchbacks and high speed straights. This newly discovered piece by Tangi is a must ride for Kathmandu visitors.
All buckled and set for my first Enduro race, a shuttle bus and a convoy of pickup trucks stacked with bikes steered us from the chaotic Kathmandu town center to Nagarokot hills. The Asian Enduro is a new event, of which the maiden season and round-1 was marked on for Nepal! Staying true to the term “Enduro” it was the top choice by event organizers to select the mega ranges of the Himalayas.
Consisting of 7 Stages divided into two days, the “Asian Enduro 2016 – Round 1” was buzzing with loud hubs and locking cleats. Not just Asian racers, the start line compiled of Aussies, Brits and more. Nagarkote, on the outskirts of Kathmandu has an excellent trail network for multi day rides. Perfectly suited for today’s “Enduro” style of racing. Team ‘Gnarly’ spent months dialing the course and a meal it was! More than a race the event was a fun trail run with budds.
After two days of racing the clock on some of Nepal’s sweetest forest trails and village alleys, round one of the maiden Asian Enduro reached the finish line. With dusty fast descents, jeep roads, tiring uphills and technical downhills I managed a 13th place finish. Not making it to the top 10 was a bummer but there’s nothing that a post race party cant fix! Called in for a hammer fest in Nagarkot!!
Not bad at all for a work/recreational visit to Nepal! New friends, new trails and a new experience with “Enduro” racing. Thanks to “HAUL Apparel” for timing the shoot project around the race!