“Yak Attack” The Highest Mountain Biking Race in the World, Kicks Off
The 12th annual Yak Attack kicked off today from the town of Besisahar, which is well known as the start to one of Nepal’s most popular treks, the Annapurna Circuit. In all, there are 33 international riders (29 male, 4 female) from 12 different countries competing in the event. The race reaches a maximum height of 5,416 meters at the top of the race, making it one of the highest mountain bike races in the world.
The race was founded in 2006 and is now run by Mountain Biking Worldwide. It was created out of pure love of Nepal and the Himalayas and was meant to test the determination and strength of many adventurous athletes. Over the years, the race has attracted a wide array of participants, including former Tour de France racers, Olympics cyclists, and world ranking mountain bikers. For many, the Yak Attack is apart of a greater 3 stage world challenge that includes races in Sri Lanka and Pokhara, Nepal.
Yak Attack 2018, Nepal, Itinerary:
- November 3rd– Race registration at International Guesthouse, Thamel
- November 4th – Transfer by coach of riders, luggage, and bikes to Besi Sahar (approx 6 hours)
- November 5th to 11th – Yak Attack 2018 – Besi Sahar to Pokhara via Thorong La pass, approx 200km
- November 12th – Private coach transfer from Pokhara to Kathmandu. (approx 8 hours)
STAGE 1: For 2018 were heading back to Taal, a beautiful settlement on the banks of the Marshyangdi river. This stage takes you from Besi Sahar to Taal. There are plenty of ups and just a few downs today. We’ll be climbing up to 1700m above sea level. The climbs can be steep on loose rock and there will be a number of water crossings. From around 20km to the finish the course becomes very tough, with long technical climbs.
STAGE 2: After a very tough climb out of Taal and then another in about 20km’s time the trail starts to level a little. There’s a likelihood the riders will encounter their first sections of snow during this stage and long sections of deep mud could be a possibility. The temperature starts to drop, the air gets thinner and the mountain scenery more spectacular as we draw ever closer to Manang.
STAGE 3: “Into thin air” – The shortest stage, distance wise, at only 16km, but on average it takes the riders longer than the 64km stage 2 !! Altitude is the biggest obstacle today with riders finishing at 4450m above sea level. Snow and severe cold are also distinct possibilities during this stage..
STAGE 4: The Pass” – The stage everybody fears. A 5km hike a bike starting in the dark, through possible snow and freezing temperatures takes the riders to the highest point of the race, Thorong La at 5416m. Now Yak Attack is in November, the ride down from the pass should be mainly snow free and one of the best 20km descents of your life!!
STAGE 5: “To the finish line” – As its the first Fast and Furious version for some time, we’re throwing in a whole bunch of singletrack on the last day to spice things up a bit. We’re keeping these trails to ourselves until the last moment but be assured that you’re not going to want this final day to end!!
Written by: Benjamin J. Loecken