I was a zit popping kid when I read Maurice Herzog's "Annapurna". It inspired me to continue reading death and despair stories that could only originate in the Himalaya. I was fascinated by those mountains but content that I'd never go see them because dying climbing, or coming close to it never sounded like that much fun. We have made a point to travel and ride. Riding everywhere Alaska has to offer will take a little while still, but getting out and seeing the world from the seat of my bike has become sort of an obsession. Last year I read an article in BIKE magazine that for some reason shows up to my house each month, and these dudes rode in the Himalaya. They had a hard time finding where to ride legally, and with the right visas, and in the end recommended anyone else going there to contact someone who knows what is going on. After some searching, I found Sam Hoys of Infinity Mountain Biking. I told him we wanted to do something big, and he scheduled us for the following spring to ride the Annapurna Circuit. Once we had bikes on the ground in Kathmandu, Himalayan Singletrack, a bike shop in Katmandu, took complete care of everything. From their very modern and cool looking shop in Thamel, Kathmandu, they helped us throw bikes together, store our boxes, kept us in a hotel down the street, and communicated with porters, our guide, and transfer services. Before we knew it, we were on a road to Besisahar, the kick off point for the Annapurna Circuit. The very rough jeep road/trail climbs from 1000 ft to 17,820 ft in about 6 days of riding. We stayed in teahouses, had warm meals cooked for us, and stopped for Nepalese tea in villages along the way. Dawa Sherpa, our guide, is an ambassador for riding in Nepal, a professional racer there, and loved sharing this trail system with us. From hot riding days to frigid nights and into an altitude that riding even your lowest gear in leaves you suffocating, the trip encompassed some of the best and toughest days of riding into 12 days. I would highly recommend getting this one done someday. As much as I am always impressed with Alaska, the mountains, and the new adventures we drum up to do here each year, I couldn't believe my eyes nearly every day we started riding there. I will fire this off prematurely as I don't think the pictures are loaded. I will be sure to get some up, and my riding buddies will probably add some too.
Contacts we made:
Infinity Mountain Biking (Sam Hoys)
(Organized the trip with the help of
Himalayan Single Track |Himalayan Single Track
There are a few companies out there, but this one was known by the Nepalese racers, some of who work for the company when they aren't racing.
Also check out
Yak Attack: Himalayan mountain bike race
Happening while we were there, and must be one of the toughest races on earth if you are into that sort of thing.
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Thread: Annapurna Circuit