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  1. #1
    Bikes are good
    Reputation: Elfbkr50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Annapurna Circuit

    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
    these guys:
    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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    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  2. #2
    Bikes are good
    Reputation: Elfbkr50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    For you 8000 meter and big mountain geeks, Annapurna I, II, III, and IV, Gangapurna, Macchupiccharre, Niligiri, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and a few others I can't think of now, we rode right past. The pic isn't great, but the last one is Annapurna I on the far left. The snowy picture with the small rock cairns is at 16000 ft, high camp before waking up at 3 am to carry bikes over Throng La Pass. A group warming up by a stove at Yak Kharka. Too high for wood, they burn Yak dung. Not a pleasant smell with kerosene and yak dung burning, but the warmth was appreciated. Adam in a typical teahouse. Temps got to the point where fully dressed, sleeping bag, blanket, hat and gloves would just about keep you warm. Transition from hot sun in the day to frigid temps at night was tough to get used to. Had to throw a few pictures of Kathmandu streets and rickshaws.
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Incredible journey! Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Such amazing pictures. Sounds like the stuff books are written about.

  5. #5
    Reputation: thirstywork's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Great pics Mark. Look forward to hearing more.
    Speedway Cycles owner

  6. #6
    Reputation: Valhalla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Pretty amazing - thanks for sharing!!
    2014 Fatback Corvus
    2010 Ellsworth Epiphany

  7. #7
    Bikes are good
    Reputation: Elfbkr50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    A bit more.

    Annapurna Circuit. Manang rest day. Cliffside monastery bike push. So hot up there, such thin air, and so steep. The video, as always, doesn't do justice to the grade of the hill or the exposure. I was on a 29r hardtail that I feel pretty good on most the time. Real cool little side trip of the Annapurna Circuit.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    "Having lack of self-preservation makes biking more fun."

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