Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My First Mountainbike Race in Nepal

So, here we go. I arrived in Nepal the 8th of September, and got introduced to Himalayan Singletrack, where I will be doing my internship for the next three month. I was so excited to come here and do my trainee. I’ll be helping in the office, working with marketing and sales.  

On the first day, I got introduced to the company and the staff. Jenny took me on a ride through the small streets of Thamel, where I meet some of the hardcore mountainbikers of Nepal. They were all really nice and I felt at home immediately. I got a really nice mountainbike so I was ready for the nec mountainbike race 10th of September. After the flight from Denmark to Kathmandu I was really tired so I went to bed at 4 p.m. But I still remember my thought that first evening: “It GREAT to be back!”.

Early morning the 10th: Woke up early and went to the Himalayan Singletrack office with Jenny. We picked up breakfast for all the mountainbikeriders, who would come a few hours later and have a cup of tea or coffee, and some bananas and croissants, before we would go to Bhaktapur for the race. My stomach was a mess, and being nervous for the race didn’t really help, so after seven toilet visits - within one hour - and a lot of toilet paper in my backpack I was ready to go. 

We all went on our bikes to Bhaktapur, as a big group of Himalayan Singletrack-riders. It was really awesome to see so many keen riders!! In Bhaktapur more riders showed up, and we all sat in front of the starting line, chatting, eating M&Ms, having fun, and talking about the upcoming race. My stomach was getting better, but I was still nervous, even though everyone was very relaxed and easy-going. Anyway, I thought it would be a very good idea to visit the toilet one last time before the race – just to be sure, haha! So I crossed the road and went into someone’s backyard and found the toilet. I’m still not really comfortable with the Nepalese toilets, but I manage. But when I was done, and wanted to get out, someone (an old grumpy woman!!) had locked the door so I couldn’t get out. In my panic, and in lack of self-control, I started yelling and calling for someone – anyone!  It took me around 5 minutes to get in contact with a Nepalese man who came and opened the door. Thanks God!!

We went to the start line and I was still talking about everything and nothing, when someone suddenly said: “GO, GO, GO!!!” and apparently the race was started. I had a great start – the last one over the startline, with a great view and a lot of people to follow. Haha – the best position! I even managed to keep my position throughout the race. 

The race was really nice!! I enjoyed it so much. Even though I very fast lost sight of the other riders in front of me, I still enjoyed the view, the nature and all the obstacles on the road: goats, cows, people, more people, kids, dogs, cars, busses, rice, wood, rocks, old women, and almost everything you can crash into during a race. But it was really fun!! And I only crashed two times, on the downhill part. When I finally reached the finish line, I was KAPUT!! Everyone else had finished long time ago, but I was just happy that I had finished my very first mountainbike-race, and I was still alive!! 

It was a really nice race, both for beginners (me) and professionals. Volunteers were standing on the course - some showed the right way, others forget to show the way - but it was a very good experience for me, because it wasn’t such a technical race, but more like a “fun” race.

I’m so happy to be back in Nepal!!  I’m sure I’m going to have a lot of fun with Himalayan Singletrack and I’m looking forward to explore more of the beautiful and friendly Nepal :-) 

See you at Himalayan Singletrack J
Sine Lysdahl  13/9-2011

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