The current situation for professional riders in Nepal is not ideal. For the first time in 2012 Mountain Biking will be recognized as a National Sport and the National Championships will be held with support of the Nepal Sports Council. This is the first of many positive steps required for building professional mountain biking in Nepal.
Events like Yak Attack and Trans Nepal are trying to bring the world spotlight onto Nepal’s mountain bikers to help them in the future. There are some extremely talented riders here with far superior climbing and technical skills than any one would expect and with the right sponsorship and support they can certainly make a brake on the world stage within the next five years.
But presently races are few and far between, when they do happen they are poorly sponsored, riders get maximum one week notice prior to races making it impossible to train and prepare, and prize money is little. Most riders work full time and the average salary they earn is between US$60 to US$200 per month and with families to support as well as rent and living requirements there is no money left to fulfill the proper nutrition requirements for training, let alone to purchase and maintain performance bikes and the equipment associated with riding on a professional level. Yet despite this, each year Nepal’s top four riders manage to compete in the Asian Mountain Bike Championships, fill the top two or three position in Himcahal the 8 day stage race in India and to date have always filled the top ten positions in Yak Attack one of the toughest stage mountain bike races in the world on sub-par bikes, without proper clothing and surviving on local food and rice! The caliber of riders in Nepal is incredible; imagine if this potential was nurtured to its fullest. We believe that with the right support and sponsorship, within five to seven years a Nepalese rider can be competitive on the world circuit. Himalayan Single Track is aiming to be an active part of that process by helping the riders get the support they need to succeed.
With the help of many friends and fellow mountain bikers we started the Yak Attack Riders Fund, a support base that raises funds to help riders with the entry fees and other expenses associated with competing in Yak Attack, now we want to take this one step further and with Extreme World Challenge Uk also coming to the table with a riders fund we are talking about creating a solid fundraising/sponsorship base with extensive training programs, nutritional support and help with access to bike parts. Our joint aim …. Getting Nepalese riders into the 2016 Olympics. Right here right now this seems like a huge task, with something as important as a regular yearly National Championships and long term sponsorship for riders no-where in sight it seems like an unachievable task, but our dedication and work starts right here right now. We want to build the blocks that will help riders achieve these dreams.
Proper management of funds, and the support and commitment of riders and all parties involved is critical to the success of the project. So we are posting this blog to put the idea out there to the local and international community that has a stake in mountain biking in Nepal and we are looking for your comments and interest in this project which is in its infancy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the future of professional mountain bikers in Nepal, to build the sport to an elite level with a permanent fixed calendar of races, a pool of sponsors and funds for riders and to help some pretty talented athletes achieve their full potential.