Monday, July 29, 2013

The Annapurna Trail- An Epic Mountain Bike Journey

Annapurna Circuit – 14 Days (Kathmandu to Kathmandu)
2103 Winter Season Departures Sept 16th , Oct 4th, Oct 25th
2014 Spring Departures – 5th April, 3rd May

Annapurna is a Sanskrit name which literally means "full of food" (feminine form), but is normally translated as Goddess of the Harvests. In Hindu Culture, Annapurna is  "... the universal and timeless kitchen-goddess ... the mother who feeds. Without her there is starvation, a universal fear." Not only is Annapurna the Mother Goddess, to us she is also the Goddess of Mountain Biking!

The Annapurna Circuit Trail is by far one of the most popular mountain biking journeys in Nepal. Its highly scenic path takes you around the Annapurna Massif, showcasing the spectacular scenery and mountain culture of Nepal along the way.  The crossing of Throng La at 5580 meters, makes this ride ideal for anyone looking for a mountain biking challenge in the Himalayas  which is featured in “Yak Attack” one of the fifth toughest mountain stage bike races in the world.

The inbound trail follows the Marysandi River as it carves its way through the gorge between Annapurna and Manasulu. Riding up the Valley, we halt for two nights in Manang, at an altitude of  3540 meters, this is an ideal place to rest and acclimatize before breaking the 4000 meter mark. Manang is home to the horse men and archers famous in the region and is a nice place to rest and explore with many possibilities for day hikes in the hills around the region.The region is mainly inhabited by the Thakali and Gurung People of Nepal who mostly practice the religion of Buddhism, given the areas proximity to Tibet. Spend some time exploring the unique mountain lifestyle and

The trail peaks at Throng La, a five to ten hour ascent from Throng Phedi, where you leave at 5am in the dark morning, climbing on wards and upwards on the snow covered trail. This is the day you will test your metal! This part of the trail is 100% carry. You reach up to 5580 meters, hold your breath here for some of the most amazing views in the Himalaya! Steal yourself the descent (The trail maybe snow covered)! Enjoy the ride as you drop down into the Kaligandaki Valley on the boarder of the fabled Upper Mustang Region.

The descent from Throng La must be one of the most thrilling 3000 meter drops in the world! A real challenge for any XC rider, no matter how skilled you are. Watch out for Yaks and Trekkers as you go speeding by down the holy temple of Muktianth. Stay here overnight or head on further down to the quaint village of Kagbeni. From here its two days of all downhill. Take the jeep track, of choose the side single track trails that explore the alpine forests and remote villages. You will be well rewarded for the days of uphill.

This ride is a gift of unforgettable images and memories, as you cycle along the ancient trade and supply routes you can almost lose yourself in time as if you were one of the original explorers of this area (though they were probably riding a donkey). You will also relish the challenge that the Annapurna Trail presents to mountain bikers, and let’s not forget the views are nothing less than spectacular and the village scenery truly inspirational.


What to Ride- The choice is tough here. You don’t want to lug a weighty beast up the mountains, but it certainly would be nice to ride it down! We suggest you to bring a light Hardtail or an XC style Fully, something like an Anthem X is good for this kind of trip. Remember you might have to carry it for long periods of time. If you are bringing your own bike, bring along some spare parts, tires, tubes, hanger/drop out and perhaps a chain and derailleur. Most importantly make sure you are comfortable on your bike.

Does HST Hire out Bikes for the Ride? Yes we have for Annapurna 10 speed XTC Hardtails(US$18 Per Day)  and Giant Anthem X ($35 Per Day) for the ride. Bike hire includes all the bits and spare parts you will need and a helmet if you need one. We are also happy to put your own peddles and seats on the bike to make it more comfy for you.


Ride the Yak - The journey is already epic, but make it more epic by adding on an extra four days and riding right from HST door step in Kathmandu and ending in Pokhara, just like the race Yak Attack. The journey to Besishar itself covers about 200km with over 5000 meters of climbing as you cycle through the Himalayan Foothills dotted with rural farms, temples and subtropical jungle. You will already feel challenged before you reach the mountains.
Raft the Kali - Just 12km from Beni is the put in place for rafting on one of the world’s most beautiful rivers, the holy Kali Gandaki (The River named after the goddess Kali the goddess of “Time and Change and empowerment”). This three day rafting journey is epic, taking you through the deepest gorge in the world and leaving far behind the mountains you have just ridden through. Camp out overnight on white sandy beaches, sleeping under the roof of a thousand stars.


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