mountain biking
June 12, 2013 posted by

Yak Attack, Stage 1 – “Back To What Feels Like A Dream”

Yak Attack, Stage 1 – “Back To What Feels Like A Dream”

The highlight of today’s post is Nepalsutra’s introduction video on this year’s race.

Stage 1 is in the books and all I can say is “ouch!” This ain’t no plodding adventure but a real, on-the-rivet-start-to-finish race. Yesterday I said that I only feared stage 1 and now I fear stage 2 even more. It was hard! I know we aren’t here for a cakewalk but the “road” riding here in Nepal is brutal compared to the buff single track I’m used to in the States.

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at the start with l-r sonya looney, steve edwards (you read that right), richard williams, jeremy “not a typo” saowyer, steve hammer (yep, a mtn biker named hammer. we also had a guy named zbig – if the racers are even half as interesting as their names this is going to be fun).

All the italicized text is from my actual diaries during the race. As you’ll see, electronic devices needed to be limited. I had no phone service the entire race, didn’t bring a computer (no internet), so this is from an old school hand written diary. Most days will have a reflective intro, usually covering an aspect of the race as well as how I felt while doing it. The goal is to give you the best feel for what the Yak Attack is like, both emotionally and technically.

Today’s title is a line from Sonya Looney said in our pre-race interviews (video on stage 3). She’s referencing the fact she raced here last year but, to me, from fantasizing about taking a month off of work to making it a reality is just as much as a dream. Only at the moment I’m in so much pain that it might get classified a nightmare. But, as James T Kirk once told us, I need my pain!, so I’m trying to enjoy every minute.

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leaving the smoggy city pic: nepalsutra

The main problem today was that I didn’t eat until it was WAY too late and bonked with about 4k to go (which unfortunately was all climbing). Tomorrow I’d better bring more liquid calories. Still, if I finish the race in the position that I’m in I’ll be more than satisfied. The field is very strong.

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pic: nepalsutra

The stage began with a group ride from the hotel in Thamel, riding through traffic and smog, about 1,500’ up into the hills. After a warm-up that was harder than a lot of rides I do for training we re-grouped and started the race. It was flat out racing from the gun.

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pic: nepalsutra

Not surprisingly the Nepalis drilled everyone. Narayan beat AJ, who won the last three Yak Attacks, so maybe we’ve got a new sheriff in town. Jeremy surprised a lot of people by coming in 3rd. Not me so much. When I first met him I told my wife “he looks fast!”

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rob burnett at famous farm

We stayed at an amazing place called Famous Farm. I hope my pics do it justice. On that note I lost my camera somewhere rattling around during the stage. I never fell off my bike but, somehow, must have clipped something that ripped a hole large enough for my mini camera to slip through. Luckily I have Romney’s camera with me as well, though I’m not sure how many race pics I’ll take. I can barely take my hands off the bars long enough to take a drink, much less shoot photos.

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Now I’d better try to recover. I knew coming in that not riding for 3 weeks prior to the start would make the initial stages challenging but I’m seriously shattered right now.

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looking down at the nowakat monastery.

LAST post on Pre-race thoughts. Stage 2 is HERE

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