13. June 2015 – 12:59
The organized “Himalayan Trails and Dust Mountainbiking Challange” has been running every year for five years and I managed to participate at all, besides last year.
The level of the race has improved significantly over the last five years. Of course cows still run infront of the bike and I was the only female participant this year yes well.
But the participants are no longer just local boys who are friends with the organizers, but actually come from all parts of India and are partly even sponsored riders!
Manali is ideal for mountain biking: unexplored paths, strenuous uphill rides and challenging descents: it goes over loose boulders, up to snow-covered passes, to clear mountain lakes or to remote villages and through green coniferous forests.
I often travel alone on my bike here. All the more I look forward every year to the race to get to know other mountain bikers and to explore the paths and roads around Manali together for a day!
For me, it’s less about competing with the other bikers than having a lot fun!
In fact, I am quite strong in terms of endurance, so that I perform relatively well during the uphill climbs. But when technical skills are required or it goes downhill at a rapid pace, I slow done. I just care too much about my health and the condition of my bike!
But the Indian guys are enormous! Especially the locals seem to know no fear and rush over stones, through rushing streams steeply down into the valley!
Short race description:
The Cross Country race consisted of three sections.
In the first stage we went in serpentines for six kilometers to the village of Kanjal. Then we had to carry our bikes through the village on a narrow path until we reached a single trail that ran through a green coniferous forest.
The three kilometers were technically demanding it went through mud, over loose stones and through streams – I spent a lot of time pushing :).
During the 2nd section I was able to shine and finished 7th: it went uphill continuously for 9 kilometers from Old Manali to Palchan. The small, partly unpaved road is my daily training track and so I knew exactly how to divide my strengths.
After lunch we went back to Old Manali for 9 kilometres. It started to rain heavily: Monsoon (!), but I enjoyed the descent through the cool rain, although I was much slower than the rest! Safety is just a matter of time!!!!
In addition to the Cross Country race, there was also a downhill race with participants from Nepal, Australia and Great Britain!
The downhill course consisted of 2 1/2 km course in Solang Valley.
It was muddy (we just got monsoon), stony and fast! For me only watching was an option.
But I enjoyed the atmosphere: it’s always great to be with athletes who have a passion! I myself managed the slippery trail on foot, as I distributed the lunch packages to the marshals. This allowed me to watch the riders very closely.
It’s great to see how the mountain bike scene evolves from year to year and to be a part of it.
A seven-day race will be held near Manali at the end of September and I am determined to participate!!!