Trails ‘n’ Dust Mountain Bike Challenge was the first mountain bike race organized in Kullu & Manali located in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh. This initiative was taken by local lad Naveen, who has been riding regular in these areas and also own the only bike shop in Kullu and Manali.
Team formed consisted of likeminded people and outdoors professionals who have been working hard by encouraging and educating about Mountain Biking through Summer Mountain biking camps for school children in various parts of country. The team is now better known as Himalayan Mountain Bike Network.
The mountain bike challenge was sponsored by Firefox bikes and we were stoked to have more sponsors aboard who helped us in the first race.
Tails ‘n’ Dust mountain bike challenge was originally planned as a 2 day weekend race. But due to snow fall the route located for the 2nd day was blocked and the challenge was updated being a one day race. 22 participants showed up on 17th December 2011 cold evening at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied sports where they all crashed after having dinner and briefing next to bon fire.
Race Day: The race marshals who checked the route early morning reported ice patches in middle. The race route was a 30 KM uphill followed by downhill stage on the same route. The race was flagged off from the mountaineering institute with a joy ride till Club house located in Old Manali from where the 1st stage would start. All the participants did pretty good and crossed Shanag, Burua, Palchan and reached Kothi where the 1st stage finished with a steep climb. The locals were pretty surprised to see what was going on!
Sarah, the only female rider in the race hails from Germany and this was her first ever mountain bike race. She started training just 3 weeks before the race with local hero Jogi. She was really impressed with her performance in the race and now plans to continue riding mountain bikes for good.
Another rider Michel from Chile who has been touring India on mountain bike decided to race after removing the panniers from his old school Mongoose which we were really happy to see.
After wrapping up the lunch and beverages, the riders were set for some gravity back to Club House. As soon as the 2nd stage started – crashes started too. This did not make any participant lose their hopes. They got up and pinned down the tarmac, the slush and the snow patches where few riders almost got off the cliff. Finally the race ended in Old Manali and Bristo – a local lad claimed the 1st place. Michel came second and Sunil Barongpa from Kullu came third with a very impressive performance.
Everybody was so impressed with this initiative and the top guys from the the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied sports announced that they will make mountain biking as their course content. This surely was big news for everyone and another step in the progression of the mountain bike scene in India.
Our team went to Vashist for hot spring bath that was well deserved!