The 3rd Himalayan trails’N’ dust mountain bike challenge is back to hit the trials with more gnarly trails more riders and more adrenaline. The race took place in the pristine valley of Kullu-Manali on the 23rd-24th November. The riders were asked to report on 22nd evening in camp exotica (Sarsai), the briefing was done and the jersey plates were distributed at the time of the briefing.
The riders were told about the race details and the. On a cold morning of 23’rd, the riders got more motivated after a speech Ace Rally Driver Suresh Rana (9 times winner of Raid-De-Himalaya) and cranked towards the start. The flag off was done at around 10, and the riders warmed up with a joy ride from Sarsai to Naggar.
The climbing stage started with 4 riders at a time. All the riders had to pedal their lungs out in the demanding uphill section, which consisted of a broken tarmac and thick Deodar forest. Devender Thakur was leading the section followed very closely defending champion Brestu and not really far behind was last year’s runner up Sunil Barongpa. The climbing stage finished at Jana waterfall which is also a famous tourist spot.
The riders had a delicious lunch which had 12 different local cuisines in the platter! The next stage started after lunch just 2 KM away from the first stage. The riders were already aware of the competitive environment around them and looking forward for the next stage which was 100% off road, and had some really challenging sections which could make some of the best riders suffer. The stage finished at Mattikochhar rest house which was also the place for the overnight stay.
This beautiful location showcased the view of the Kullu Valley. The tents were pitched to give a rich outdoor experience to the participants. A bonfire was also set up where the riders shared the day’s experience with other. The young ‘un Devender Thakur was leading the race followed Brestu and Sunil. Devender and Brestu were trained well as they even raced in MTB Himalaya recently.
The next day was full of 17Km’of gravity and all the participant were looking forward for this. The stage started after 4 kms of joy ride session. In no time the riders were seen ripping the trails with dust. The section was 13kms long and full of loose gravel and some nice and fast hairpin bends. The riders had smile on their faces at the end of the stage.
But it was not easy for few. The tough trail left some riders dragging their bikes down with flats and technical problems. The riders who had to pay the most were the day 1’s top contender Devender and Brestu who had all the skills and stamina but luck was not In their side. Both of them had technical problems and could not finish the stage and ended with a DNF. That was really disheartening for most of us.
The riders were escorted to the camp after the stage. Everybody was restlessly waiting for the results now. By the time the chief guest came; Robin a local rider impressed everyone with his skills. The Chief Guest to distribute the prizes was Mr. Bhuvneshwar Gaur (Youth Congress) who gave a motivating speech and also promised to support in all possible way for future events. The riders received the certificates. Since the top riders were now out of the race, the whole result chart had a new turn. The result was announced and Sunil Barongpa was on the top podium followed Ramesh Kumar Jogi in 2nd place and Lobzang Barongpa in 3rd place. The race also had 2 female riders Sarah Appelt and Lousia from Germany. Riders from Chandigarh and Calcutta participated in the 3rd Himalayan Trail n Dust Mountain Bike Challenge.
A big shout to the supporters: Freerider Mountain Bike Magazine, Firefox bikes, Himalayan trails, Sunshine Adventures, Ridul Holidays and tours, Into Himalaya, Camp Exotica, Bhram Ganga Hydel project, The Himalayan Golden Oak Adventure.