When I first visited Nepal, I found a place that surpassed all day-dreams and people that I missed on my return to the UK. When Paul Errington wanted to race the highest altitude MTB event in the world on a single-speed last year, it was in Nepal at the Yak Attack; he came away as enthusiastic about Nepal as we hoped or expected.
This year we were able to offer bike support to the organiser and a main supporter of mountain biking in Nepal, Phil Evans, who has plans for some truly epic rides in Nepal this year.
Genesis is now proud to sponsor the Yak Attak 2011 and we hope the event continues to grow in status in the coming years. Phil from Extreme World challenges, the instigators of the Yak Attack, wrote this about the event -
"When looking to devise the ultimate mountain bike challenge, the guys from Extreme World Challenges went to the ultimate mountain range, the Himalaya. Then taking it one step further, they thought, where better to take a mountain bike than the world’s highest mountain pass, Thorong La, and the idea for Yak Attack was born. Over time the route has been tweaked and lengthened and Yak Attack is now regarded by many as one of the toughest stage races on the world calendar, being billed as "The highest mountain bike race on earth".
Now in its 5th year, Yak Attack covers over 400km of off road trail during 11 stages, ascends a cumulative height of over 11000m, and peaks at an awe inspiring 5416m in altitude. During this time competitors will endure temperatures ranging between +30c to as low as -10c, sun, snow, mud, rock and of course the oxygen depleted air of high altitude, riding on a mixture of rough jeep track, rocky trails and flowing singletrack, with some very tough carry sections thrown in for added measure.
When Yak Attack was born, the idea wasn't only to devise an ultra tough event but also to use the race as a stage to encourage and assist local (Nepali) mountain bike riders.Seeing the wealth of local talent (after all these guys get to train in the Himalaya day in day out !) but the lack of means to develop it, it was decided that any profit made from Yak Attack was to be put back into the Nepal mountain biking community.
Since its first running in 2007, Yak Attack has been endeavoring to assist individual riders in their quest to be competitive on the international race scene. An example of this is current Nepal National MTB champ, Ajay Chhetri, who took part in the very first Yak Attack on a very old and basic fully rigid mountain bike, eventually finishing 11th. Through financial assistance, encouragement and international contacts made through the race, Ajay has gone onto win the 2010 Yak Attack and Nepal National Champs; in 2011 he will be riding an XT equipped Genesis Latitude Ti and is coming to the UK for the summer to receive coaching from TorqFitness.
The ultimate goal of the race organisers is to send a competitive Nepal national team to the Asian MTB championships with a podium placing in the XC category for at least one rider. Its going to be a long road, but with the support of companies like Genesis, no longer just a dream for either the organisers or riders alike."
After hearing Paul describing Ajay's ability last year, we apologise in advance to UK racers for supporting Ajay's quest to race over here one day!
The 2011 Yak Attack takes place between 7 - 19 March.