Prologue: Yak Attack 2014. Here we go again!
To make one of the worlds toughest race’s that little bit harder truly sets it aside from almost any other.
The likes of La Ruta de los Conquistadors, The Cape Epic, and The Mongolia Bike Challenge are incredibly tough races but they simply cannot be compared to Yak Attack because they are starkly different, adding in ultra long stages or rafting challenges to make them harder. The Yak Attack is already hard by way of it’s natural terrain, ever changing surfaces, high altitude, and it’s unforgiving weather patterns.
Yak Attack has it’s own unique challenge – The Thorong La, a high pass standing at 5416m – that’s 600m higher than the summit of Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc! And, aside from all of the other challenges that The Himalaya throws at you, that is what sets it apart. There is no other race with which it can be compared. It is as much an adventure race as it is a mountain bike race.
|Race Director Phil Evans (UK)|
It is shaping up to be the most interesting race yet.
The Nepali’s will be pushing the boundaries as usual.
Nepal National Champion, and three times Yak Attack Champion, Ajay Pandit Chhetri spent the Summer of 2013 racing and training in the UK and amassed some impressive results. He will be chasing his fourth crown, especially after missing out on it last year to his good friend Narayan Gopal.
|Ajay Pandit Chhetri|
Narayan Gopal will be chasing his second consecutive victory in the race and won’t be giving it up easily. As a member of the newly formed Singletrack Team he has been training with exceptional vigour. His Strava stats are impressive! He will be in the hunt for another winners trophy.
Aayman Tamang is another young Nepali rider with a growing pedigree, his 2013 podium finish will be something he will be looking to repeat. A real prospect for the future of Nepali mountain biking and one of the nicest guys around. He has been training consistently alongside Narayan in Team Singletrack.
|Everybody loves Aayman!|
As has Roan Tamang, another young and developing rider, with a real aptitude for racing in The Himalaya; his Top 5 finish as a rookie in 2013 was no fluke. Expect to see his name up with the front runners.
Aayman and Roan are almost certainly future winners of this Blue Riband event.
|Roan Tamang, with Laxmi Magar behind.|
The International contingent.
Could this be the year that see’s a challenge to the Nepali whitewash?
Top of the tree have to be Canadian rider Cory Wallace (Kona) and Austrian former Tour de France rider Gerrit Glomser. Two guys with hugely impressive palmares’.
Wallace brings along some serious international credibility with a huge list of high achievements in some equally serious events. Victory in The 2013 Mongolia Bike Challenge and 2nd in Australia’s Crocodile Trophy are just two of his his recent accolades.
Glomser on the other hand is a former Olympian with impressive Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana results along with many others. He also operates a successful altitude training business and has considerable experience at high altitude.
On paper, at least, these two appear to be the biggest threat to the Nepali dominance of past events. Local knowledge, however, cannot be dismissed easily.
Japan’s Yuki Ikeda (Team Topeak Ergon) is returning for another bite at the cherry and his experience of last years event will stand him in good stead for a podium position. One to watch.
Peter Butt, the only international ever to podium, makes a welcome return to the fold. Peter is a very like-able and popular guy and his consistency is remarkable. With his experience of the race the top guys might want to keep an eye over their shoulder!
There are a lot of guys on this years start list with impressive stage race experience and it is going to be the hottest contested event ever.
Erik Bakke, Tyler McMahon, Rob Burnett, , Keevy Raes, Thomas Vandendaele, Daniele Modolo, the list goes on. I ran out of brain space after googling all of the contestants, it looks like everybody is bringing something to the party! With a stacked field of Nepali (including a pair from the Nepalese Army) and International racers it’s certainly going to be a hugely competitive event.
Get ready world, Yak Attack is coming!
The Women’s Race.
As usual it’s a small field but it isn’t to be underestimated.
Wendy Lyall (USA) and Kate Aardal (Norway) should head the field. I can’t find any info on Tania Tryhorn (Australia) so she might well surprise us all. Nepal’s Laxmi Magar is the final entrant and with last years race experience under her belt she should be able to put up a good show (Chase The Rainbow & friends are once again supporting Laxmi’s entry via The Darren Holloway Young Athlete Fund). The experience of Lyall and Aardal might just prove to be too much though for this young, developing, rider.
The women will certainly be shaking it up with the guys if past races are anything to go by!
|Nepal’s only competitive female mountain biker – Laxmi Magar.|
You do it because you want to, and because it is there!
Any International racer with designs on winning this event needs to be well prepared. Thorong La alone can make or break the results of this race. And the Nepali’s don’t often have a bad day on the pass.
Good luck everyone. See you in Nepal!
Yak Attack are still seeking sponsorship for this event and for local riders, anyone who is interested in considering any of the options should contact Phil Evans via firstname.lastname@example.org
You will be able to follow the race progress through these links
Ajay Pandit Chhetri. Nepal. Male 18-39.
Alexander Baumschlager. Austria. Male 18-39
Carl Gable. USA. Male 18.39.
Cory Wallace. Canada. Male 18.39.
Daniele Modolo. Italy. Male 18-39
Eric Coomer. USA. Male 18-39.
Erik Bakke. USA. Male.18-39.
Gerrit Glomser. Austria. Male 18-39.
Gerry McCuaig. Canada. Male 50+
Glen Crump. New Zealand. Male 18-39
Himal Tamata. Nepal Army. Male 18-39.
Jeff Neilson. Canada. Male 40-49.
Johan Lilja. Sweden. Male 40-49.
John Salskov. USA. Male 18-39.
Kate Aardal. Norway. Female.
Keevy Raes. Belgium. Male 18-39.
Kevin Moginie. New Zealand. Male 40-49.
Krzysztof Sochanski. Poland. Male 40-49.
Laxmi Magar. Nepal. Female.
Mangal Krishna Lama. Nepal. Male 18-39.
Marcus Peters. New Zealand. Male 40-49.
Martin Door. UK. Male 40-49.
Narayan Gopal Maharjan. Nepal. Male 18-39.
Neil Cottam. UK. Male 40-49.
Nevil King. South Africa. Male 40-49.
Paul Cooper. UK. Male 40-49.
Peter Butt. Australia. Male 18-39.
Raj Kumar Shrestha. Nepal. Male 18-39.
Rajeev Rai. Nepal. Male 18-39.
Ram Tamang. Nepal Army. Male 18-39.
Roan Tamang. Nepal. Male 18-39.
Robert Burnett. USA. Male 18-39.
Tania Tryhorn. Australia. Female.
Thomas Taut. Germany. Male 18-39.
Thomas Vandendaele. Belgium. Male 18-39.
Thomas Tetz. Germany. Male 40-49.
Tobias Forkel. Germany. Male 18-39.
Tyler McMahon. USA. Male 18-39.
Wendy Lyall. USA. Female.
Yuki Ikeda. Japan. Male 18-39.