Mountain Biking Event Showdown Dharan 2015 Completes Successfully
By: Anuj Adhikary
The first ever Showdown Dharan 2015 mountain biking race organized by GNARLY and Green Wheels has completed successfully on January 12th in Dharan, Sunsari, in eastern Nepal. The event was the first of its kind in the city and saw participation of almost 70 riders from the US, Norway, Denmark, UK, Japan and various cities in Nepal including Kathmandu, Dharan, and Pokhara.
There were two genres of the race: Downhill and Cross-country. While downhill had only one category, i.e. Elite, cross-country had four, namely: Elite, Open, Women and Junior. The race was supported by more than 120 local volunteers and saw an enthusiastic turnout of over 2,000 spectators. The event was a successful beginning to what many mountain bike enthusiasts believe is a bright and exciting future for mountain biking in Nepal, establishing Nepal as a major international mountain bike destination in the world.
“This is the first time we’re seeing such a huge race in Dharan,” said a Dharan local. “We’re glad to see riders from different countries as well. This will definitely put us on the map as an adventure destination.” The race is believed to make Dharan a national and international mountain bike destination.
Name: Showdown Dharan 2015
Venue: Dharan, Sunsari
Race date: January 8 to 12, 2015
Genre: Outdoor sports event / Cross-country and Downhill cycling race
Turnout: 65 racers; 120 volunteers; 2,000 spectators
Organized by: Gnarly and Green Wheels
Race Director: Shyam Limbu
Website : http://gnarlybiking.com/dharan
|Pos.\Cat.||DH Elite||XC Elite||XC Open||XC Women||XC Junior|
(1hr 37min 06sec)
|Hem Raj KC
|Laxmi Magar(31min 50sec)||Prachit Thapa Magar
|Ajay Pandit Chettri(1hr 38min 39sec)||Top Jung Rai(40min 45sec)||Nishma Shrestha
|Roan Tamang(1hr 38min 43sec)||Anoj Parajuli
|Saria Sato Bajracharya(43min 4sec)||Kiran Rai
Downhill Marathon Trail
The enduro-style downhill trail starts from Bhedetar’s paragliding area, with a bird’s eye view of Dharan to the south, and Mt. Makalu up north. Start on flowy single tracks by the ridge, then a mix of jeeptracks en route on downhill sections. A few short climbs, rocky sections, small jumps and drops come along the way. Tight and challenging switchbacks along with root and rocky stretching past a huge chautara demand utmost skills and concentration, all the way to jeep trails. Finally, a detour on singletracks touches the finish line at Amarhat Chowk after an intense downhill ride of 6.5km.
Trail composition Singletrack: 85% Jeeptrack: 15%
The XC circuit trail starts from Bijaypur School’s football ground by the river from where uphill jeep tracks take athletes by the town. After navigating by the Buda Subba Temple, singletracks through scattered settlements and farms lead racers to the technical section after Dantakali Temple, whence the trail heads south and onwards to the football field to make a full 5.8km circuit. (Elite category did 5 laps. Modified circuit for Open, Women and Junior categories)
Trail composition Singletrack: 50% Jeeptrack: 30% Paved road: 20%
“The track was quite difficult and physically challenging, but I made my best efforts,” states Rajesh Magar, 19, the winner of Downhill Elite category, despite sustaining a fall along a technical section. He is currently the reigning national downhill champion in Nepal.
Likewise, Narayan Gopal Maharjan, 29, bagged the first position in Cross-country elite. “I’ve been training quite hard for this race. The race was well promoted and no doubt, the prize money is quite something – highest for any individual mountain biking race till date!”
Nishma Shrestha, 19, took the second prize in Cross-country ladies category in her first ever individual mountain biking race. “The feeling of crossing the finish line was really humbling. All the training and hard work finally paid off!” she exclaimed. “I learned a lot from the event and will be preparing well for more races to come. Hopefully I’ll make it to the podium again.”
Speaking at the prize distribution ceremony, distinguished guest Indira Ranamagar – social worker, activist and winner of Children’s Honorary Award – said, “I am very glad to see participation of women in cycling. There used to be only one racer when I first began biking, but now there are several and they are all young.” She recalled her early days in this adventure sport. “I believe neither men nor women are superior to each other, and both are equally talented in many ways. Women are definitely making a mark in adventure sports, and I congratulate and thank the organizers for this opportunity.” An avid cyclist herself, Indira Ranamager also participated in the Women’s category.
“Showdown Dharan was awesome. I really liked it very much!” said Tenjing Gurung, a participant. “The event was well organized, and every time the crowd cheered me on, I felt more pumped up!”
“We were quite anxious about organizing this event as it is the very first time we’re organizing a race so far from Kathmandu. We wanted our riders to have and enjoy the race and be safe. We are extremely grateful for the local support from Daranes. We could not have done it without them. There were no injuries or mishaps. We’re glad to kick off 2015 with some mountain biking action!” said Shyam Limbu, Race Director and Co-Founder of Gnarly. “We have more races lined up in the coming months.”