Also featured in ISSUE 11 – Sept 2012
Full Name: Umang Shrestha
Hometown: Lalitpur, Nepal
Favourite Drinks: Pineapple Juice, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice, vodka and Beer.
FR MTB MAG: When did you start riding mountain bikes?
UMANG: It has been 4 and a half years now since I’ve been doing mountain biking.
FR MTB MAG: Who influenced you and how?
UMANG: It’s my brother Rupesh Man Shrestha who owns Epic Mountain Bike. I used to see him riding all the time. I was getting fatter so he advised me to ride at-least 1 hour a day. He used to lend me his bike for riding in the morning. One day I got addicted to riding, so I bought my first bike in December 2009. It was a Commencal Combi, an all mountain bike with 120 mm suspension fork. I started with all mountain XC rides and which I did for six to seven months. That’s when I met Suraj Pande (Buntay) who happens to be Nepal National Downhill champion and Kumar Pun, a BMX rider who is a Nepali but brought up at Singapore. We stared dirt jumping together and later on I got into downhill mountain biking.
FR MTB MAG: What do you do for living?
UMANG: Apart from eating, we have a mountain bike company called Chain Bikes. It was established at 2010 and is Nepal’s first mountain bike company. We have around 13 directors, so the business is serious. I also freelance in tours; I take tours, make designs, and also working on an extreme sports magazine “Zerolevel”. It is going to be about all the extreme sports from Hike to Moto from all around Asia.
FR MTB MAG: Tell us about your riding style.
UMANG: It’s been years since I’ve been riding different styles like AM, XC, DJ, BMX, DH, street riding but riding downhill on a very rocky terrain feels the best. I somehow find it safer than cross country riding. Whenever I am free I just hop on to my Commencal Absolute and spend some time riding streets with my friends and the new kids. I can tell you those kids are going to be good street riders in coming years.
FR MTB MAG: Flat pedals or Clips?
UMANG: I really love riding with flat pedals and my confidence level is more compared to clipless pedals. I sometimes think, switching to clipless pedals may let me go much faster on downhills, but it may take a while to get used to them.
FR MTB MAG: Your greatest achievement to date:
UMANG: I have couple of them. If I remember, my first race was in 2010 and I wasn’t much serious about racing. Even then I came 13th with the time difference of 2 minutes with the winner. During the next race I crashed on a silly turn and I rolled down all the way on my back and I still managed to come 11th with the time difference of 1 minute. It was a good experience to meet the riders from India at Shivapuri. I could not complete that race as I had sprained my ankle in the seeding run. Came 9th in Pokhra, as the climbs made me slow. That’s when I got more serious about racing and started training hard and came 9th again at Hattiban race with the time difference of 25 seconds and came 10th in my last race with the difference of 10 seconds. So I think I’m getting there!
FR MTB MAG: Lets talk about the DH races in Nepal. How do you rate your performance and what are your plans for the coming season?
UMANG: It has just been around 3 years when DH races started in Nepal and as I remember there were very less (Around 5) Nepali DH riders those days. Rest of them were foreign riders residing and working in Nepal like Lasse Storholt, Markus Illomaki, Karma Lito, and many others. We used to race on jeep tracks with max of 5 ft gap and 1 ft drops. In 3 years things have changed. Big jumps, Gaps, Rockgardens, technical sections and many other obstacles are present. DH racing has really picked up in such a short time and more Nepali DH riders are coming up strong. If I rate myself, I think I have been in top 10 over all, and 7th as local which is not that bad. But I aim to be at top 5 in coming races.
FR MTB MAG: Tell us about your bike setup.
UMANG:I ride a Commencal V3 2012 with Marzocchi 888 RC3 V2 triple clamp fork and Marzocchi Roco rear shock.
My bike has 40% sag in the front and back, which is usually 25 – 30%. I like it slack for more speed in steep rockgardens. I prefer keeping it on slow rebound setting. I ride with Kenda Nevegal 2.5 both front and back.
FR MTB MAG: What are your favorite places to ride in Nepal?
UMANG: My favourite places are, Nagarkot, Shivapuri, Nagegumba,and Hattiban Resort track.
FR MTB MAG: Before we wrap it up, do you have any shout-outs or words of advice?
UMANG: I would suggest all the riders out there to wear your protective gears whenever you ride, and the most important thing; don’t ride fast – ride smart, you will be faster the next time you ride the same trail.