BRAGA – The final day of the inaugural Yak Ru Enduro saw riders taking on the opening uphill liaison on the trail leading to Milarepa’s Cave, just a short ride away from the event’s staging town of Manang.
The cave, located high above the valley floor, is steeped in legend. According to local lore, Milarepa was a saint who, while meditating in the cave, convinced a hunter to put down his bow and arrow, disavow the killing of other living beings, and to pursue a life of compassion. The hunter, instead of shooting the deer he was stalking, shot his arrow towards the nearby glacial moraine, where it fell – and remains supposedly till this day. He then discarded his bow on the cliff face, which is now enshrined amidst a collection of hanging prayer flags above a monastery that overlooked the starting point of today’s Stage 1.
In this mythical setting at above 3800m altitude, riders dropped into Stage 1 – featuring tricky, pine needle-crusted loam that traversed away from the glacial moraine before finishing in a clearing at a big white stupa. Stage 2 commenced with a steep ride out of the loam into a series of dusty switchbacks and technical rock chutes, before depositing riders at the bottom of the hill, where horses and yaks were among the spectators milling about in the adjacent meadow.
A quick pedal brought riders to the settlement of Munji, where a quick pitstop-lunch had been organized for everyone. Meanwhile, officials scrambled to get Stage 3 online – a long, undulating loam and shale singletrack that weaved down from the remote village of Julu. After a 40-minute shuttle to the start, riders dropped in one by one. Pedaling hard to the penultimate finish line, many riders were exhausted by this final burst of effort required of them.
With the last rider down safely, a further pedaling transfer to the day’s finish at Lower Pisang remained – a chance to savour one last look at the Manang valley along the way. It was time to draw the curtains upon the racing action for the Yak Ru Enduro. Riders-turned-revellers would turn the evening into a one of celebration and reflection at the adventure they had just accomplished.
The following morning sees the Yak Ru Enduro alumni go their separate ways: some opting to hitch up their bikes in their 4WDs to descend the road out of the valley; others opting to mountain bike down that same road (by far the faster and more superior option!); and still others opting to go back up the valley to Manang – and beyond – to explore the high altitude playgrounds of Tilicho Lake and Thorong-La Pass with their bikes.
The Yak Ru Enduro takes place in the Manang district of the Annapurna Ranges, Nepal. The 3-day, multi-stage enduro race format allows a truly immersive big-mountain race experience – unlike any other mountain bike event – in a beautiful location amongst some of the highest mountains on Earth.
Yak Ru Enduro 2017 – Presented by Dawn Till Dusk & NepalSutra. Race Day 3 Video. GoPro Footage : Aashish Shrestha, Tim Parsons / Video by Sunil C. Sharma with Panasonic LUMIX GH4 / Music : “Vengeance” – Ocean Jet / Edits: Wilson Low
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