Words: Chris Keeling Photos: GauravMan Sherchan
Asian Enduro Series 2016 round one in Nepal! What an amazing event! So let's look back at day one of racing. I was all prepared with my gels to fuel me up for the physical day. So there I was waiting at stage 1, all psyched up! We started at one minute intervals. RJ (Rajesh Magar) left and my nerves built up even more — it was like I was already tired with nervousness.
So I sprinted off the start line of stage 1, hitting the steep stairs and turns of the track. This stage contained many tricky L turns, stairs and technical sections. I decided to ride the uphill at a medium consistent pace and save my energy so I could pin the steep downhill. This ended up paying off with me grabbing first place joint with Florent. I was pretty stoked with this stage win. So in Enduro you have liaisons which are the sections you have to pedal to get to the top of the next stage. Moving onto stage 2 which is known for its turns and narrow single track. Before hitting the stage I was visualising my lines. So after hitting the stage I was pretty disappointed as I messed up one of my lines. I was ten seconds behind both Rajesh and Florent now.
Stage 3, my least favourite stage of the race, consisted of jeep track for up to ten minutes with lots of uphill. One of the most physical stages. So halfway through this stage and I could already feel fatigue. This stage was my worst by far, Florent and Rajesh left me by another 20 seconds. To sum up my day, I was pretty disappointed with myself; due to my fitness I lost out on the top two. My exams are coming up in May so I have literally no time to train.
Day two, my favourite day as in this day more skill and balls are required to win stages. So we headed off to stage 4, another stage with jeeptrack in it but a lot more fun as it was only downhill. I crossed the finish line six seconds behind Rajesh and 18 seconds behind Florent. My chance to get in the top two was already over so my plan for the rest of the day was to be smooth and not crash so as to secure third position. Then we had the liaison up to stage 5 up a steep road — man it was such a hot day. Stage 5 was the steepest of them all with loose dust and ruts. This stage went pretty smooth and consistent. I finished it only 6 seconds behind RJ and Florent.
Moving onto stage 6 I was all warmed up and prepared for hitting this steep stage through the paddy fields of Nagarkot. I pinned it again and ended up only a few seconds behind the top two. We then got shuttled up to stage 7 , which was my favourite stage of all. I had my gels 30 minutes before my race run which helped a lot with energy. When hitting stage 7 I was 150 % committed. Reaching the end I found out that I had beaten Rajesh by 15 seconds and Florent by 20 on this stage. But this was still not enough to recover what I had lost on the first day.
Overall this race was the first official Asian Enduro in Nepal! Pretty stoked with the organisation. Thanks to all the marshals and organisers for making this event happen :-)
Words: Rajesh Magar Photos: GauravMan Sherchan
Happy to have finished 2nd place on the podium. I had a 10 second lead on the first day from the first three stages, but Florent caught up with me on day 2 in the remaining 4 stages.
Competing in the Asia Enduro race was certainly a different experience, in the sense that in addition to some of the good local riders, we were this time also competing with some very good regional mountain bikers. While I am happy to see that we Nepalese riders are not far behind in the regional scene at least, we cannot be complacent.
Rajesh Magar, Himalayan Rides Sponsors:
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