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Downhill Biking Showdown 2014

In a spectacular show of skills and mettle, 45 mountain bikers charged down Hattiban’s rugged trails in the Snickers LifeCycle Downhill Championship.

 

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Braving the chilly weather and foggy drizzles on a gloomy Saturday, some 40-odd mountain bikers hammered down unforgiving downhill trails at the Snickers LifeCycle Downhill Championship. Held at the serene hilltop of Hattiban on the 18th of January 2014, the race had an enthusiastic mix of a huge crowd of spectators and adrenaline-pumped riders ready to dominate the trails. Organizers from LifeCycle Nepal had worked meticulously in days leading to the race working closely with the local mountain biking companies and Hattiban community. Moreover, Nepalese Army Rangers contributed greatly in building the track and as race marshals they ensured the race moved on smoothly. Indeed, such a collaboration reiterates the commitment of both local riders and the government showing an active interest in promoting downhill biking and cycling in general.

 

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Riders from the valley, Pokhara and Dharan as well as international riders from the U.S.A and Bhutan took part in the race that was divided into Elite and Open categories, the former for professional racers and the latter for amateurs. Among 22 riders in the Elite category who raced in a 2.5km track, Shakar Yakthumba from Life Cycle came in first with a timing of 3:38.9, followed by a tight chase by El Yak’s Mangal Lama (3:39.2) and Sambhu Gurung (3:41.0). The winners received a cash prize of Rs. 30,000, Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 5,000 respectively. Likewise, in the shorter Open category race, Nirakar Yakthumba from Life Cycle bagged the first position, followed by Prayash Tamang (Bike Station) and Alin Maharjan, who took away gift prizes.

 

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Though the light rain shortly past noon had compromised the track as the loose soil got slippery and visibility was limited, there was no looking back for the enthusiastic racers. “Racing conditions are always unpredictable and everyone has the same disadvantage. I knew the risks beforehand and did not race at my peak speed. I took it easy on turns and jumps, so I didn’t lose much time with falls and off-balances,” shared the race winner Shakar Yakthumba. Shyam Limbu, one of the organizers also maintained, “The weather could have definitely been nicer, but it’s a part of the game to prepare for all kinds of obstacles. However, we’re glad riders had a good time and spectators thoroughly enjoyed the event. We’re really pleased with the turnout too!”

 

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Though the numbers of downhill enthusiasts is increasing in Nepal, this rather expensive sport is still largely a niche in Nepal. For starters, a downhill bike could cost about Nrs. 1.5 lakhs! But with events like the Snickers LifeCycle Downhill Championship, the community will certainly grow and Nepalese downhill riders can further hone their skills to outperform in national and international downhill meets.

 

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