Sonya Looney Yak Attack Nepal Race Report and Interview

Race Coverage

Stage 7: Cahme – Manang, Nepal

Finally!! A good day on the bike! First, there was a little ceremony for us from the Manang governing body and they wrapped prayer shawls around our necks before we set off on the stage.

We walked to the start that was just outside of town past the stupa photo I posted in my last post. I had a good start and noticed something – my legs weren’t heavy like they had been. The altitude wasn’t an issue and somehow I rode away from everyone! I was in 7th overall for most of the day. There was one Nepali guy that was yo-yoing back and forth and in the end, he attacked and got me by 5 minutes. My legs were turning the pedals over and I could ride the steep inclines where other people were walking. Where did this come from? I loved the course today – it reminded me of the terrain in Breckenridge or Nederland, and the dirt was the same type of dirt as well.

There were some serious cliffs too. We crossed a suspension bridge over a river and there were huge boulders in the river. I would have loved to stop and stare at them. I’m glad I glanced up the canyon to see that! The water was a very brilliant teal color. The hike after the bridge was short, but tough because I was sore from the last 2 days of carrying my bike. I was able to ride almost everything after that which was a relief. It was mostly flat after some traversing through snow covered trail in the trees, but challenging because we were high up. There was a lot of mud. We went through a couple very basic villages.

The valley was pretty long and there were a lot of hikers and porters. Look at this guy running!!

I finished 8th overall (men’s race) today – my best finish of the race so far. They actually had a hose at the hotel which made washing bikes really easy.

Jeff and I were lucky to get a room with its own bathroom. A lot of the other rooms did not have one.

Of course, there was no hot water so showering wasn’t going to happen. I’m glad I brought travel sized baby wipes! Since we had a rest day the tomorrow, I attempted to wash one of my kits. It froze on the clothesline, but it’ll dry tomorrow I bet. A few of us went to a coffee shop at the end of town and I had apple crumb pie and tea. People were obsessing over the chocolate cake too. There were a lot of people at the coffee shop because it was so cold everywhere(including inside at the teahouses) and there was a nice, hot stove to warm ourselves.

Yak cheese pizza… who would’ve thought?

There was a goat killed out back behind the hotel to make mutton curry for dinner. I had never had goat before, and I felt bad eating goat because they are so cute!

(not the goat we ate)

The dinner was actually not so good – a big plate of white rice and a little bit of mutton and no vegetables. Dessert was also some flavorless custard stuff . It was very cold at night. I had my merino wool tights, down pants, long sleeve base layer, synthetic down vest, down jacket, a hat, 35F bag, a thin blanket, and big wool socks and was still cold for half the night! I spent a lot of time caring for Jeff as well. He got even more sick during the stage and has a 103 fever. Poor guy. I hope he gets better since he can rest all day tomorrow. I’m just trying to get him to eat something. The doc started him on a broad spectrum antibiotic in case it’s bacterial, I guess we’ll see what happens. Major bummer.

I’m glad we have a rest day tomorrow. It is so stunning here. This is my favorite town so far. We are surrounded by 22,000′ mountains. There’s a really good energy here. Tomorrow, we get to go for a hike (without our bikes!!)

Yak Attack Stage 7 Gallery

Yak Attack Rest Day »

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