Lindsay, not quite as daredevil as I, or more likely as stupid, didn’t fancy any major singletrack or downhill, so we went for a route around Pokhara valley. It looked like mainly fire road, and anyone who loves mountain biking knows how boring and tedious fire road is. Fire road in Nepal though, means barely rideable, techy, and incredibly steep. Strava tells me up to 43.3% steep! (see Strava image below)
Looking past the burning legs, the hot and humid air, and the sweat pouring into the eyes, we were greeted with incredible views of snow-capped mountain tops. It was a hard and steep start, but a good way to start a Monday morning. Not an office in sight.
Views of the Himalayas, and the famous Mt Machhapuchhre, or “Fish Tail” standing at 6977m tall overlooking Pokhara made the first lung-busting ascent well worth it.
The lung-busting was made all the worse due to my goal, which of course was to beat the local guide up all the ascents – this travelling mullarkey isn’t quite as relaxed as it sounds!
The route continued to snake it’s way uphill, through small villages and dense jungle. Towards the top of the climb allowed us a rest with a view over Pokhara and Phewa Tal, and across to our next climb – the other side of the lake and to the World Peace Pagoda. But first, an easy descent down the boring fire road – not so! The fire road was full of ruts and rocks and sketchy to say the least. On a local mountain bike, which looked like it had front suspension, but in reality acted like a fully rigid bike and with brakes that got the adrenaline pumping, it made for an interesting descent.
Finally, making it to the bottom and at the end of the lake where the river runs in, we crossed the river on a small “ferry”, or rather a floating platform tied to each bank, we dragged ourselves to the other side. Cycling through the rice fields along the side of the river made this feel like a proper adventure.
Soon the leg-burning would start again with another lung-busting ascent to the Peace Pagoda. Getting there certainly wasn’t peaceful. The sun was getting ever hotter, and the climbs it seemed, ever steeper. There was also an attack from some local hungry leeches trying to feast on our sweaty feet!
Once at the Peace Pagoda, greeted by more views of Pokhara we weren’t too interested in walking further to see the Pagoda itself. Instead, a little café just below the Pagoda was selling incredible Lychee ice creams. This seemed to be a much better reward for making it to the top.
Posted by Will