Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kathmandu days and preparing for Blast-Off!

Like a modern day Billy The Kid!

Dave, Wilco and I arrived back in Kathmandu on the 19th February, several days in advance of our predicted arrival. We flew in from Lukla on what must be one of the coolest flights on earth! Well that’s if it goes smoothly of course; luckily ours went with barely a ripple and took a mere 20 minutes from take-off to landing. We realised just how far we had walked in the preceding days as we flew back over much of what of we had covered on foot! The High Himalaya is just a impressive from the air.
We spent a few days recovering from our wounds and did a little sightseeing. We ate as much food as we could including copious quantities of cake from the local bakery. We deserved it, we figured!
We bumped in to new found friends from the trail and toasted them in the bars of Thamel. Beware of the local “Everest” beer. It gives an Everest sized hangover! Ouch.
I spent separate afternoons cycling around the city with both Dave and Wilco; and we had a lot of fun running the gauntlet of the outrageous Kathmandu traffic. If you can survive there, you can survive anywhere!
We booked ourselves on to a kayaking trip for a couple of days (Thursday & Friday) with Adventure Aves Nepal. The trip was a lot of fun, the instruction from Bishnu Gurung was first class and the food was excellent; the equipment was mostly UK imported and was in very good condition. Check them out if you are ever in the region and fancy some adventure. We paid $100 each and it was well worth it. They offer a number of packages for differing levels and also a spectacular looking White-Water Rafting trip.
Some of the rapids were wicked and we even had to by-pass one due to the level of difficulty/danger. It was a lot of fun riding that one on the safety raft; I’m pretty sure we would have lasted about 5 seconds trying to negotiate it in a kayak!

Over the weekend I started to feel pretty grotty and by Sunday night I had a very high fever. I had probably picked up a bug from a fellow traveller (Gunnar Soras, our Norwegian friend; I felt like Neil Sore-Ass after a couple of days!) or maybe from swallowing river water on the kayak trip. Who knows? I spent the next few days pretty much confined to barracks spending my time either in bed or on the toilet; liquidising everything I tried to eat within minutes of consuming it. Not the most fun I’ve had whilst travelling.
Dave and Wilco left for England on Tuesday afternoon and I waved them off from The Kathmandu Guesthouse; I couldn’t run the risk of going to the airport and being too far from a facility! I was sad to see them go but glad for both of them because they were both ready to go home and see their respective loved ones. I have to wait another three weeks for that pleasure.
My preparation for the Yak Attack has therefore been somewhat hampered but I have now stabilised a little (Phew) and I took a ride around the city today. It was nice to be back in the saddle even with the crushing pollution that means I have to wear my buff as a dust mask! I look like a modern day Billy The Kid! I don’t know what the locals make of me but I get some funny looks.
Official registration for The Yak Attack is tomorrow (Friday). I have started to meet a few of the other riders now but I have tried to avoid too much contact; I don’t want to be the man who scuppers the entire field with a ghastly virus! Mind you if I do at least I’ll have a chance of winning! Hahahaha.
I have some packing to do ready for race day and I will give the bike a little clean and service on Friday afternoon. And then off we go. 12 days of hell! Hot and dusty for the first few days followed by increasing altitude and cold for several more before a long and glorious descent of 67kms all in one day!
It is unlikely that I will be able to post any updates but you never know so keep having a look. Phil Evans, the organiser, will trying to update the official Yak Attack website when he can so you can follow the race progress on there too.

I have an almost-finished epic covering our trek to upload and I will try to do this before the race. The internet is pretty slow though and the images take forever!

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