Is this event for me?
To undertake this event Races must be every fit and enjoy mountain bike riding and exploring other cultures. Races need to be able to repair their own bikes and not rely on organizers. Experience with mountain environment is mandatory. Navigational skills with GPS is mandatory as it is compulsory to have a GPS during the race.
How challenging are the race stages?
The Upper Mustang ride is challenging due to many ups and downs through high passes up to 4200m high. We sleep in Upper Mustang at about 3500m so relative climbs are not too demanding but altitude and days of riding on single mountain trails and unpaved road is challenging to any bike rider. The whole event will be demanding for all riders. It requires a serious endurance level and the ability to ride mountain bike on mountain trails and unpaved road uphill. One should be in good physical shape to start with. Generally our customers for normal Upper Mustang Bike Riding adventure trips are bike riders or recreational runners and many test themselves with occasional 10km city fun runs or 50km mountain bike rides or 100km road rides. You don’t need to be competitive just to be able to complete run or ride within average event time.
You should aim to run twice per week and trying to get your 10km within 1 hour or 100km road ride within 5 hours, which will mean that you can sustain continuous exercise. To prepare for that you should preference outdoor step training or riding hills minimum twice a week. The more hills and steps you manage to get in, the more enjoyable the ride will be and you will also get more benefit out of the adventure.
In Kathmandu we use popular 4 star standard heritage Hotel called Hotel Shanker or similar. Similarly in Pokhara we Mount Kailash Resort or similar centrally located with swimming pool and other amenities.
During the biking trip, we stay in local lodges thorough out as we want to give business to local people in this remote part of the world. Accommodation standard differs along the route and we provide the best lodges possible. In Lower Mustang you will enjoy comfortable lodges with good bathrooms and hot water. In Upper Mustang there is comfortable lodge in Lo Manthang but lodges on the way are pretty basic and you may have to sleep in dormitory style lodges with only toilet facilities.
At Tange village, you will experience very basic conditions with bucket wash-up or you may choose a facility of outdoor fountain. There are very few lodges there sometimes the rooms can be packed due to other tourists, but we will take extra tents just as in case rooms are not available. Tange is very remote and there is no proper phone network there hence no pre booking system.
We will mostly eat in local lodges as we want to give business to local people in this remote part of the world. Food is generally good and fresh and we have our own trekking experienced cook to supervise the preparation of food and maintain hygiene.
Who are the support crew:
Our support crew are also among the most experienced mountain guides with more than decades of providing hospitality in the middle of Himalayas. We provide extensive training to our staff in technical climbing and bike riding as well as English, customer relationships and outdoor First Aid. Quite simply they are among the best at what they do. Our event mountain bike crew are some of the most experienced in Nepal – place where mountain biking is far more challenging than in many other places.
Do I have to carry my gear?
During event you will have to carry day bike repair kit, personal medical kit (provided by us), a thermal blanket, headlamp and torch with you at all times with your other necessary essentials for the day. We will give you an event duffel bag to put your personal clothes and belongings which we will transport to night stops or end points.
Would I have to carry or push my bike uphill?
Yes, we will have two hard days in the middle of the trip from on stage 5 after Surkhang to Tange for about 15 mins, and on Stage 6 we have a push our Bikes for around 2-3 hrs climbing around 900m after Yak Khola but this is worth it as there are some superb views and downhill that follow. At this stage we will also be well acclimatized and accustomed to this sort of physical activity.
Who will repair my bike?
All riders have to rely on themselves for the repair of Bikes. However, for basic repairs and cleaning / lubrication, there will be a mechanical workshop present at the lodges by one of our support crew.
Is food included in the price?
In Kathmandu and Pokhara your breakfast is included and you will bear the cost of any other meals to allow you have a personal choice of restaurant. Once you fly to Jomsom until you return back to Pokhara, breakfast, lunch (hot or pack) and dinners along with tea / coffee during the meals are included. Any extra food item and beverage that you intake beside the main group members, shall be paid by yourself.
Do I need a visa to Nepal?
All foreign visitors to Nepal with exception of Indian nationals require Nepali visa. Passport holders of Australia, New Zealand, United States and all European countries are eligible for the visa on arrival. Since spring 2015 Nepali Immigration has introduced computerized automated visa system making arrival Immigration process fast and convenient. For Upper Mustang mountain biking adventure you will need to apply for 30 days visa.
Will someone pick me up from the airport?
Yes our event representative will pick you up from the International airport and will transfer you to the hotel. We monitor time of your arrival and we will be there on-time. All you need to do is to collect your luggage, clear customs and proceed to the outside of the terminal. Kathmandu International terminal is very small. Once you outside the building you see your name displayed by our representative, who will transfer to the hotel.
Do I need sleeping bag?
Yes you need -10°C sleeping bag for some lodges in Upper Mustang for personal comfort as the bedding doesn’t include blanket covers. You don’t require sleeping bags during your stay in Kathmandu and Pokhara.
The adventure is scheduled during the best weather period in the area. Upper and Lower Mustang areas are semi desert areas (extension of Tibetan Plateau) with low precipitation, however with dramatic climate change, we see disturbance of weather patterns with unusual precipitation and unpredictable cold weather snaps, so you have to be prepared for that with extra warm gear. Please check average temperature and precipitation in Muktinath. Click the link below for weather.
The weather in Muktinath will be typical for Upper Mustang with temperatures slightly lower at night and lower at the high passes. This will make comfortable riding uphill but potentially colder downhill with wind-chill factor. We recommend use of Gore-Tex jacket and Fleece combination.
Appropriate riding gear must be worn at all times. Based on our experience, every racer is advised to be prepared for rain, cold winds, the possibility of snow and sudden temperature changes.
Use of Clothes and layering?
Apply Layering Principle while Trekking and Biking
While biking in mountainous undulating environment and in particularly at high altitudes where the weather is also a subject to rapid changes one needs to adopt layering principle with clothing to regulate body temperature ensuring that the body temperature stays in comfortable range to prevent excessive sweating followed by rapid cooling. You should start your day with number of layers to feel warm and comfortable and remove layers on the go quickly to prevent unnecessary overheating and sweating.
Utilize Merino Moisture Wicking, Insulation and Antibacterial Properties
The process of taking the moisture away from the body is called wicking. Wool and synthetic fabrics are really good wicking materials hence they are very suitable to wear for hard physical activity such mountain biking and climbing. Due to its natural nano-tube construction wool has also antibacterial properties, so it stays usable for much longer. It is slightly more expensive then polypropylene so is Himalayan biking. Using cotton shirts for high altitude biking, trekking or climbing is a wrong and dangerous approach, which can lead to hypothermia.
Is the ride safe? What are the risks and how do you mitigate them?
The risks during the ride are potential to develop AMS, gastric problems or physical injury. The Mustang Madness maintains programs and procedures to prevent and avoid all the above. We have appropriately equipped and up-to-dated First Aid Kit and train staff how to use it effectively. We require each racer to have own personal medical kit during, valid Travel Insurance, which allows for Medi-evac. We treat AMS, gastric issues and bleeding and if required we activate emergency evacuation by helicopter. Helicopter evacuation is organized looking at the nature of sickness by our support crew coordinated by our Kathmandu office.
There are risks associated with adventure activities such as excessive non-seasonal snowfall or landslide blocking the path and potential earthquake. We have developed emergency and evacuation procedures to ensure safety on our adventure, which includes double back-up communication channels to our office in Kathmandu to assists us with any emergency.
Do I require insurance?
Yes, all participants are required to purchase adequate Travel Insurance, which includes helicopter emergency evacuation.
What is AMS?
Please read and research in detail – http://www.altitude.org/altitude_sickness.php
What type of Bike should I bring?
Cross Country or All-Mountain Bikes with 26”, 29” and 27.5” wheel size.
Are accessories available with the Support Crew?
Support will have limited accessories and basic mountain bike repair / servicing kit. You are required to bring your own spare parts and accessories.
Can I hire a Bike in Kathmandu?
Yes, you can hire Mountain Bikes from $25 – $40 per day in Kathmandu through us. Please email at firstname.lastname@example.org for pre-booking.
Can I join the trip in Jomsom?
Yes, you also have the option of joining us at Pokhara or Jomsom but you need to leave your passport and photographs with us before you head to Jomsom so that we can make special permit for Mustang with the group.
How do I get my personal bag in every night stop?
Bags may reach late than you reach your overnight lodge as your bags are carried by porters and they need to walk to cover the distance you have ride.
How are our bikes transferred to Jomsom and brought back to Kathmandu after the race?
On the second day of your arrival – you will have to hand over your bikes to our support crew. The support crew is heading to Jomsom overland on the same day so that they can greet you as you arrive there on 22nd November by flight. Similarly participants who are joining from Pokhara can hand over their bikes in Pokhara.
How do you maintain our race timings?
We have qualified Marshalls at different checkpoints in all stages to keep timings.
Due to the nature of limited participants there are only Open Category – however to encourage women there will be special prize for overall woman winner.
The complete rules and regulations can be downloaded in PDF format from here.