With all the substantial climbing over there was only one stage left... 67km in length and mostly descending with a fair bit of 'Uptulating' terrain to take us from Muktinath to Tatapani... and the promise of a relaxing hot spring.
The day started not so well as not long into the first jeep track descent i noticed my forks were sitting almost at the bottom of their travel and with no shock pump there was nothing i could do to try and remedy this... maybe an issue with altitude.
So now riding what was essentially a fully rigid bike (i suppose i should be used to this) i made my way down the first descent to the first flatter section of the day... a ride along the dry river bed to Jomson... at this point i past the Swedish guys.. Andreas and Martin.. who had suffered a flat on one of the many cobble we were riding over, Andreas had gone off super fast making the most of his very well trained bike handling skills but had slowed mid downhill so himself and Martin could ride out the last stage together.
Passing through Jomson the trail maintained to be super dry and dusty Jeep track.. not particularly nice to ride with the constant dust drying out your throat... the track was very uptulating with short climbs and short descents and the odd diversion across braided channels of incoming streams to this very wide and flat valley.
As the trail continued the valley began to narrow and we etered the deepest valley in the world being flanked either side by 7000m plus peaks... as the valley barrowed the trail steepened and became now very fast and rocky... fear of dropping the handlebars increased as my arms and upper body took on the job of my non functioning suspension.
The target time for the locals for this stage was 3 hours and i was pretty glad when the 3 hour mark came and past meaning i must be getting close to the end.
Quickly the finish came through a narrow street and the sight of Phil Evans, Race Organiser, sat under the finishing banner was a welcome one.
A cold Everest beer was ordered and i could now truly relax.
The evening was spent enjoying the hot springs and more beer... a fitting reward for completing the highest race in the world using the least amount of gears.
The next day was jaded by the haze of the previous nights drinking but still with only 22km of riding to complete the challenge was not a big one.
With no racing today i rode in baggies and Jonny Cash t shirt and spent most of the ride trying to out 'pump' Andreas through the undulations to gain as much free ground as possible and taking any opportunity to pop off a lip or small rock... in less than a few hours we reached Beni and enjoyed a motorised transfer to Pokara.
Its impossible to convey the awe and amazement i have encountered riding this event... with my year so focussed on completing the challenge i have set myself i lost sight of the individuality of each event i would ride but each and every pedal stroke or metre carried in this event wass done so in the most amazing place i have ever been in my life... the people, the culture, the scenery all contributed to a fantastic event... its not easy but it is more than achievable for most people and a worthy challenge to add to anybodes wish list of events.
I would like to thank Phil Evans who with the help of Chhime Gurang makes this event possible, i wanna thank volunteers such as Snow Monkey and Rattaman who gave endless support throughout this event and i now consider great friends.... i would like also to praise the local competitors Ajay, Mangel, Kaji and Chandra, 4 of the best riders i have ever raced against in my life and i pray they never leave Nepal as life racing these guys would be just too hard:) Not only did the local competitors race but at the end of everyday made sure the international competitors were looked after eventhough they had just also ridden the same arduous stages that we had.
I have to say i love this country and the people... i can't wait to race here again.
Huge thanks goes to all my sponsors as always.. Genesis Bikes, Montane Clothing and Alpkit.
A special thanks goes to Col Stocker who has to be credited not only for all the images of this trip and eduring long days walking on the trail but also for leaving a new daughter and family at less than a weeks notice to help support me.. thanks Col it was hugely appreciated.