Well, for me the so-called mountain bike “Hell Race” was more of a heavenly race: great track, beautiful nature, no fall, nice people and the first place in the women’s category! What more could I ask for?
The one-day race took place in the Dhauladhar mountain range between the two tourist resorts of Manali and Mcleod Ganj in Bir. Bir is worldwide famous for paragliding and only last month the World Paragliding Championships took place here!
While the paragliders fly down from the 2400 m high Billing down to Bir, we mountain bikers have cycled up the 18 km on a well-developed road. Then we went partly on a jeep piste, partly on forest paths first 8 more kilometers uphill and then 16 km down through beautiful, small villages.
Many loose stones, narrow paths and fallen trees made this section a real adventure and I wasn’t the only one who had to push the bike every now and then!
The last section was a real reward for all participants: it went 14 km down the road to the tranquil village of Barot, famous for its trout from the Uhl River!
I enjoyed the 55 km and benefited from my experience from the previus MTB Himalaya race!
Finally there was also a women’s category in this race. Although there were only 4 participants in total, that are already 3 more than in other races. A good sign for cycling in general and for Indian women in particular!