The lodge we stayed in Kalopani was quite nice and the views of the mountains on the next morning were extraordinary.
Today we had a long ride of 55 km of jeep roads to reach the town of Beni. The road was so rocky that everyone, whether that had 6” of travel, 29in wheels or carbon bikes, all wondered why our over priced suspension did not work. We have tried dialing air pressure, compression damping and rebound without success. It was just going to be one bumpy ride!
Since the last 2 days we had the chance to witness many impressive waterfalls, this one took part of the road with it.
The trucks and buses in Nepal are quite something. They are all decorated and very colorful. All of them drive like there is no tomorrow and they all have a different slogan on the front bumper. The best ones were:
“No Time for Love”
And ….. “Liver boy” !?
After reaching Beni, we hopped on a bus to spend the night in Pokhara. We had such a deluxe service with Epic Ride Nepal it’s unbelievable. The guides are not only very friendly they are also great bike mechanics. Every night they cleaned and adjusted our bikes even thruing wheels in the process. We were spoiled.
The next day it was pouring rain for the first time. The group divided itself in two and some of us set out to do a dh run from the world peace pagoda down to the Pokhara lake.
The vegetation around Pokhara is almost sub-tropical, it was a totally different feeling to ride in the humid jungle. Somehow it seemed totally appropriate that is was raining.
Meanwhile the rest of the group went on a sightseeing tour to visit some local attraction including a bat filled cave.
The drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu is a long and stressful drive. The driving here is absolutely nuts, I am not even sure I can describe how crazy it is. The road switchbacks on the side of the very steep valley walls. The drivers uses the upcoming lane like we use the fast line on the highway. They pass every time they need, blind corner or not, and only if there is a imminent collision coming they would serve back last second to their own lane. We were very happy to break that drive in half and do some dh runs at the cable car in Kurintar.
There was only a few carts for our bikes so it took a while to get all of our 13 bikes at the top.
The only cable car in Nepal leads to an important temple for the Hindus where they give offerings.
Our ride started at the top with an exciting stroll through the busy town.
The path that we used to come down from the top was steep, exposed and technical. We had a blast choosing the best line of this walking trails.
For this ride we had a extra guide that is local to these gnarly trails.
Sometimes the best line was the inside line and sometimes it was safer to slowly turn the complete switchback.
Dave had a pretty nice crash off the trail where is he was happy to stop sliding down. He walked away safe on a sprained ankle.
The middle section of the trail gave us time to breathe a little bit and enjoy the scenery.
The last section of the trail was something that we would always remember. We descended the rest of the elevation on very very thigh switchbacks. We were not sure how many switchbacks but our estimate is well over 100 switchbacks. We went down around 500m in one straight shot using not more than 30m wide. The succession of switchback had more to do with a staircase than a trail with only a few meters between the switchbacks. To our surprise what looked impossible to ride from the cable car was actually a blast to come down as our technique improved from turn to turn. We did more switchback that day then years of regulars ridding in the north east.
At the bottom we used some farm trails to cross rice paddies to reach a fancy resort where we had the best chow mein we ever had.