Nepali Times
Mountain bike championship

In two weeks, an 11-km track inside the Nagarjun reserve will be the scene of Nepal\'s first Mountain Bike Championship series. The championship is being organised by Peter Stewart, the man who brought the country\'s first-ever rickshaw race in 1996.

The mountain bike event will be divided into three races in five categories and will showcase the best mountainbiking from Nepal and abroad. "Kathmandu is at a critical point, young people are not doing much. Sports like this would really help mould them and keep them occupied with something good," says Stewart, the race director.

The Himalayan Mountain Bike Race Series-2000 will invite high school students, juniors (under 16), seniors (over 40), women and open to compete. The open event will see trail raiders comprising of all age groups.
The one-day race will be held on three days: 9 September, 1 October and 11 November. During that period, the participants will be adding points according to timing and position in each event. The one who gets the highest points will bag the grand award: a two-way Qatar Airways ticket and an entry into the European MTB Championships this year. The inter-school competition winners will get a running trophy, which points to the a national MTB championship in future.

The first stage will kick off with the junior and students group (10.4 km) followed by the women\'s group (13.7 km) at 11 in the morning. The seniors will start about an hour later and will be followed by the "trail raiders" of the open event to complete the 33.6 km course in three laps of the 11 -km loop that runs through the Nagarjun forest. "The loop will remain the same in all the three races till November as it would help athletes correct their timing, improve their skills and gain confidence," says Stewart. "It generates positive feelings towards this action packed sport."

The course is based on standards set by the Union of Cycling International (UCI) and follows the suggested format. Says Stewart, "The race will provide good spectator viewing. There will be enough time to move around the course to watch events like the Open Category which will pass spectators on 10 occasions."

The event will be aired by IMG and TWI, the leading international TV sports coverage companies, for distribution to various TV networks worldwide.
An added attraction will be Barrie Clarke and Caroline Alexander, World Cup and UK National MTB Champions, who will compete in the open race on the last day of the championship. They will later conduct a four-day training camp for Nepali riders at Borderlands, a resort near the Nepal-Tibet border on the Kodari road. The final awards ceremony is to be held at Hotel Radisson in Kathmandu.

To register, contact the Himalayan Mountain Bike offices in Thamel or through their website

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)