Stage 1 Balkhu’s Epiphany

27-09-2019, 2200 hours, Gada Khuffer, Distt. Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India: The moment comes as the competition finally begins for the participants of the 15th MTB Himalaya 2019 today as they enter into the first stage of the race. The stage is called Balkhu’s epiphany. The trail consists of jeep roads, single trails with some tarmac sections at certain locations along the way. This circuit starts from Dak bangla moving along to Bekhalti, Sarog and Kyatu eventually ending at Gada Kuffer approximately covering 64 Kms. The racers were flagged off by Mr. Abhishek Munjal, Director, Hero Cycles. A total of 89 cyclists from 17 countries across the globe have joined this year round for the title of King and queen of the Himalaya 2019.

The maximum elevation gained during the stage was 2480m with minimum elevation going down to 1650m. This stage had three feed station located at Bhekhalti, Kelvi diversion and the last one being in between the uphill section from Kelvi diversion to Gada Khuffer respectively.

By the end of the day Adria Noguera (Spain) held on to the pole position dominating the 1st stage completing it in three hours twenty one minutes and fifty seven seconds followed by Bart classens (Netherlands) trailing by three minutes forty two seconds and Thomas Turner (U.S.A.) by eighteen minutes forty eight seconds from the Spaniard. While Cory Wallace (Canada) and Jason English (Australia) came in 4th and 5th position in the open men solo category, while coming first in the team of two category with a total time of three hours thirty nine minutes and forty six seconds.

In the open women solo category Ada Xinxo (Spain) completed the stage in four hours thirteen minutes and fifty five seconds followed by Catherine Williamson (U.K. of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) trailing by nine minutes ten seconds and Naima Medlen Diesner (Germany) by eleven minutes and forty two seconds from the leader respectively.

With the first leg of the race dominated by the Spaniards, the racers settle in for the night at the camp setup in the beautiful and serene forest near Gada Kuffer, preparing for the second stage of the race tomorrow.

The camp site at Gada Guffer. Photo Credit: Abhinav Kaushal

The view towards the horizon at the end of stage 1. Photo Credit: Abhinav Kaushal

Riders getting some respite from the cold sitting around Bon fire . Photo Credit: Abhinav Kaushal

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