I have been excited about this since about two days after the 2013 Yak Attack finished. The day after I finished the Yak last year I swore I would never do it again, but after a few beers and a good night sleep I forgot the pain of the race and all I could remember was how fun it was!
So I'm at it again.
I am typing this from the Istanbul Airport while I wait for my flight, and this year couldn't be more different from last year. In 2013 I had an ideal build up to the race. I was in the shape of my life, But this year has been the opposite. I had a great January of training with friends in AZ, but almost the entire month of February I have been sick and unable to train. I am finally feeling better, but I have serious doubts about my ability to match my results from last year.
But the one thing I do have in my back pocket is experience, and that is something not to be underestimated in this race. Here are a few observations:
1) Travel: I'll start with the most relevant topic. Getting to Kathmandu from Colorado takes at least 28 hours of travel and a 12 hour 45 minute time change. That is not easy on the human body. Having done this journey four times now I feel I have a solid grasp on how my body works and how to get over the time difference. I have some secrests I'll share once the race is over, don't want to help out my competition too much ;) (because of course they are all watching me intently...)
2) Clothing: You need clothing for EVERY climate. I'm lucky to be a Primal Wear athlete and I am fully equiped. In this race can start at 90+ degrees F, and then drop to below zero the last day over Thorong-La Pass. I used the full line of Primal clothing last year and needed every bit. Knowing how to regulate your temperature in this race, whether it be to stay warm or cool, is key to performace. (Shameless plug for my clothing sponsor (seriously these guys and gals rock): PrimalWear.com)
3) Bike Choice: Their is much debate over whether a hard tail or a fs is the better bike choice for the Yak. Having raced it once I know that I will never attemp it on a hardtail. I don't care how muh climbing there is (~40,000 ft), 8 days on rough roads without a rear shock would be killer. I had some serious saddle sores last year, I can only imagine what the hard tail crowd was dealing with. I am racing on a Rocky Mountain Element 999RSL.
4) Food: The food in Nepal is delicious, but most foreigners do get some kind of stomach bug at some point during their trip. The key is knowing what to eat (sticking with the local Dal Bhat (rice and lentils) is usually a good bet). Also drinking lots of tea can keep things running smoothly. (Shameless plug for my tea company: NepaliTeaTraders.com)
Thats all for now! Hopefully my next post will come from Kathmandu!