Back to the Mountains

We are ready for our next longer trekking trip to the mountains.  We will be covering the classic route of Sagamartha National Park.  It is where Everest Base Camp is from on the Nepal side.  The trek will cover the three passes leading towards Everest Base Camp.

It’s been raining on and off since yesterday afternoon.  It made me weary to know that there will be more rain coming our way this next week.  I saw a post on Facebook of a picture of Everest Base Camp and it got a feet of snow last night.  This is life in the mountains, you just never know.  There are 40 expeditions to climb Mt Everest this year and already, EBC is looking to be like a city.  We will drop by to see what it really looks like during peak climbing season.  I’ve always wanted to see the many expedition tents in person.

Last week, we had a great day with our friend, Dharma and his lovely family.  We got to experience Newari food and also met his 87 year old mother.  All of their relatives live around the village of Kirtipur, about 30 mins from Thamel on a mountain bike.  We got lost on the way back and took us longer.  We were glad to make it back right before dark!  It’s pretty intense to ride a bike in Kathmandu’s traffic specially riding on the “Ring Road.”  The Ring Road circles around central Thamel and it’s the main road most used in the city.  Kirtipur is a really beautiful old village with a lot of temples.  It’s not as busy as the other temples like the Monkey Temple and it’s also up high in the hills.  It’s always nice to sit in Dharma’s house with the cool breeze blowing in.  We had a fantastic time with them.  We plan to visit them again in the fall.

I learned a couple of phrases in Nepali and whenever I say it, people smile at me.  Doug also knows a couple of words and when he says it, everyone cracks up.  The ladies have “Tikkas” or the red dots on their foreheads only after they are married which I learned from Mathura, Dharma’s beautiful and warm hearted wife.  She always made us dhal baht in big portions then offers us to go for seconds.  Her cooking is amazing and we don’t go hungry when we visit, there’s always food.  She reminded me of my mom and I felt homesick a bit during the visit.  Their kitchen is on the top floor, just right above their rooms.  Dharma lives in a four story home and it looks like Mathura’s sister owns the little grocery stand on right as we enter the building.  We met her as we were leaving and thanked her for keeping an eye on our bikes.  Everyone seems to know Dharma and his family, in fact the whole village is a very tight community.  Most are Newaris and the culture is so important to the people living in Kirtipur.

Chatamari, similar to a pizza

We met Dharma at the Manaslu stage race last year.  He was racing, a fast runner and a Nepalese masters athlete who travels to race internationally.  I just found out from him that he will be racing in a running road race in France coming three months.  He’s been training hard for the race.  Dharma invited us to his home last year, we really love his family so here we are back visiting.  We invited them out to dinner so we had authentic Newari food such as chatamari, bars and of course momos.  It’s just so much fun visiting them and they’ve become good friends.

We got our TIMS card and permits for Sagamartha National Park so we are ready to go.  We had to go to the Nepal Tourism Board office to get it.  It’s about a 200 rupee taxi ride to the office and we walked back to Thamel.  Today, we purchased our bus ticket for Jiri.

The Annapurna Circuit is a great start for us to train at high altitude.  The mountain bike ride from Kathmandu to Besi Sahar with just the bike, no bike shorts or shoes proved that we can survive with just the minimal, however we hope to figure out a way to get some of our bike gears from home to where we are but it’s likely not to happen.  We may have to go old school.  I have not clue how to ship stuff from the US to Nepal and get our stuff safely or how long will it take.  We really don’t want to spend for gears we already have from home.  Sigh.

This next trip is going to be good high altitude training for us going from just 10 days to over a month in the mountains.  We plan to spend as much time up in high altitude, come back for a week then fly off to Leh, India which lies at an altitude of 3524 metres (11,562 ft)!  We will be in Leh beginning June so we should have enough time (crossing our fingers) to acclimate for the race.  I will cover more about our training plan as we go this month and see how our bodies acclimate in the mountains.  That will tell us how much intensity we will need to recover well during training.  We aren’t riding out bikes but the trekking will strengthen our bodies as well as adapt to higher altitude which is the biggest challenge for the Manali-Khardungla Cycling Championships end of July.

We are really looking forward to going back to the mountains however, the rain and the bus ride is not so ideal.


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