June 15, 2009
On June 9th, Phil Evans, director of Extreme World Challenges and Kaji Sherpa, three times Everest summitter completed what is believed to be the quickest ever traverse of the Annapurna circuit in Nepal. The pair arrived in Beni at 11am on June 9th after leaving Besi Sahar at 5am, two days previously on June 7th, completing the circuit in 2.5 days.
The objective of the challenge was to highlight the fact that mountain bikes are a viable means of transport for local villagers in the region, and on a more personal level, to raise money for Cancer Research. Phil’s challenge nearly never got off the ground when firstly his kit bag was lost in transit on its way to Nepal and then he broke his carbon frame during the pre-challenge acclimatisation ride. Luckliy however he was able to borrow some kit and a frame from various Nepali riders and so take on the ride he had been training for for the last eight months.
During the early stages, dehydration was a major factor as temperatures reached 32C with high humidity. On the first day Kaji and Phil reached Pisang after 14 hours of riding/carrying and over 4000m of accumulative climbing and Phil noted that despite drinking at least 8 Litres of fluid he hadn’t had a pee for 16 hours!!
While climbing the Thorong La pass on Day 2, Phil fell prey to mild altitude sickness and thought he may have to turn back after becoming dizzy and disorientated. Luckily the experience of high altitude climber Kaji kept him on track and after 9.5 hours of climbing they reached the top of the pass at 5416m. From there they were able to descend 1600m over the next 2.5 hours to the relative safety of Muktinath, although, even at that height, Phils resting heart rate remained above 120 for the whole night. Another 12 hours out on the trail had beed accrued on day 2.
The final 90km seemed like it should be a piece of cake with an overall altitude drop of approx 3000m. During the last few hours however the heat again took its toll and it was a very weary and relieved pair of riders that coasted into Beni, six hours after leaving Muktinath and having completed the normal 19 day trekking trail in 31 hours over 3 days.
To make a donation to Cancer Research please visit www.justgiving.com/annapurnarecord
And here’s their Youtube Video Diary