FAQ

Why is there a sign-up limit of 40 riders for this event?

40 riders is the theoretical maximum that our current logistics convoy plans can accommodate between Kathmandu and the Manang District, as well as during the event itself with regard to shuttle/uplift vehicles, hotel and guesthouse bedding, and safety coverage. The remoteness and ruggedness of the environment the event passes through necessitates this. This is a very special event and those lucky enough to successfully register will be in for a treat and the adventure of a lifetime!

Is it possible take along a non-riding or non-racing companion for this event?

Yes. We welcome friends and family members to come and support you as well as be a part of your adventure with us.

Non-riding persons may accompany the 4WD vehicles or hike up to stages to view the action, tagging along with marshaling and safety teams as they do. Companions may also ride their own bikes along the event route, and are more than welcome to accompany event participants on the scheduled acclimatization ride (pre-race) and the group ride (post-race).

Companions receive the exact same services as the racing participant’s package, and the cost is the same. Companions are expected to heed the safety advisories and direction of marshals, safety, and medical staff at all times so as not to interfere with the conduct of the event; or compromise their own safety or that of others.

I am a non-racing visitor to Nepal who wants to link up with my family member/friend during the Yak Ru Enduro, but may not want to visit the high-altitude area where the race is taking place. How can I achieve this?

Firstly, we warmly welcome you to visit Nepal with the intent to extend your support/presence to your loved ones and friends who are participating in the Yak Ru Enduro. We recommend you schedule your trip to coincide with the end portion of our event. The riders will be racing from 11-13 October, and riding an additional day along the Annapurna Trekking Circuit on 14 October towards the village of Tal; before traveling on 15 October by motor vehicle back to the satellite town of Besishahar (and thereafter to Kathmandu). To enjoy the best scenery of the region, we recommend you schedule your travels to arrive in the region on-time or earlier (if you need time to sight-see) in order to intercept our convoy at either at Tal or Besishahar. If not, linking up in Kathmandu itself (from 16 October onwards) remains the best option for you to integrate your travel plans with that of the Yak Ru Enduro. Please contact our parent company Dawn Till Dusk for more information on tourist facilities, services, tour packages, as well as scenic/cultural/active travel itineraries in Nepal.

What airlines have services to Kathmandu, what are the price ranges* like, and which are recommended?

*price ranges correct as of 13 June 2017 - these are subject to price increases the closer it gets to departure date, so book early to avoid disappointment! A: The only air link between the rest of the world and Nepal is the airport in Kathmandu: Tribhuvan International Airpost (KTM). Many flights require a connecting stopover. From Singapore (SIN), the major air carriers include Air Asia, Malindo, & Malaysian (connect via Kuala Lumpur); Jet (connects via Delhi); Thai (connects via Bangkok); and Silkair (the only one with a direct flight). The return fare price ranges from USD$360 (SGD$495) upwards currently. From Dubai (DXB), the major air carriers include Jet ; Air India (connect via Bombay or Delhi); Oman (connects via Muscat); and Hahn Air (the only one with a direct flight). The return fare price ranges from USD$400 (EUR‚¬355) upwards currently. From Hong Kong (HKG), the major air carriers include China Eastern (connects via Kunming); Air India & Jet (connect via Delhi); and Air Asia, Malindo, & Malaysian (connect via Kuala Lumpur). The return price fare ranges from USD$430 (HKD$3400) upwards currently.

Do I need a visa to enter Nepal?

Yes, nearly all nationalities need a visa to visit Nepal. A 15 day visa is USD$25, to be paid for in foreign currency (USD$, AUD$, Euro, GBP); if you intend to stay longer than 15 days, additional costs will apply.

This visa can be obtained upon arrival at Kathmandu airport. You will need 1 passport sized photograph if filling in a hard copy visa application, although electronic application facilities have recently been made available at Kathmandu airport. Visas can also be arranged in advance at your nearest Nepali embassy.

What transport options do I have to link up with the Yak Ru organisers in Kathmandu?

Pre-event, Yak Ru will arrange for complimentary vehicle transfers (using mini-buses / passenger vans) to meet you upon your arrival in Nepal at Kathmandu airport (Tribhuvan International Airport [KTM]) on 29 September 2018 and transport you to your official event accommodation. Similarly post-event, transfer vehicles are arranged on 10 October 2018 to transport you back to the airport. If you are going to be in Kathmandu earlier than 29 September and cannot get yourself to the airport on that day, please let us know in advance where you will be situated (where your accommodation is); we will arrange for transport accordingly to transfer you directly from there to your event accommodation. Likewise, if you wish to extend your stay in Nepal past 10 October 2018, do let us know in advance so we can advise you or make suitable arrangements for you transport-wise to other parts of Kathmandu/Nepal.

What transport expenses are included in the entry fee?

The entry fee covers all land transportation within Kathmandu: between airport & accommodation; and between accommodation & briefing/dining venues. It also covers land transport to and from the event venue (Manang District) and Kathmandu, a 1.5-day journey comprising of bus and 4WD/truck transport. Finally, it also covers shuttle/uplift transport (on race days) and support vehicle transport (on non-race days) during the event days.

What accommodation is included in the entry fee?

11 nights's accommodation (from 29 September to 10 October 2018) is included. Yak Ru is not a camping / tent-city MTB event. We provide comfortable, safe, insulated, well-furnished single-gender assigned accommodation for all participants and staff for the entire duration of the event. In Kathmandu, comfortable and modern-furnished hotel and guesthouse twin-share rooms (with complementary wifi, attached toilets & showers, running cold/hot water, close proximity to shops & restaurants, limited laundry facilities, wall electrical sockets, etc) will be a standard feature on the nights of 29,30 Sept and 08,09 October 2018. In the Manang District, twin-share rooms in village hotels and tea houses will be a standard feature during the race days. These smaller, more cosy rooms will have warm bedding (essential in the alpine regions you may request for additional blankets), attached or shared toilets & shower facilities (with running cold/hot water), wall electrical sockets, and in-house dining. Full details of accommodation location each night is listed in the detailed Yak Ru 2018 itinerary. Please inform us in advance if you prefer to have a private room to yourself, or are attending the race as a couple / with friends.

High altitude may affect my performance and health. How is the Yak Ru Enduro itinerary and organization structured to mitigate or treat Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)?

The Yak Ru Enduro has the majority of its riding route including all timed stages taking place at elevations in excess of 2000m above sea level. The organization has appointed a doctor trained and experienced in high altitude medicine to head and advise all medical and first responder staff. Likewise, all event safety staff and first responders are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) in participants. Regular mandatory blood oxygen-level monitoring for all participants will take place daily led by the aforementioned event doctor - by means of an optical oximeter. Event medical staff will be fully equipped to swiftly deal with any AMS occurrences. In the event of anyone experiencing AMS, a single of combination administration of descending to a lower altitude, drugs, and/or bottled oxygen therapy will take place at the direction of the event doctor. If necessary, an air evacuation by helicopter to a lower altitude can be effected.

How can Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) be prevented for Yak Ru participants?

AMS can be prevented through careful acclimatization (chiefly: ascending gradually, avoiding overexertion, having adequate sleep/rest, and staying well-hydrated and fueled). AMS can affect a group of people at varying rates, and often bears no correlation to individual fitness level or level of training entering the event. Persons who have suffered AMS before are more prone to a recurrence of AMS. It is important for the entire participant body to ascend gradually - in order to reduce the chances of anyone experiencing AMS. The itinerary of the Yak Ru Enduro affords this through a gradual approach to the race location, taking one-and-a-half days to reach an altitude of over 3000m - from the capital city of Kathmandu (situated at 1600m altitude). This ascent includes a gentle, non-competitive acclimatization ride scheduled prior to the first day of racing. Participants may consider taking drugs to speed up their acclimatization rate to high altitude. A prescription of Acetazolamide (Diamox®) may be obtained from a GP doctor. There is also evidence that dexamethasone a form of steroidal medication can prevent AMS. Please be aware that the above advice should be considered with a professional consultation from a GP doctor, and that side effects and allergies from drug intake may manifest themselves.

What kind of main meal options do I have?

Nepali cuisine suits a wide range of palates, whether in the capital city of Kathmandu or in the mountain towns and villages. For the Yak Ru Enduro, catering at official mealtimes consists of buffet-style meals where a combo of simple yet tasty and nutritious food options are available to choose from: For breakfasts: porridge/cereal, bread (including Tibetan bread, pastries, or sliced loaves), eggs, and condiments; plus coffee, tea, juice and bottled water For lunches: dhal bhat (both vegetarian as well as meat options), rice/noodle dishes, soup/stew/finger food options; plus coffee, tea, juice and bottled water For dinners: dhal bhat (both vegetarian as well as meat options), rice dishes, soup/stew; plus coffee, tea, juice and bottled water Additional food and drinks including alcoholic beverages may be purchased at one's own expense outside of mealtimes as well as during mealtimes.

What kind of bike should I use for the Yak Ru Enduro?

While any mountain bike including hardtails may adequately complete the route for the Yak Ru Enduro, it is recommended to equip oneself with a bike that is: -    Able to take the punishment of very rough, exposed, and long descents -    Agile and maneuverable for technical and steep trail sections -    Light enough to pedal and carry/push uphill for extended periods of time. A reliable bet would be to take a full-suspension all-mountain or aggressive trail bike equipped with: -    Suspension travel between 120mm and 180mm -    A dropper seatpost -    Powerful disc brakes -    A burly wheelset, including tubeless tires with tough sidewalls & aggressive treads -    A wide-range drivetrain, including a clutch derailleur and/or chain retention device  

What works better: clip-in pedals or flat pedals?

Clip-in pedals are suitable and offer good attachment when going fast or pedaling on technical terrain. But do keep in mind that due to the decent amount of walking & bike-carrying you will encounter during the race days, there is a strong case for choosing comfortable, high-grip, rubber-soled trail™ or enduro style mountain bike shoes rather than stiff, narrow cross-country style ones with carbon or hard plastic soles. While some clip-in shoes offer good grip and walking comfort, you may opt for full platform/flat pedals and shoes with no cleats.   The final decision rests on how you regard the inevitable task of uphill walking pushing/carrying your bike - in alpine conditions that include steep inclines, loose scree, and possibly wet rocks with mud/water/snow. There will also be technical descents where you may have to put your foot down (unclip) while riding your bike.

What kind of technical support can I expect at the Yak Ru Enduro?

The event takes place far from any bike shops or bike servicing facilities, and so self-reliance on an individual basis as well as within the event body will be paramount.   We are engaging the services of bike mechanics from Kathmandu who are well versed in servicing and maintaining high-end mountain bikes and their components. These mechanics will serve as neutral technical support for the entire race. Apart from workstands and a wide range of tools, they will be bringing along a small selection of spare parts for repair and maintenance.   Participants are strongly advised to bring maintenance items and spare parts specific to their bike make/model. These include (but should not be limited to):   -    Chain lube -    Multitool -    Tire lever + patch kit -    Pump and/or CO2 inflator + canisters -    Spare inner tubes (2 minimum) -    Spare chain & chain links -    Spare tire(s) (1 minimum) -    Spare brake pads -    Spare pedal cleats & bolts -    Spare derailleur -    Replacement rear derailleur hanger -    Electrician's tape & cable ties   As a general rule, as many things as you can reasonably fit into your official event duffel bag is a good idea; to prevent having to use any of them, do yourself a favour and check your bike for worn out or underperforming components and replace them accordingly before they start causing you problems on the event itself.

For the time of year we will be in Nepal, what will the weather be like?

The Yak Ru Enduro takes place in a high-altitude, high-exposure alpine environment of the Annapurna Conservation Area, specifically the Manang District. While the climate is humid sub-tropical (up to 30 degrees C in temperature) during a portion of the vehicular transport phase of the trip from Kathmandu, in the alpine region where the race takes place, temperatures can drop to as low -5 degrees C (or even lower, not counting wind chill) should bad weather take place. October/November are the most desirable months to visit the Annapurnas in terms of stable weather patterns, but we cannot discount the possibility of freak weather leading to rapid changes in temperature and the arrival of thick cloud/mist, rain, hail, blizzards, high winds, and/or storms.

What kind of protection and bike apparel do I need?

Helmets are mandatory to be worn whenever a rider is pedaling their bike. The helmet can either be full-face or half-lid according to the individual's comfort level. Helmets with a removable chin guard/piece are also acceptable. Knee pads are the other piece of mandatory apparel (for timed stages). Other recommended apparel include: -    Additional body armour (elbow pads, chest protector, back protector, etc) according to the individual's comfort level -    Padded shorts or bib shorts -    Full-fingered gloves -    Eye protection (sunglasses or goggles  see answer to next question below) -    Two or more sets of comfortable riding shorts + jersey

What other equipment and apparel is required, especially with regard to an alpine environment?

As part of their packing list, all participants must bring along: - A minimum 0-degree C-rated insulated sleeping bag - A Gore-tex or equivalent material hooded, storm-shell/waterproof jacket - A down/synthetic insulated jacket or insulated fleece/wool mid-layer - One or more insulated beanie/balaclava/head scarf - A pair of sunglasses or goggles (with tinted lenses for bright sunlight) In addition, recommended equipment includes (but are not limited to) the following: - One or more sets of insulated synthetic or wool baselayers (for both top and bottom) - Warm gloves - Warm socks - Spare clothing & sturdy walking/running shoes for casual hiking & sightseeing - Lip balm - Sunscreen - Ear plugs - Head torch - Baby wipes and/or anti-bacterial hand sanitizer gel

How much luggage can I take with me?

Yak Ru Enduro participants will each be given a 80-litre duffel bag as their official luggage. No other bag may be used due to the strict weight and space constraints in place for the logistics convoy. A day in Kathmandu is set aside to allow you to re-arrange your packing list and sort out your bags. Any items not needed for the journey can be left for safekeeping in secure luggage storage at the hotel/guesthouse in Kathmandu and retrieved upon your return.

How will my mountain bike be transported during the transfer to/from the Manang District?

Your mountain bike will remain packed in its bike case between Kathmandu and Lower Pisang for the outbound trip; and will be assembled at the village of Lower Pisang by you to commence your acclimatization ride. Your bike will be packed (by you) once you arrive at the village of Tal - upon the conclusion of the non-competitive group ride. It will remain in its bike case all the way till you reach Kathmandu. You may have other items packed inside your bike bag as well, but please note that access to your bike bag is only available up to the time you assemble your bike in Lower Pisang; you will only see it next when you conclude your riding and commence packing your bike in Tal 5 days later.

So what is the final luggage count I can realistically take along?

Your official 80-litre duffel bag, your bike bag (with bike packed inside), and stuff that you need for riding helmet, body armour, riding shoes, hydration pack including your race repair kit, tools, and spares inside. If you have an additional bag which you traveled with to reach Kathmandu, that bag will be kept in secure luggage storage at your accommodation in Kathmandu.

Do I need insurance to take part in the Yak Ru Enduro?

Yes. The event passes through remote and hard-to-access areas. A helicopter evacuation maybe necessary in the event of an emergency. All participants must have insurance that will cover this and any medical treatment that may be required. All successful entrants to the event must show proof of insurance by prior to race start. Anyone without adequate insurance will not be allowed to take part.

How will the route be marked?

For untimed and non-competitive sections of the route, prominent arrows using temporary paint will be used to mark critical junctions, along with brightly-coloured survey tape at regular intervals. For timed sections (on race days), brightly-coloured survey tape will demarcate the rideable sections of trail and to keep riders away from any ambiguous, illegal, or dangerous shortcuts & line choices. Marshals, supplemented with safety staff, will be positioned along the route to ensure the correct/safe lines are taken in both cases.

There are sections of the route that are very technical, while other sections may not be rideable can you elaborate further?

All timed stages of the enduro component of the route are 100% rideable: any drops encountered are all rollable and there are no blind jumps or gaps; stream crossings are shallow enough to ride through; any sections with steep gradients or exposure are safe as long as riders keep within the tape markings/heed the direction of marshals.   For the transfer (untimed) stages, some uphill portions are steep enough that you have to get off and walk with your bike due to a combination of gradient and high altitude.   Each race day, rider will be expected to do a single big ascent of around 2 hour duration - involving a combination of riding as well as walking/carrying their bikes uphill - prior to that day's first stage. While this is regarded as the most physically demanding aspect of each day, it is fairly manageable for the average rider. Ample time is allocated to complete each ascent, and safety/sweep staff will bring up the tail end, accompanying the slowest riders up the hill as needed.

How long can I be expected to be riding each day, and from what time of the day?

For the 3 days of enduro racing, you can expect to be out on the trails between 3 and 5 hours per day. Days start early: you will typically be on your bike by 6.30am, but will wrap up each day's riding in good time for lunch.   The mandatory pre-race acclimatization ride takes place in the afternoon, and is expected to take around 2.5 hours.   The post-race non-competitive group ride starts later in the morning (exact time to be confirmed), and will include stoppage for tea-breaks and lunch along the way, for a total time of between 5 and 6 hours.

What kind of vehicular uplifts can i expect in this event?

The vehicles used for uplifts are Mahindra 4WD vehicles. They can take up to 5 riders and their bikes comfortably for short distances (or 4 riders, 4 bikes, and their belongings for longer distances). Full details of the sections where vehicular uplifts are available can be found in the detailed itinerary.   In summary: vehicles will be used to shuttle riders and their bikes through uphill sections of dirt road where necessary. Riders are advised to follow the instructions and be punctual with regard to timings given during daily briefings to avoid delays in loading and transport.

I want to take part in the Yak Ru Enduro but am not sure how prepared I am / will be for it - can you advise me?

The event is a blind enduro, and hence having the skills and confidence to ride technical and rugged descents without prior practice is a must.   Being a multi-day event on steep terrain, endurance and stamina play important roles, as does having the physical strength to manhandle/carry your bike over unrideable portions of the route.   Previous experience with big-mountain alpine-style riding is beneficial, as is experience with touring or expeditions in remote regions or at high altitudes. If you do regular cross-training by trail running, hiking, climbing, or mountaineering, you will also be at an advantage.   If you do not have sufficient experience, we do not recommend that you take part in this event.   If you are unsure, do submit your application form first. We will contact you after assessing your suitability on the merit of your submission and advise you accordingly.

Are there route briefings each day, and must I attend them?

Yes, each evening riders will be briefed on the following day's stage. It is very important that all riders (and their non-racing companions, if any) attend this briefing from a safety prospective. Important updates regarding the each day's stages, trail conditions and weather will be announced, together with discussions relating to logistics, timings, and safety matters.   Briefings will generally be carried out before dinner unless otherwise stated. A noticeboard will be placed for everyone to refer to for exact briefing timings as well as other relevant scheduling and event information.   If you are unsure, do submit your application form first. We will contact you after assessing your suitability on the merit of your submission and advise you accordingly.