Stage 10 always seems like a cruise after getting over Thorong La Pass. The last stage of the race is around 40 miles. We were are excited to get the last day done and were dreaming of sitting in the hot springs in Tatopani. In Nepalese, “tatopani” translates to “hot water.”
I felt strong at the start and was riding well and had settled into a good pace. I came up on a couple riders who had some mechanical problems. Then, it was my turn; the not so great sound of air hissing out of my back tire. I had slit my sidewall. I managed to get Stan’s to seal the slit after multiple attempts of putting air in the tire. The rest of the day, I had to stop and continue adding air.
I was riding along and came around the corner and saw Rob standing there. I slowed down as I rounded the corner and saw Pete laid out on the ground with Steve next to him. I threw my bike down and Steve and I tried to tend to Pete. He had been going fast around a corner and clipped an oncoming truck, broke his helmet, suffered a huge deep gash in his neck and broke his nose. It was terrible. Steve Edwards came around as well and we were trying to cover his wounds. Fortunately, John who is a doc had gotten lost and came around the corner and took charge of the situation. Keith showed up a few moments later who is also a doc. A large group of us had all stopped and stayed with Pete until there was a plan for help to be on the way. As a group, we decided to neutralize the stage and rode the rest of the day together. Instead of freaking out about his crash, he said, “Can I keep riding?”
Pete was one of my closest friends at the Yak Attack and I was so bummed to see his race end that way. He was okay, but had to take a very long ride to Pokhara. He went to the hospital where they sterilized his neck wound. It took a few layers of stitches and they kept him over night. He was very lucky and was just mm from his carotid artery.
The rest of us enjoyed the rest of the ride as a group. We stopped for pictures and enjoyed each others company.
The evening was nice with good food, some local dancers, and hot springs! The next day, we took a group ride to the bus in another town that took us to Pokhara.
The awards ceremony was a blast. We shared some drinks, stories, good food, and some fun times at a few bars in Pokhara. We got an extra day in town and sat by the lake for hours just enjoying R&R.
Getting off the bus in Pokhara
It was hard to believe I had won the Yak Attack and took 9th in the men. I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to do the race two years in a row and that everything worked out with health and luck. I beat my time by almost 4 hours from the year before. I was really happy to see the improvement!
More importantly, I made some friends I’ll never forget. I met some of the most inspiring new friends and was so glad to be surrounded by such positive, thoughtful, wonderful people. Thanks to all for sharing the best trip of my life!
That’s a wrap for my Yak Reports…now some rapid fire blog posts to bring you up to speed with “the now!” Sorry it took me so long to get these posted!