It took a while to reach Uttarakhand due to a few bus delays. I stayed over in Haldwani for a night and the next morning was greeted by Shailendra Shah, also known as Shahji. He led us to the Kosi Valley Retreat owned by Siddharth Bhandari where the recce was to begin.
The crew comprised six riders – Rajesh Magar, Nishma Shreshta, Rohit Niroula, Nishant Shah, eight-year-old Arnav Cherchan and I – along with Gauravman Sherchan, Kilan Shetty and Manish as the video team.
We left for our trail ride in the morning, taking an hour to reach the top by shuttle. We were pretty high up, and I instantly realised it was going to be an epic downhill as I had spotted a few turns along the way.
After a quick halt, we rode down. The first 200 mtrs of the trail were simply epic – natural and fluid. It was a trail used by villagers and hikers but had the texture of international tracks. We did some filming there and rode around a lot, later taking dips in the nearby river to cool off.
The next morning, we wound up at Kosi and left for Nainital. Little did I know that I was going to ride down one of the most fluid and gnarliest trails in the coming days.
The first trail we rode on Day 1 was fair. It wasn’t that great and was not something you couldn’t find elsewhere. But the next day, when we climbed China peak, the stunning view made me feel glad about the choices I had made that brought me here.
More importantly, I was waiting to ride downhill because of the arduous climb that completely winded a mortal like me, unlike the Nepalese riders who climbed up like they were going home from school.
The video crew asked the riders to go ahead, sample the trail and stop after 300-400 mtrs. The trail seemed normal at first, incredibly fluid, then slowly skirted into some rooty and rutted sections which were so loamy you felt almost guilty every time your tires went off the ground. It was absolutely top drawer!
When we stopped to look back at the trail we had just ridden, RJ (Rajesh) and I observed the riders following us and just waited to see their expressions. It was fabulous! We exchanged high-fives, filmed sections and repeated the process until we reached the bottom.
Over a few drinks later that evening, I realised this was a pretty cool place to train. This will certainly go down in the book as one of the most epic times I’ve had riding with the boys and I just can’t wait to come back to that view.
Until next time Uttarakhand!