At long last, I am finally posting pictures of my amazing adventures in India! For those of you who don’t know, in October and November I ran the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race, a 160 km staged ultramarathon, run over five days in northern India. For most of the first three days, we were running right along the border of India and Nepal. Yep, altitude was an issue (everyone asks me that – so I’m just getting that part over with). The route was roughly a big loop (with a few out-and-backs thrown in), starting around 2000 m / 6000′, and heading up that first day to nearly 3600 m / 12,000′, and staying that high for the next two days, until descending back to around 2000 m /6000′ for the final two days.
You can read my complete ultramarathon race reports, from each day of racing, on SleepMonsters – THE place to go for adventure racing news. But I didn’t post many pictures there – so here, in these coming blog posts, are the photographic highlights of this amazing running event. The photos that I’ll post this week will show far better that words ever could what my experience, running in the Himalayas, was like… Enjoy!
This post is what I call “Day 0” – the day (really nearly two days) before the race. We flew into the town of Bagdogra, in the Darjeeling region, northeastern India, on Friday October 25th. By the time that everyone had convened at the Bagdogra airport, and then had travelled in a little diesel bus on impossibly narrow roads, winding our way up to the village of Mirik, which is race headquarters, it was evening. The next day was an acclimatization day – with a tour to Darjeeling departing at 6am for those who were up to another 6 or so hours in the bus (there and back) – and a lower-key tour of Mirik for those, like me, who weren’t up to the bus ride. Then it was early to bed, ready for another 2 hour bus ride to the race start at the village or Rimbik.
Here are my pix from “Day 0,” Bagdogra and Mirik.
We continued up the hill to a monastery… unfortunately, although our guided tour took us to some interesting locations, there was no actual guide who explained anything to us. Fortunately I could google it after the fact – turns out the monastery that we went to has a website. It is the Bokar Monastery – consecrated by the Dalai Lama, and construction commenced only in 2001. (Umm, that mountain on their Welcome Page was not there when I was there…)
It was good wandering around town and stretching my legs. But it was also worrisome, how much I could feel the altitude while walking up the hill to the monastery. The altitude here was nothing compared to what we would deal with tomorrow, Day 1 of the race…