In Autumn of 2007, I took part in a nutter nine day stage race from Shimla to Manali in Himachal Pradesh, India. I was at the time early on in a bike tour of Asia, but racing turned out to be an extremely entertaining interlude. It was run on every imaginable throughway, asphalt, dirt roads, singletrack, doubletrack, staircases through town, hike-a-bike, you name it. No course closures, naturally, so you’d round the corner to find a herd of goats blocking the way, or a bus or an autorickshaw heading right toward you, or that the dirt just ended in a pile of rubble and trash. There was a guy there doing the race barefoot. Six guys from the Indian Army Elite Mountain Bike Team were there on their $250 aluminum Firefox brand hardtails, and they were quite good.
I don’t know the last time I had such fun racing. I ended up taking second place to Ramesh, a 125 lbs. Nepali rider on the Indian Army Team, won US$1500.