Nepal’s annual Yak Attack mountain bike race finished last weekend, Mountain Bike Rider reported on Monday. Despite 60 percent of its competitors dropping out after this spring’s devastating earthquake, which left more than 9,000 dead, the nine-day competition began on November 7. Nepali rider Ajay Pandit Dixit won the race for the fifth time, according to his Facebook post.
The eight-stage race is the highest on earth, according to its website. Riders climb almost 40,000 feet over the course of 250 miles, from the Himalayan foothills to a pass through Thorong La, the highest mountain pass in the world. They compete in temperatures ranging from the high 80s down to zero degrees while navigating mud, snow, sand, and rock.
As Mountain Bike Rider reports, Yak Attack organizer Phil Evans thought it was important to move forward with the race. “Many were put off by the quake,” Evans told AFP, according to Mountain Bike Rider. “But we decided not to cancel the race because it would have sent out a negative message about the country.”