12 November 2017


The fourth stage would take us from Kharikhola to Phakding, covering 27.5km or 16 miles while ascending 2,479m or 8,000ft and descending 1,975m or 6,500ft. Stage 3 had been a rough one for me, so I didn't know what to expect from today.

Waterfall as seen from one of the many hanging bridges along the course.

I settled into my usual spot just below the top ten front runners hoping for better energy levels and a more consistent performance than the previous day. The plan was to start slower and hope to sustain a decent pace and maybe even have some energy left towards the end of the stage to push to the finish.

The day started with a 1.5 mile downhill run followed by a 3.5 mile climb to just above 9,500ft. Nothing like it to get your heart rate up right off the bat. After that climb, I was able to get something of a run/hike rhythm going for the next 4 miles before another steep descent and ascent and a 5 mile final stretch to the finish. My energy stayed consistent and I was able to run my race.

Trying to keep up with the eventual female overall winner from Nepal, Chhechee Sherpa Rai.

When I crossed the finish line in Phakding, I was delighted to see that we were going to stay in a hiker's lodge for the night and that we would actually have access to a shower and a proper toilet, which was definitely a luxury during this race. In addition, this was a major hub for hikers and trekkers along the Everest Basecamp Trail, so teahouses were offering anything from battery charging services to meals to cold Cokes and Everest beer.

It was a beautiful sunny day and the lodges and teahouses were bustling with trekkers and Everest Trail race participants and crew. We sat in the sun enjoying a cold Everest beer while waiting for our fellow racers to cross the finish line. It was hard to believe that we were indeed in the middle of the Himalayan mountains, considering everything that was being available to us in this village. 

Over the course of this stage, there was a noticable influx of trekkers, mule and yak trains alike. We were now mostly following the main Everest Basecamp Trail, which meant frequent dodging of mules and yaks. Most trekkers and porters were extremely accommodating to us racers by not only making room but also cheering us on. 

I finished 8th overall for the stage, which was an improvement over 11th overall the previous day. I was feeling great and looking forward to the remaining stages. On a side note, this stage also reaffirmed my decision to start following a Vegan diet just a month prior to leaving fo Nepal. While it was challenging to stick with it, the Nepali diet is mostly Vegetarian, so that made it a bit easier. All n all, my daily recovery was great. I hardly had any residual muscle soreness during and after each stage, which I definitely attribute to my diet. An added benefit was the fact that I had dropped some extra weight as a result of diet, which offset some of the 4kg of weight I was carrying on my back.

The terrain was ever-changing. 

One of the many mule trains along the race course.

Farming is always part of the landscape.

Beautiful monuments along the course.

One of the teahouses along the course.

Another spectacular monument to honor the mountains.

Beautiful river along the course that we would cross a couple of times.

Nepali single track.

Team Ambassador atop the hanging bridge near the finish line.

Wary trekkers relaxing in front of the lodges and teahouses at the finish.

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