India 2015 – Cycling in the Himalayas

Preparations – Arrival

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On my way to the airport i was stopped by the police, at 3:30AM. But the officer only asked where I was going and checked the papers and let me drive on. At the Airport I met my fellow travelers for the first time. It really was easy to recognize who was part of our tour. Our route is Oslo Gardemoen, Vienna, New Delhi and finally Leh. It was a long voyage but flying into the Himalayas simply is breathtaking.
We had a nice warm welcome at the hotel. Got some tea and drank lots of water to cope with the height. Later that day we went into the town to get our first impressions.
NOTE: The km and height readings in this report might be incorrect. Often my GPS stopped when we had a longer stop and I forgot to start it again. Don’t rely on this values for any planning.

Day 1 Leh (11 km / 289 m climbing / 295 m descent)

We took a short Ride round tour in Leh and up to Shanti Stupa and Sankar Gompa to get used to the height.
I am still drinking a lot of water, cannot get rid of the headache.

Total distance: 10.97 km
Max elevation: 3663 m
Min elevation: 3504 m
Total climbing: 289 m
Total descent: -295 m

Day 2 Thiksey Monastery and Hemis Gompa (26 km / 790 m climbing / 622 m descent)

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We were driven to Thiksey Monastery and Hemis Gompa. Both were impressive to visit, what a rich and different culture. I liked the nice woodwork, statues and paintings. We stopped at a Indian restaurand and had som great food. It really helps if you like hot food. On our way home we brought our bicycles and had a nice ride back to the hotel.
Total distance: 26.79 km
Max elevation: 3464 m
Min elevation: 3201 m
Total climbing: 790 m
Total descent: -622 m

Day 3 Indus River Rafting

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Rafting on the Indus river. We also were up to a water fight with another rafting tour and a dip in the (not so warm) water. Later we went for some shopping to Leh I got nice pashminas.
Total distance: 20.1 km
Max elevation: 3200 m
Min elevation: 3148 m
Total climbing: 338 m
Total descent: -368 m

Day 4 Kardung La (38 km / 225 climbing / 1846 m descent)

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We were supposed to go up to Kardung La but due to the weather the last couple of days (too much rain) the roads are in bad condition. So it was decided to drive us up by car and we can enjoy a nice ride down. Unfortunaly traffic stopped completely up and armed military forces stopped us from going all the way up. As it was foggy and the height made me feel not to well I was glad wenn we finally got our cycles and we could roll downhill. What a ride, so much fun! And as we descended i go less and less dizzy and my headache got better, too. Too bad that I punctured but the crew was there really fast to fix my Cube.
Total distance: 37.91 km
Max elevation: 5304 m
Min elevation: 3655 m
Total climbing: 225 m
Total descent: -1846 m

Day 5 Leh – Upshi (53 km / 1234 m climbing / 1277 m descent)

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Today we leave Leh and head towards Manali. But it was not without a slow start. We were all packed and eager to get riding but we were forced to wait due to roads that were washed away or blocked by landslides. Eventually we could start and it felt good to get going. The evidence of the road problems was visible along the way. In Upshi we got stuck again, we could not get to our intended campsite and were assigned another place by the military. The road ahead is washed away and we have to wait until it is fixed, there is no alternate route. Staying put is no real option we are here for cycling. Our are constantly trying to find out when the road will open again.
Total distance: 52.94 km
Max elevation: 3512 m
Min elevation: 3233 m
Total climbing: 1234 m
Total descent: -1277 m

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