Tour Of The Dragon – Toughest One Day Bike Race Starts On 7 September In Bhutan
It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu.
By Kipchu | BBS
With the Tour of the Dragon mountain bike race scheduled to flag off at 2am on Saturday from Chamkhar, the atmosphere is building up for the 10th edition of the cycling event.
To gear up for this gruelling race, the riders are ready and musical shows are already underway.
Map: Facebook/Tour of the Dragon 10th Edition
Meanwhile, to mark the 10th anniversary of this special event, a food festival is opened at Chamkhar. Various local dishes of Bumthang are available at the festival.
Local entrepreneurs have also displayed other products such as herbal tea, mushroom, buckwheat flour and jam at their stalls.
Excursion led by His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyel Wangchuck
On the morning of 5 September, the cyclists rode on an 11 km excursion to the sacred Mebartsho in Bumthang, otherwise known as The Burning Lake in Tang.
His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyel Wangchuck led the team and biked through the plains of Chamkhar valley up until Mebartsho where they offered their prayers.
Source: Tour Of The Dragon
His Royal Highness offered butter lamps at the lake, which is an annual pre-race ritual conducted for the well-being of all the participants.
The Tour of the Dragon, often dubbed as one of the toughest one-day mountain bike races in the world, tests and pushes riders to their limits.
It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu. Competition is so keen that no one takes a break, not even a toilet break.
What some of the participants said
“Taking breaks for the long toilet is necessary but for urination, we never stop our cycles so that we don’t lose even a minute during the race. We pee in our pants all the time during the race. I have completed the race in the past mostly peeing in my pants while still riding my bicycle,” shared Norbu, a soldier by profession who is participating in the Tour of the Dragon this year.
Source: Facebook/Bhutan Olympic Committee
“So far it’s been exceptional. Coming to Bhutan and discovering Bhutan has really been special. It is such a magical country and the more I see it and the more people I meet, it becomes more and more special. So, it’s been a fantastic build-up towards this special event and now having come in and met the other riders and experienced the build-up to the race, it’s really very special and I am very excited to undertake the race,” said Tom Schofield, a participant from England.
So far, 47 cyclists including 4 women, both locals and foreigners have registered for the event. More participants are expected to join the race before the registration closes by 1pm on 6 September 2019.
This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.