By LB THAPA FOR ONTOTHEROAD.COM

Cory Wallace is perhaps the only cyclist in the world, who is treated like a Hollywood star. And why not! His long list of achievements speaks volume. There is hardly any cycling championship in the world that Cory Wallace has not won. He has cycled in the coldest areas of Europe, hottest deserts, the Mongolian plateau, Australian outback, Japanese jungles and the majestic Himalayas of Nepal.  

Only last year Cory won the Canadian Marathon title then straight he also won the Mongolia Bike Challenge and took 2nd place at both the Trans Rockies and the Crocodile Trophy. Wining the Australian Marathon series was just another win for Cory. Cory himself thinks that his unflinching dedication to cycling is a driving force behind his success. Moreover, regular cycling in different weather conditions and in different countries has only made him rock solid as a cyclist.

While speaking in a TV interview, Cory said, “When I am not cycling I go to Northern Alberta and work there as a Tree Slasher in the oil fields from November to January. I enjoy the work and when I return to cycling I feel energetic and full of vigor”. 

Photo: Penticton, B.C., Canada
Photo: Courtesy Cory Wallace
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For Cory there are no dos and don’ts. When it comes to cycling, he is impulsive and this is the reason he is called a ‘crazy cyclist’. One time he was in Malaysia to participate in a cycling competition. After the competition was over, Cory headed to Sumatra on his bike and paddled across the cities and the rural areas of Sumatra.

Actually, this trip was not planned and he had headed to Sumatra without enough resources. However, the tour ended on a positive note. Cory himself admitted that in Sumatra he had received at least two marriage proposals. Later that year, Cory did spend three consecutive winters paddling through Central America. This was by no means an easy ride, but Cory never hesitates to take up difficult challenges…this is his inherent trait of his personality.

“One thing that always keeps me alive in cycling is to get an opportunity to gain experiences. Every time I paddle, I reach new places and I meet with new people. This is a rare opportunity that only a cyclist can have” said Cory enthusiastically.

After winning the 11th Yak Attack high mountain bike competition, which started from Besisahar to Beni, Cory spoke at a programme organized at Lakeside, Pokhara. “Nepalese riders are extremely cooperative and very friendly. They like foreigners and never hesitate to share their experiences with foreigners. This is a fine quality of all Nepalese riders. On top, I saw that Nepalese people are not broken by the devastative earthquake then Indian trade embargo”.

Cory said that he would go to Canada to defend his title as Canadian Marathon Championship and later he would attend the Mongolia Bike Challenge. Actually, his original planning is to prepare himself for the grand Marathon Worlds in South Africa.  

As a professional biker, without doubt he is one of the best cyclists in the world today. However, when asked him the one racer who influenced him, he said, “Roddi Lega is a complete mountain biker of note. His style impressed me a lot. He has amazing stamina with remarkable control on his mountain bike”.

Cory says ‘The Yak Attack Mountain Bike Race Championship’ is the only mountain bike competition that is held at the highest altitude in the world. It is about a 10-day race. Every year the Yak Attack championship is organized in Nepal and several world famous mountain bikers participate. This year Cory left everyone behind and emerged victorious.  

The Yak Attack race begins from Besisahar, which is also known as the gateway to the Himalayas. Cycling from Besisahar takes the cyclists to the higher altitudes. The first 32km is thin forest but as they move ahead cascaded rice fields spread across.

The cyclists have to cross over Thorlong Pass at 5415m and heading towards the Upper Mustang. Insanely rough trails lead to Chame. Looking at the deep gorge and high cliffs and steep downhill bring challenge and excitement together.

Photo: Courtesy Cory Wallace
Photo: konaworld.cog.home

The cyclists have to soar up to the dizzying heights of 5416m above sea level and covering the distance of nearly 500km. After crossing the formidable Thorong La, the race heads towards Upper Mustang, this is an average elevation of 4000m. This is truly the toughest areas on planet Earth. The race continues from Jomsom to Beni.       

“I took little rest at Chame. It is a cold place. The village is surrounded by tall peaks almost from all sides. Many of us took rest at the old Tibetan style Nepalese village of Manang. In many respect Manang is better than other villages in remote areas. There is a Yak Theatre to watch movies on Himalayan adventures. There are many things to explore for the people who reach here for the first time,” said Cory. 

Manang to Phedi is 17km single trek. On these trails, the cyclists regularly encounter a herd of Yaks, mules or donkeys. However, these animals are used to people therefore they never attack passersby and walk past peacefully.

Telling about his experience, Cory said: “The first two days cycling are normally full of excitement but after 2 days, wear and tear can be seen on the body of the cyclists. Energy level depletes to nill and therefore the body shifts on the recovery mode. However, overnight rest provides most necessary tonic to the body that prepares cyclists for the dawn to dusk excitement.”   

After winning the 11th Yak Attack champion’s trophy-2018, Cory arrived in Pokhara to attend a programme. While speaking at the programme Cory said: “I always receive warm welcome from the people of Nepal. This is the one reason why Nepal is one of my favorite destinations for the cycling.

I’m also very grateful to the organizer and the entire supporting staff who left no stone unturned to make us as comfortable as possible. The people on the entire way were amazing as they showered their love and affection all along.”  

The 11th The Yak Attack mountain bike championship was organized by Mountain Bike Worldwide Cycling, UK. The championship was participated by 30 foreign cyclists from 12 countries and 8 Nepali cyclists. Every year The Yak Attack mountain bike championship is organized. 

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