The Nepalese National MTB Champion, Ajay Pandit Chhetri managed to turn quite a few heads with his flyweight build, effortless climbing style and enigmatic smile. At 48 kilos he is the lightest male rider we have worked with over at TORQ HQ. Based in Kathmandu the 23 year old has ridden some of the highest peaks in the world, and ridden to victory twice in the infamous stage race the Yak Attack based in the Himalayas. He has had some great support from certain UK based riders, and also the organiser of the Yak Attack who is based in the same village as TORQ. This has enabled Ajay to experience things that would simply have not been possible otherwise.
In the short time that Ajay was here he managed to build quite a name for himself. Setting course records, bagging second in the Trans Wales and featuring in a profile spread and five-page article in Singletrack Magazine.
During his stay in the UK he continued his relationship with TORQ, which started some seasons ago. He rode in the team kit and was issued a full race spec, Kona Kula Watt, armed with all the great team sponsors kit! We also worked with Ajay on the coaching side of things, we spent time working through our Consultancy Services including Fitness Testing, Theory Seminars, Pedalling Dynamics and finished of by writing up a 3 month program based on the results and his short and long term goals.
The exiting thing for me running the Fitness Consultancy side of TORQ, was to get the chance to fitness test someone whom permanently lived at altitude. This can have great effects on the oxygen carrying capabilities of the blood cells, meaning that the riders aerobic function can be very good. This in turn can be a large foundation to build ones fitness onto, leading to a lot of potential! Ajay’s typical training weeks were long and pretty steady, this guy likes to ride – a lot! The fact that he rode so much and the nature of being at altitude meant that he was fit, but never really got to work hard, REALLY HARD! This was confirmed from the fitness testing we did, he had a good aerobic capacity, but not so hot when it came to the anaerobic power front. This is exactly the kind of thing we specialise in at TORQ, finding out what supports a riders fitness and looking for ways to improve it to marry up with the types of goals they have in mind.
One of Ajay’s key events while in the UK sat towards the end of his stay and was the Trans Wales Stage Race. The format of this event is several days of point to point riding with special stages forming shorter timed sections. These are the bits that contribute towards the overall placing. As they are pretty short, and involve more power based climbing and short efforts, it stacked up that this was to be the area of focus for Ajay, as we had isolated this to be his weakness. If you can work an athlete who is used to being at altitude nearer sea level, the air is oxygen rich and the rider can work much harder, in turn creating more overload to adapt to, this formed the basis for Ajay’s plan. Away with 80km loops and in with 5min power climbs!!! Well the results spoke for themselves as Ajay took multiple stage wins, set a course record for one stage, and finished 2nd overall half a minute down on 1st place. Job done!
Ajay then returned to Nepal still armed with his Kona rig and heading into the next phase of this year. Another one of his major goals for the season was to defend is title from last year in the Himachayal Challenge Stage Event, a super tough race on home turf. Going in as defending champion could only help build his confidence along with he recent experiences gained in the UK. Sure enough after a tough multi-day battle Ajay came out on top, and bagged the title for another year. Even amongst his native rivals Ajay still holds the advantage on the climbs with his super lightweight build!
Next on the hit list for 2011 is La Ruta, which he is flying out to as we write this. Then finally the Asian Championships which is another big goal to close out 2011. Next year will start with a bang for him, as he will be defending his title in the epic Yak Attack Stage Race across the Himalayas. Then it’s off to South Africa to battle it out in the Cape Epic, wow no rest for the wickedly good!!
We will keep you posted on how the events go for this little figure from Nepal, as he hops around the world bagging some of the world’s most challenging races.
As always, a huge thank you to our sponsors:
www.konaworld.com – Frames
www.shimano.com – Drivetrain & Brakes
www.limarhelmets.com – Helmets
www.ritcheylogic.com – Handlebars, Stems, Saddles, Seatposts & Grips
www.max-mediagroup.co.uk – Team PR
www.schwalbe.com – Tyres
www.champ-sys.com – Performance Cycle Clothing
www.mojo.co.uk – Fox Suspension Forks
www.exposurelights.com – Advanced Lighting
www.juicelubes.co.uk – Lubrication
www.lakecycling.com – Shoes
www.jagwireusa.com – Cables & Housing
www.crankbrothers.com – Pedals, Multi tools & pumps
www.rapidracerproducts.com – Neoguards.
www.cleecycles.com – KCNC Chains, Skewers & Bottom Brackets
www.superstarcomponents.com – Hubs, Seat Clamps & Headsets
www.sapim.be – Spokes
www.handcraftedwheels.co.uk – Hand Built Wheels
www.fibrax.com – Brake Hardware
www.joolzedymond.com – Photography
www.cycleops.com – Power Measurement, Turbo Training & Bike Racks
www.notubes.com – Tyre Sealant & Rims.
www.nomad-direct.co.uk – Nomad Cordless Pressure Washing
www.finelytunedride.co.uk – Bike Maintenance & Servicing
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