11,300 km cycled! Christmas, New Years, and trekking the Himalayas

You’ll notice that I haven’t progressed much since last time I wrote a post. I’ve only done about 200 km over the past month. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy though, so here’s what I’ve been up to!


After writing my last post I went straight for the Annapurnas. The primary goal was reaching the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) at 4130 meters. As part of my warm up and acclimatization, started out with doing the Poon Hill trek going up to 3200 meters. I was feeling strong after reaching poon hill, but as I went for a long day crossing over to the ABC trail, I began to feel my legs. By the time I had actually made it to Chomrong, which would be the starting point of the ABC bit, my calves were absolutely killing me. I wasn’t sure whether to continue up or to just go straight back down, but the call of the mountains was too much for me to resist, so I took on the sprint for ABC. After three agonizing days I was back down in Chomrong but could barely walk. The trek had been stunning though. The dampening of the snow combined with generally quiet off-season trails made for a very peaceful, albeit freezing, trek. The mountainscapes at ABC are unreal, being surrounded by not only some of the world’s highest, but also most strikingly beautiful peaks, such as Annapurna I, South, and Machapuchare. When I finally made it back to Pokhara, I was forced to stay in bed on painkillers for two days as my legs were too painful for me to walk. I’d done Poon Hill and ABC in just over 6 days (10 days would’ve been more suitable).


In Pokhara I was reunited with the always amazing Matt and Becky, whose company I’ve previously enjoyed while crossing the Caspian Sea, and in the former soviet city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan. The timing suited me perfectly, as Christmas was just around the corner. Naturally, we joined forces and got drunk on Christmas eve. The day after we tended to our hangover with Christmas movies, cake, and rice pudding. All in all, a success! After the hangover had subsided, we set off towards Kathmandu along the main highway connecting the two cities. On the way, we decided on a short detour to the village of Bandipur. The thing about Bandipur is that it’s located 600 meters above the main highway on the top of a mountain pass, and I think we might have underestimated the climb a bit. It was grueling tough climb. Personally, I ended up having to walk most of the way, barely being able to push my bike on the steepest parts of the road. Eventually we made it up to Bandipur though, and we quickly forgot about the battle we had just fought, as we were surprised by the beauty of this tiny picturesque village. Views were stunning as well, with the Manaslu range lurking in the horizon. We got up for a cold sunrise the morning after and set off on our way towards Kathmandu. A whole lot more climbing, truck surfing, and dodging cars later, and we made it to the capital of Nepal.


New Years was spent at a hostel in Kathmandu together with Matt and Becky and a whole bunch of other cool travelers from around the world. As midnight approached, we went up to a giant “hammock” on the rood of our hostel to get a view of the fireworks. To our surprise, there were none. Didn’t stop us from having a blast though, so we went back downstairs, got drunk, and danced throughout the night.


On the 2. Of January, my mom and sister arrived in Kathmandu to hang out with me for about 10 days. Seeing them was great after being apart for 8 months. We spent the first couple of days together preparing for a trek in the Langtang Region due north of Kathmandu. I’d never been to this region before, so was quite excited to go there. It’s an insanely beautiful place, with a large Tibetan influence with the Tamang people inhabiting the valley. On our first day of trekking though, my mom twisted her knee. She decided on staying at the first stop at 2400 meters together with my sister, while I ascended further together with a guy from Luxembourg. We went straight to Kyanjin Gompa at 3800 meters. After staying at Kyanjin Gompa for a few hours I began feeling very altitude sick. My appetite was at a bare minimum, and I had a thumping headache. I fell asleep pretty quickly that night but woke up an hour later and was unable to sleep for 4 hours due to the headache. I drank a liter of water, took a few painkillers and finally fell asleep again. The morning after I was feeling a lot better. My friend from Luxembourg was feeling sick now though, so I set off for the summit of Kyanjin Ri by myself. A couple of hours later, I reached the summit at 4400 meters. I was feeling pretty knackered by this point, so went straight back down to the village. I had lunch and made the sprint back down to my mom and sister further down the valley. They seemed to have had a great time despite of the bad knee and had even managed to hike up the next village at 3000 meters for lunch. We got a horrendous ride in jeep back down to Kathmandu the following day.


It’s now time for some proper cycling. I’m a bit behind schedule, so I’ll be pedaling hard for a while starting from tomorrow. I’ve been given a place at the Transcontinental Race this year, which is one of the world’s toughest unsupported cycling races. It is essentially a 3500 km time-trial across Europe. At the moment I’m not sure whether I will be capable of racing, but I will be doing my best to make it happen.

Also, I’ve updated the gallery with a new page dedicated to portraits, so feel free to check it out!


We’ve smashed the 25.000 DKK fundraising milestone! A massive thank you to everyone who has helped in making it happen! As always, I’m riding for The Association for Greenlandic Children. Please do check out the fundraiser through the button below, where can also read about my motivation for supporting the association. I’ve got a few news articles coming up soon, so hopefully that will bring in some more donations, and of course spread awareness as well. I’ve upped the target to an ambitious 50.000 DKK which will be the final goal on the fundraiser. Let’s make it happen!

Emil Hvidtfeldt