Brace for Tansen Ultra

Experience Issue 169 Dec, 2015
Text by Anuj D. Adhikari / Photo: Anuj D. Adhikary

Palpa is now shifting gears to make Tansen Ultra a grand adventure affair. We talk to Gnarly’s Suman Tamang and Shyam Limbu who are currently building tracks for mountain biking and trail running races for the event.

With Tansen Ultra right around the corner, preparations in the old township for the anticipated adventure race are in full swing. Organized by Kathmandu-based Gnarly and Tansen-based Dharohar Adventures, the race is geared towards mountain bikers and runners of all experience levels across several categories.

Expert downhill mountain biker Suman Tamang is currently in Tansen helping build and test trails for the race. Having secured podium finishes in national and international races, the promising athlete has been diligently designing downhill routes to make them challenging yet fun. “Downhill is an upcoming sport in Nepal, and while there certainly are several elite racers, we also have a handful but growing number of amateur riders,” says Tamang, speaking about the difficulty of the trail. “We want to raise the standards of downhill biking, and at the same time, encourage newer faces to hop on the downhill bandwagon.”

Downhill craze started almost a decade ago, when the first national championship was held among numbered cyclists. Now fast gaining momentum, the craze has spilled beyond the usual likes of Nagarkot and Hattiban and on to the natural flowy trails of Tansen. “It’s quite an experience working on the track here,” adds Tamang. “The locals have been incredibly supportive, and are quite excited to lend a hand.” Indeed, the first ever urban Downhill of not just Nepal, but of South Asia, took place in Tansen last year, after which Gnarly claims to have received several requests to organize an even bigger race. “This really was how Tansen Ultra came to be! And, none of it would have been possible without the undivided support of Tansen’s folks,” says Tamang.

Likewise, Tansen Ultra’s urban cross-country trail is designed with Shyam Limbu’s expertise as a professional athlete, having represented Nepal in several international races. This is Gnarly’s second urban cross-country race, the first one being monsoon 2015’s Nakhipot Urban XC Race, which was the first time this genre of sport was introduced in Nepal. With more than five successful races under his belt as the race director in the past two years, Limbu is equally intent on creating unique and thrilling trails for Tansen Ultra. “Tansen’s terrains and rustic alleyways are a windfall for mountain biking. The terrain is absolutely fantastic, as is the weather. The history that it holds gives it an appeal to not only adrenaline-seeking mountain bikers, but also for leisure tourists,” says Limbu. “Along with the progressive youth of Tansen, we are hoping to give Tansen its due recognition for its potential,” he adds, referring to Dharohar Adventures, a local events company in the town.

The running route, needless to mention, is being explored by professional local runners of Tansen. Their knowledge in the region has been prime in devising trails that showcase the beauty and remoteness of Palpa, in addition to being a fantastic race course. The 25K and 15K start from Tansen and head all the way to the lovely Rani Mahal, often called Nepal’s Taj Mahal, whence 15K returns back to downtown Tansen for the finish, while 25K takes a detour.

Moreover, a short 5K Charity Fun Run in Tansen Ultra hopes to firstly commemorate the great deeds of award-winning social organization PA Nepal, which strives to empower shelter, educate, and empower underprivileged youths; and secondly, to fund training program for youth and women in adventure sector as professional guides and races through Gnarly Squadron. “With the Charity Fun Race, we seek to promote social welfare of promising youth, while also developing more female professionals in the line of adventure, which currently sees next to no women guides and racers, especially in cycling, running, and trekking,” says Limbu. “The Charity Run is open for the entire town of Tansen and visiting spectators; of all age and gender from all walks of like to give back to the community!”

Tansen has already gotten its first taste of adventure sports last year, and it’s safe to say it’s bitten by the outdoor bug. Building on its grand success, Gnarly and Dharohar Adventures are keen to make Tansen Ultra an even bigger spectacle and an international meet in the near future.

Who can participate?

Anybody in decent shape can participate. Organizers reserve the right to participation in advanced categories. Everybody is welcome to join the 5K Charity Run. If you don’t feel like running, just walk this bit easily in an hour or so!

How to register?

You can register at or visit a major bike store near you for printed forms. Applications close on December 20, 2015.

Entry Fee:

DH Biking: NRs.2, 000

XC Biking: NRs.1, 500

Trail Run: NRs.1, 000

5K Charity Run: NRs.500


Transportation: Participants have the option to go to Tansen on their own, via private or public vehicle. They may also choose to hop on our bus service for a nominal fee.

Room and board: Meals and accommodation are not included in the registration free. Lunch is provided for athletes during their respective race day/s. Tansen Ultra team can help book rooms for participants in one of several grades of hotels.