Thanks Sean, re the India trip
Here's what I posted at another site, I still haven't done a full write up!
Manali to Leh - brief trip report & photos«
Last Saturday I got back to the UK after riding between Manali & Leh in the Indian Himlalya. This was an organised trip led by Cass Gilbert & Cara Coolbaugh of Out There Bikinghttp://www.out-there-biking.com/manali-leh.html
I'll do a full report when I get my diary typed up but in the meantime here are a few pictures:http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewclark/sets/72157601923586455/
I'd told Cass when discussing the trip that I was a slow rider, and would probably be at the back all the time. This was prophetic, everyone else seemed to be wearing T shirts proclaiming their participation in various mountain marathons or MTB races (2nd place in the Trans-Scotland team category!)
Cass & Cara are both wonderful people and worked very hard to make sure everyone had a good time. The support team of 2 drivers, cook and assisant were also first rate. Nobody went hungry on this trip!!
The trip was on "roads". This word covers everything from smooth tarmac to rutted, potholed jeeptracks that some people described as "technical". There was a river crossing or two as well....
Highest altitude was measured at approx 5300M on the Khardung La pass, our highest campsite was just below this at 4800M.
I was on my new Thorn Nomad which had Magura sus forks fitted for the trip. The bike performed very well and I had no mechanicals to speak of. Most of the others were riding front-sus MTB's although one chap was on a rigid 700C alloy tourer and Cass was riding an On-One 29er with Rohloff.
We had good weather for most of the route, althought the descent off Taglang La was a bit cool, there was a build-up of snow & ice on my mitts!
All in all it was a wonderful trip although quite the hardest riding I've ever done. They sent a jeep out to pick me up on the Wari La as I was so late, telling the driver I was determined to finish the days ride took quite a bit of willpower!
In total we did 700Km of riding and 12000M of climbing in 14 days riding.
There were 11 riders in total, 9 "guests" plus Cass & Cara. Phunchok, Tsering, Norbu and another guy on the jeeps.
Ages from late 20's to mid 40's on this trip. Apparently their oldest rider has been 68....
They were originally planning to do this as a "self supported" tour, i.e. no jeeps :-o I'm very, very glad they changed their minds!