About Ajay & MTB Nepal
5-time National Champion
International Race Winner
5-time Yak Attack Winner
About Ajay and MTB Nepal
Four-time national mountain bike champion, Ajay Pandit Chhetri sees a bright future for cycling in Nepal. This is one sport that requires oodles of training and proper nutrition – if one has to make it big in the international arena, that is. Ajay is determined to bring quality training to Nepal soon with his own initiative MTB Nepal (Mountain Bike Nepal). MTB, Ajay says, will change the way biking is perceived. Ajay’s experience is that the training scenario needs uplifting, with the right balance of optimal training facility and appropriate nutrition.
Born and brought up in Jorpati, Ajay started his journey as a cyclist at a very young age. His passion for the sport had him working at a cycle store as a salesperson as well as a mechanic. He bought his first bike at the age of sixteen from the money he had collected working at the store. It was a customized version designed by Ajay himself.
He rode his first race in 2005 that was organized by Nepal Cycling Association (NCA). ‘Initially, I rode bikes only because I loved the sport. I had no idea of the existence of any such thing as a bike race’, he shares. Since then this inspiring 26 year-old admits to having ridden more than 70 races, nationally and internationally. Internationally, his tracks have covered 15 countries not only in Asia but also in Europe and the Americas.
Ajay is also a four-time winner at Yak Attack, one of the toughest mountain bike races in the world. It was held for the first time in Nepal in 2006 with only 20-25 participants. The eight-day race begins from Kathmandu and the route follows across Nuwakot, Gorkha, Besisahar, and then around the Annapurna Circuit through the Thorang la pass, the world’s highest mountain bike trail, finally finishing at Tato Pani. Foreigners comprise a large portion of the participants with only a handful of local riders. Over the years the participants have grown to 70-75 but the proportion of locals vs. foreigner has not changed.
Although a professional cyclist for long, Ajay is new to the business side of it. Having spent his adult life in pursuance of this sport he is now ready for the next challenge – to set up a community of cycling enthusiasts. He feels that the sport has huge market potential.
“One of the major reasons behind the bright future of cycling in Nepal is that the country is naturally suited for mountain biking. Having ridden widely around the world I know that our tracks have something special in them, in terms of sheer variety no other country comes close.”
Ajay believes that cycling can contribute by a significant amount of to the tourism market in Nepal.
“However only craze for the sport and being enthusiastic are not enough to make one a good rider’ warns Ajay. It’s the sacrifices that one makes daily in terms of training hard, away from social life that ultimately decides how far one goes in this sport.
MTB Nepal’s goal is to both promote Nepal as a mountain bike destination for all levels and increase the capacity and involvement of Nepali riders in elite mountain bike racing.