Topeak-Ergon USA takes on the Himalaya


March 3-14, 2012

Now in its 6th year, the Yak-Attack, was recently named one of the 5 hardest races in the World by Mountain Bike UK magazine. Held on the Annapurna trekking trail in Nepal, the Yak-Attack takes racers from 4,000 ft to nearly 18,000 ft in 10 days of racing. For 2012, Topeak-Ergon sent Sonya Looney and Jeff Kerkove to take on the massive mountains of Nepal.

Sonya Looney would get off to a charging start by winning the first stage out of Kathmandu. For the remainder of the event, she would battle a small, but strong women?s field. Sonya would go on to win each stage as well as the overall Yak-Attack title for the women. ?The Yak Attack was an epic journey of body and soul with a challenging course that not only tested how fast you can ride, but with a huge element of how strong you are at hiking some of the most heinous terrain while carrying your bike. Not only does the race demand a strong mind and body during the stages, but also for the time you're off the bike. I am honored to be the first woman to ever complete the 10 day Yak Attack!? stated Sonya post-race.

Jeff Kerkove would have a great first half of the event taking podium spots in the early stages. Later in the event Jeff would come down with a 102F fever and flu-like symptoms and be forced from the event by the race doctors with ?walking pneumonia?. After the race, Jeff had this to say, ?I had an amazing experience chasing the strong Nepali riders over the insane Nepal terrain. Getting sick is never in the plan and I tried to push through, but when the doctor starts mentioning the word ?death? if I continue, I knew I had to listen to them. I plan to go back!?

Overall, the nearly 3 weeks in Nepal was a great experience on and off the bike for both riders.

Sonya Looney, 1st overall Women
Jeff Kerkove, DNF

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Lothar Schiffner
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