Thinley Namgay  

With less than 10 days to start its first 100-kilometre Black Mountain Cycling Challenge Champion 2022’ on October 2, organisers say they are yet to see the first female participant.

Registration for the race closes on September 26. About 32 male bikers from across the country have registered online so far.  

The race will be the first cycling event in the country in about three years. After the 10th edition of the Tour of Dragon mountain biking race in September 2019, Bhutan couldn’t conduct a cycling competition due to the pandemic.

Cyclists will start from Trongsa and ride along the Trongsa-Wangdue national highway until Chazam in Sephu under Wangdue and return to Trongsa to complete 100km. 

The race is mainly to boost the local economy and entertain locals and visitors  besides promoting a healthy lifestyle.   

Trongsa dzongkhag’s human resource officer Tshewang Tenzin said that there were no international participants.  “We are yet to confirm as some tourists have been calling to participate.” 

Besides the race, he said that the dzongkhag would also conduct a two-day mountain festival from October 1 displaying varieties of organic products, arts and crafts, cuisines, flora, and fauna, among others.

The festival is to promote the rich culture and tradition of Trongsa. There will also be a cultural show at night by artists from Thimphu led by singer Karma Phuntsho. 

Meanwhile, cyclists are practicing for the race.  The 2019 Tour of the Dragon winner Pelden Wangchuk said: “I expect to finish the race in the top five.”  “As the duration of the training was short, I didn’t get enough time to prepare,” he said.  

The Bhutan Olympic Committee will look after the technical aspects. The race will be an annual event.