We cycled away from the crowded Thamel tourist district weaving our way through countless pedestrians and onto the open road.
Less people, more cars! It took a few minutes to get used to traffic passing dangerously close to our bikes. With the adrenaline pumping we set a cracking pace up and down the hills before we found a more quiet road and started the climb that eventually led us back to Swayambhu (the monkey temple).
After a short break we decided to head in the direction of the HOPE school. We had 200 Chumli to pick up that we’d paid for days earlier. We later hear that the teachers had put the school kids to work in class tying bunches of tyre tube into hackey sacks for us. It may have been considered slave labour except that we hadn’t paid them anything!
Urban Mountain biking
As we neared the edge of the city the ride got interesting. Away from the busyness we took a few dirt roads and some impossibly narrow alleyways where we dodged potholes, piles of dirt and animals. Past rice fields and patches of land used for farming we rode until we stumbled upon a cricket match being played in a vacant block of land. We stopped to have a few bowls but after getting smashed for 54 off just one over I decided it was time to leave!
We took some more gravel roads further up the hill and followed the contours in the direction of the school. Just before we made it there Tim popped a Tyre. We didn’t think to bring a puncture repair kit and so we rode into town in search of a new Tyre tube.
The old school principal lived nearby and after failing to find what we were looking for at the shops we headed to his house to see if he could help. While them team waited I headed to the school to collect the Chumli. They weren’t ready. Tika, the guy looking after the school, promised to drop them in town later than night. I felt bad that students were using their class time to do this for us. Before I had time to leave Sobha arrived with a plate of delicious Pakora’s I was expected to eat! I gobbled them down and somehow managed to escape without the compulsory Chai.
The Tyre was fixed and we were back on the bikes navigating our way past cars, pedestrians and piles of rubbish. We took turns at choosing our direction and soon found ourselves trying to stay upright on the clay packed borders of a rice field. From skill to thrill the ride took another turn as we found ourselves on major roads dodging, cars, buses, scooters and anything else you’ll find on Nepalese roads.
Downhill racing had nothing on the dangers of weaving in an out of traffic on these roads. We started overtaking slower vehicles. Pick a gap and commit to it, before you get squashed by a bus. The boys thrived on the adrenaline but started to get a little cocky. Ben starting riding on the footpath, maintaining speed as he crossed intersections he was now supposed to give way at.
A scooter pulled out on the road just in front of him. Ben had no time to stop and T-boned the rider, knocking him off his bike. The rider was stunned and felt bad even though it was completely Ben’s fault. The rider got back on the scooter and Ben rode away nursing scratches and bruises.
With this wake up call we decided to head back. Just one more tricky thing to navigate. A right turn at the round-about. Without designated lanes at the round-about this involved working your way over to the middle of the road so you were on the inside lane, ready to make a right turn. Alternately you could stay in the left lane and risk making the right turn from there, hoping nobody on the inside of you wanted to go straight ahead! We all picked maneuvers safe enough to get us back in one piece. Our hearts were pounding as we arrived back in Thamel. We returned our bikes and gave our favourite restaurant a heads up about an eating contest we were going to hold later that night.
Welcome to the first annual Momo Challenge. Tonight, competitors from all over the world will attempt to eat 50 Momos. For those of you who are wondering what a Momo is, it’s like a steamed Dim-Sim, only twice as delicious and half the size.
We now cross live to our commentator Jenny Craig.
Thankyou Jim. The competitors wait with anticipation for the first waiter; and here he is, delivering the first of many plates containing 10 Momos. Competitors are required to stack finished plates one on top of another to keep count of what they’ve eaten.
Josh is off to a flying start, inhaling his first plate in under a minute. Mitch is close behind as they both wait for another plate to arrive. The others look sluggish as the waiter delivers a second plate to both Mitch and Josh.
Plates continue to pile up here as the group settle into a com-nom-nom-fortable pace. Can the crowd inspire hometown hero Tika to victory? They are certainly doing their best, cheering him on with every mouthful.
After taking an early lead Josh is starting to slow down. Mitch looks as if he is making a move. The mid 30’s are always tough but Mitch is powering through and has now taken a clear lead from Josh who is really starting to struggle. It’s like he’s eating in slow-momo.
Not out of it yet Kobby, Ben and Andrew are quietly chewing their way toward 40. Polishing off their fourth plate is all the MOtivation they need. There is no way this trio are going to let the elusive half century escape them now.
But wait, there is some drama out in the kitchen. A waiter is approaching the table. Oh no, he’s asked for some plates back. The kitchen has run out! Competitors watch their opponents closely as they hand back their hard earned plates. Ben has seen this as an opportunity to increase his count and is trying to claim an extra plate. His attempts are drowned out by the crowd shouting “Cheating not eating”.
There should be enough plates now but what about food? Could the boys have run this restaurant out of ingredients?
The crowd are getting impatient as they wait for the waiter to return.
After a long delay some more plates have arrived, bringing up the half century for Mitch. The crowd give him a standing MOvation. An eMOtional Mitch celebrates his 50 in style, kissing the empty plate and waving it to his fans. Meanwhile it looks as if Kobby, Andrew, Ben and Josh are all set to completed their half centuries.
Eating like this has never been seen before, the crowd is in stunned silence. Even the waiters are smiling despite the mammoth amount of extra work this competition has created.
Mitch doesn’t seem content with just 50. It looks like he’s ordered another plate. Yes! Here he goes, this could be a new world record. The crowd have all but forgotten about the others who have now reached 50 and local favourite Tika who finished the night on 40.
The fans are screaming as Mitch makes it into the 60’s. The rest of the boys seem to have conceded defeat and it looks as if they are more interested in picking on Josh, who is on the verge of throwing up. Kobby has grabbed a Momo and is waving it in Josh’s face shouting “Here comes the aeroplane”. Josh is now curling up in the fetal position and is rocking back and forth in the corner MOaning. He looks trauMOtised!
Mitch has just piled the 65th Momo into his mouth. He looks done, but there are still 9 Momos left on the table. Kobby and Andrew reluctantly finish them off to take silver and bronze, ending with totals of 56 and 53 respectively. Not a single Momo has gone to waste. What an incredible performance.
A combined total of 380 Momos, the MOst ever eaten by a team, as well as a new individual record of 65. Fans have just witnessed history in the making.
Well that’s all we have time for here. I’m Jenny Craig. Goodnight.