Our amazing Himalayan adventure is over but the memories will linger on long after all the mountain dust has been washed off both us and the riders. You could follow The Catching Breath project for months while we slowly revealed the pieces all the way to the final, record-breaking ride you could see here. Four daring athletes on bikes were sent by ŠKODA and We Love Cycling to partake in a race all the way up to the Khardung La pass (5,359 meters above sea level) and to break the standing 2012 record for this 40km jaw-clenching ride with a steady 5-per-cent gradient. Below you’ll find some candid snaps from behind the scenes and of the stunning landscape we were surrounded by and the city of Leh that served as the race’s starting point. Enjoy the gallery and don’t forget to visit other articles from the Catching Breath series.

Valenti Sanjuan in 5,100 m during a snow storm
Andrea in Tsemo Maitreya Temple, Leh in the background
Andrea’s preparation with the Hypoxico tent at home
The riders are getting acclimatized on the plains a few days before the race
Bartosz Huzarski during the training in Wari La pass
The rider’s bikes had Garmin cameras on the handlebars, pointed at their faces, to capture every bit of emotion
Valentí Sanjuan (left) and Andrea Schilirò (right) are getting excited during the training ride in Warila pass, Bartosz Huzarski in the background
Colourful Leh Market
The whole crew of the Catching Breath project after the race, 5,500 m above sea level
Valentí needed to use oxygen mask during the race, 4,800 m
View on the Khardung La killer climb in the background
From the left: Valentí Sanjuan, Bartosz Huzarski, Eva Lindskog, Andrea Schilirò
Tsemo Maitreya Temple, Leh
This special Supra TSS tubeless tyre design by Mitas made the Himalayas a bit easier on our riders
All the riders descending the Wari La plain during training

This article is a part of series: Catching Breath