Local hero: Chris Keeling

Chris Keeling
Photo: Vineet Sharma

Growing up in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley, Chris Keeling was out among the mountains from an early age. His dad, Steve, took him along when he went running with the Hash House Harriers, and filled his son’s head with stories of long treks and cross-country biking trips around Nepal. It was these adventures on wheels especially that really grabbed Keeling.

He got his first bike at the age of four, and by nine Keeling was joining his dad’s rides – including an epic 80-km trip to Nuwakot. By 2012, he was riding competitively and within a year he had placed ninth at the national championships. He was now riding beyond the level of most of his peers – winning the Megakids downhill race in the French Alps in July 2013 – and started going head-to-head with senior riders.

In 2014, Keeling won the Nepal National Downhill and Junior Cross-country races, as well as coming third in the Youth category of the famous Megavalanche, a race down from a glacier in the Alps. Unfortunately he wasn’t permitted to be National Downhill champion officially because he has his British citizenship (his dad is British, his mum Nepali) but he remains hopeful that one day the Government will relax the rules and let him represent Nepal internationally.

In the meantime Keeling has embarked on next phase of his biking education. Now 16, he has swapped the hills of Nagarkot for Scotland’s Borders College, where he is enrolled on a one-year full-time Downhill Mountain Biking course alongside some of the world’s most promising talent.