Human Interest
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A group of women mountain bikers is traveling to Nepal to help earthquake disaster relief, making a documentary in the process.

They will be starting their filming at the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday, March 4 through 6. Shortly after, they will fly to Nepal to begin their efforts in earnest.


On April 25, the mountainous region in southeast Asia suffered a severe earthquake, killing an estimated 8,000 and injuring another 21,000.

The film, “Endure Nepal,” is described on its website as “an observational documentary twinned with an outdoor adventure film, which will look at sustainable tourism.”

The project is the brainchild of Julie Cornelius. After meeting a filmmaker, the idea began to congeal. She chose Sedona as the place to start their campaign because it “is the best mountain biking area.

“It’s all of our favorite place to ride .... We thought the mountain bike festival was a good place to kick it off, especially given when we were planning on leaving,” she said. “We’re working on an event where people can ride the bikes that we are going to be riding and we’ll do a meet and greet.”

As for choosing Nepal as the destination, it had already been on Cornelius’ radar as a biking destination before the earthquake.

“The trails were, in general, known for hiking, but mountain biking has started to grow .... We’re actually hoping to meet up with one of the up-and-coming female mountain bikers there,” she said.

Five women will arrive at Kathmandu and ride through Langtang Valley before arriving at the village of Kyanjin Gomba to aid local relief workers.

“We want to make things better than they were before the earthquake,” Cornelius said.

The women will be working with N-Agro Solutions, which has been organizing relief efforts in Nepal revolving around agriculture. Cornelius has been in contact with them and said the relationship is going well. The plan is to build greenhouses for the residents.

“It’s a good project,” she said. “We didn’t want to come in as outsiders and say, ‘This is what we are going to do for you.’”

So Cornelius got in touch with the community and pitched the idea and asked if there were any ways to improve on it.

“They’re really excited about the greenhouse idea. The goal is to make it a self-sustaining project, so the first greenhouse they can grow food for the community and to sell,” she said

With the money earned from produce, the village can then build another, and so forth, enhancing the area’s growth.

In addition to the relief efforts, there is another reason the trek is taking place. A friend of Cornelius wrote about the lack of women in adventure films. With that in mind, she sought to bring to light the strong female component of mountain biking culture.

“I’ve been riding bikes for a long time and I’ve definitely seen the women’s side of the sport grow over the years. I still think it has room to grow and there’s just not a lot out there that shows women doing things like this,” she said. “I hope the film will inspire more women to go out and do things — not just mountain biking but all outdoor activities.”

The group recently began a Kickstarter campaign, which can be found through the Endure Nepal Film website. Cornelius said the first week went well as far as donations are concerned. One of the incentives for donating is a Sedona ride with the women of the film.

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