Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mongol Derby: For 2 Montanans, unbroken horses and blow-torched marmot come with the territory in 'world's toughest' race

BillingsGazette.com - Full Article

By JEFF WELSCH jwelsch@billingsgazette.com
June 28 2016

They know Guinness calls it the longest and toughest equestrian race in the world – that they’ll be crossing the Mongolia steppe astride a series of unbroken horses while possibly or likely encountering dehydration from searing desert heat, hypothermia from penetrating mountain cold, roving packs of wild dogs, the snarling guard dogs of nomads, intense sleep deprivation, myriad diseases and, perhaps worst of all, dysentery from a local diet comprised of mutton, fermented mare's milk and – we swear this is true – blow-torched marmot.

Here’s what Kelly Hale of Red Lodge and Marie Griffis of Manhattan don’t know about the wild and woolly Mongol Derby, a 1,000-kilometer sprint in August that roughly follows in the hoof prints of an ancient Genghis Khan postal trail.

The route.

“I have two theories on this,” says Griffis, 42, a lifelong Montanan, dedicated horsewoman for just as long, and professional pastry chef. “One, they want to keep it a secret so nobody goes and scopes it out. And No. 2, for our safety.”

We hadn't mentioned the marauding bandits, lubricated by vodka and/or the mare's milk concoction called airag? They're in the Mongol Derby minefield, too.

So it won't be until on or around the Aug. 4 start near the capital Ulan Bator that Griffis and Hale learn, along with 42 other contestants from 13 countries, a remote route they’ll have 10 days to complete...

Read more here:
http://billingsgazette.com/sports/for-montanans-unbroken-horses-and-blow-torched-marmot-come-with/article_2018c549-c9d4-59ec-8670-8dba831b8ab5.html