Cambridgetimes.ca - Full Article
Former Cambridge resident makes late-night decision to go in Mongol Derby
Aug 05, 2017 06:00 by Bill Doucet Cambridge Times
When most people do something on a whim, they make a non-essential purchase, take a day off work or maybe even join a casual sports league.
Olivia Wood raised the bar on whims.
Hearing “a friend of a friend” had started a GoFundMe page to raise money after being accepted for the annual Mongol Derby — a 1,000-kilometre horse race across the Mongolian Steppe to recreate Genghis Khan’s famous postal route — the 25-year-old former Cambridge resident said she read up on the race and made a late-night decision to apply.
Thinking she would never hear back about her application, she was shocked to be called for an interview and was offered a spot.
“So I was like, ‘Well, I guess I have to do it now.’ It was a fluke, but I’m happy it happened,” Wood said on the phone from Beijing earlier in the week prior to her trip to Mongolia.
The race begins on Wednesday (Aug. 9).
Of course, it’s not like Wood is going in oblivious. The reason the derby piqued her interest is because she’s ridden horses since she was a youngster and considers herself a competent rider. Plus, she’s a bit of a thrill seeker, much to the chagrin of her mother — a joke she felt necessary to put in her derby bio.
“I love anything to do with horses, so there was that aspect, but also the fact that it’s so mentally, physically, emotionally exhausting, I just wanted to see how much I could push myself. I like doing those things as well. To me it’s the most epic challenge,” she said.
But Wood realized casual riding would only get her so far, so she spent a month training with gold medal endurance horse rider Darolyn Butler at Cypress Trails Ranch in Texas to get her ready for long distances on a horse.
“If I had not done that, I probably wouldn’t survive,” Wood said with a laugh...
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