Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Mongol Derby 2017 Beginnings - Full Article

August 8, 2017 Mongol Derby
The Mongol Derby doesn't do things by half. It's known as the toughest horse race on our fine planet for very good reasons. Victory, or indeed abject hardship could be within reach for any of the riders.

Before we detail those to watch, let's have a little report of yesterday's goings on from our team on the ground. Over to adventure Chief Miss Katy:

"The riders have finally got their feet on the steppe and enjoyed the steep learning curve of the first test ride. New saddles and bridles, huge new horizons and a whole new species to contend with - the mighty Mongolian horse. Yesterday (Sunday) riders were briefed on essential protocols such as using their satellite trackers, and the all-important urtuu changeovers - procedures and etiquette. All weighed out successfully at 85kgs dressed or less, and most even got to enjoy a cupcake before they tackled the scales. A few of the bigger guys have lost several kilos to do this and should be congratulated. The next few kilos will come off much more easily in the coming weeks.

Riders have seen the whites of each other's eyes; some asked detailed and clearly competitive questions of the referee teams, keen to understand every possible lever and advantage available to them during the race. Others had questions about safety, what happens when it all goes tits up and what the food is like. Needless to say, the food will be...different to what they might usually feast upon. Others were eerily quiet and are therefore hard to categorise. We have another two days pre-launch to see who is in it to win it and who are already praying to the gods to get them home safely

Folks are (as usual) bricking it about the navigation. Our course briefing and beautifully rendered maps, created by Daren Parr, seemed to settle most down. At every urtuu there will be a stack of maps for the next leg, with a simple key of terrain, ascent/descent, and key obstacles. All laughed nervously at the prospect of the railway crossing at Bayan around half way - get a Mongolian horse through a railway underpass? Really? Yes, really. Also most laughed when he said, "you're going to cross two roads". In 1020kms...

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