Sunday, August 30, 2020

Mongol Derby Diary #2

Ian Haggerty photo - Full Story

August 4 2020

Training Camp Trials and Tribulations: the Guts and the Glory

The Derby proper begins when the start gun fires on Day 1 of the race, but there’s an entire universe of events leading up to that moment. Once the riders have made it to Mongolia, with or without their gear, Start camp is the next stop and the first exposure to the realities of this race for the majority of these brave souls. Start camp is where you first get on a horse. Start camp is where you test your kit, test your mettle, and where the steppe tests you in return.

Outlaw Kate (Katherine Friedley) ~ “It was the first day of on-the-steppe rider training and I was both excited and extremely nervous about what was to come. I’d met up with a few of the riders back in UB and I was suffering from the worst case of imposter syndrome imaginable: there were the race-horse-riding girls from Dubai, the polo-playing rich-looking dudes from the UK, and horse trainers and horse traders from all corners of the globe, all of whom seemed more nonchalant about the coming race than me. I was 47 years old and on the upper end of the age scale in comparison to the majority of the riders and definitely feeling out of my league. What was I doing here? But there was literally nothing I could do about my misgivings at that point except to cowboy-up and put on my game face.

I will forever remember my first training ride and settling on my first horse – a cooperative-looking dun with a dorsal stripe. I will also forever remember hitting the ground an hour later, doing around 20km/hr across the steppe in a race mock-up with Julie Youngblood...

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