Day 5 in Mongolia

IMG 7218Day 5 – Longer than yesterday, less climbing and Faster!
Mongolia Bike Challenge

The facts on todays stage:
Stage 2- Monday 2nd September 2013
Start at the Chinggis Khan statue, 7:30am.
Distance 126km
Elevation Gained 2240mts

Lots to do this morning, pack bags, get ready, eat breakfast, go to the toilet, brush teeth, prepare self for racing...all in about 1hr.
Am I sore from yesterday? Not noticeably, but time will tell once I am back on the bike.
We get our bags packed and loaded and I go up to the start line.

I forgot to mention that Norm is fully helping out with the media crew so he left early and made it on the road to be at the good spots for footage etc...

Erin and I stood next to each other on the start line today and chatted. She did awesome yesterday so it will be interesting to see what happens today, for both of us. Sonya and Catherine seem to be able to smack it out hard to start with and whilst thats just awesome for them, neither Erin nor I can play that game from the get go.

The start was interesting today with a 1km “under control” situation. I dont like these as the car in front has to be very savvy with this kind of escorting and riders need to be so aware...crashing can happen at any second. Thankfully we all survived.

The race was off and I found myself about 5th or 6th being a bit cautious with all the random lumps and bumps on the make do trail that we were using to get to the road.

After getting my race jitters out of the system I found myself sitting with Erin again. We did the same as yesterday, back and forth, until finally we hit the first substantial climb, probably around the 30km mark I saw Erin go off and finally become untouchable. She stayed in sight for quite some time but I couldnt respond. It was getting better today, lasting longer and feeling fresher and certainly stronger. The climbs still hurt but I was pushing harder, the flats and downhills did not hurt as much either. Happy days!!!

IMG 7221The amazing things I saw today did take my mind off the race, even though I still stayed accountable every single moment of the race. At one point about 5km in I was riding downhill alongside about 20-30 horses that were about 20mts away. We were doing the same pace, it was beautiful. Then up one climb there were herds of cattle and these gorgeous little fluffy chubby goats. Then there were like the Mongolian version of Marmots, everywhere on the ground little holes and they would run along back to their holes when we rode past.

On todays ride we encountered loads of trees, which was novel, and much appreciated for the shade.
The downhills were mega fun, long and calf crunching, tricep burning leaving me eager to sit down and pedal the very moment I could.

Before the 2nd KOM at around 85km I had caught and been caught by a few guys again. We decided to work together whilst we could and regroup at the top of the climb. I decided to head off earlier as I wanted to just cruise down the climb and would prefer to be caught than play catch up if they were better descenders.

I had no idea what did await, and that was about 30+ creek and river crossings, some rideable, some not. Pretty fun and I really got into a rhythym riding this terrain. In the end the boys never caught me and I caught someone and finished the final 40km of the race by myself.

Today I finished far better, in far less pain and quicker than yesterday even with 6km more.
I came in with my ride time about 6hrs 15mins for the 126km.
Am I having fun yet? Well I am not sure I came here to have FUN but I am finding the challenge like a hard core training camp.

Today I came 4th again, the results the same as yesterday but less time gaps between 1st to 3rd and me to Erin was under 10mins.
Tomorrow is around 20km more than today and then the next day is even longer doing 175km! Whoa!   

Todays results:

My Garmin data: