Saturday, 7 September 2013

Mongolia Bike Challenge day 5

Last night's sleep was less than ideal. I had a bad stomach which also caused night terror episodes. My brain woke up first and wanted to get me outside the ger, but there was that awful period where my body wouldn't wake or respond so I felt suffocated. To add insult to injury on exiting the ger I just bonked my head into the door.  Rest of night slept in all my clothes and shoes in case I needed to head out, and opened my bag into a blanket. Morning few hours was really cold that way. My voice is going a bit.  I suspect it was my manky water bottle more than the lamb tied to the back of the dinner truck that ended up feeding 150 people in meat ball, pasta sauce and wonton form. I think the Mongolians think its weird how many photos the foreigners took of the slaughter; I think living out here dinner goes from field to plate pretty regularly. 

I was late for everything. Back of breakfast line behind an older lady who is here with her husband. She took the last of the cornflakes, I wanted some to go in my hot milk with rice concoction they had. She then proceeded to tell me how she wasn't even leaving camp today, then didn't eat more than a quarter of the bowl. Yup, when I'm not feeling well I notice these things, and that's about as close to reality as you get with the proverbial pissing in someone's cornflakes. 

Rob was on the megaphone saying how many minutes to start, and with 10 minutes prior one guy was there. I headed over to the washroom. 

Today's plan was 97km and not as much climbing over these hills. 

I made efforts to stay in the second group after fading from the first group as I didn't want to be in a headwind solo.  I made it to base of first climb with Joao who missed the start, Catherine who's leading, Aussie Todd and one other. I did my pulled in rotation behind Catherine and knew I was on borrowed time; she's so small there's not much draft, plus I was just burning the energy in my legs as food wasn't doing its thing. Eventually I dropped behind big Aussie Todd and dropped at the bottom of the fist big climb. Partial mission accomplished. The beautiful valley we rode up had no exit but up and over a steep climb. I was fatigued but made a point to ride all of it. 

From that descent to the next climb I soft pedalled and went backwards. Ate two gels hoping they'd get through, but it wasn't happening. This felt more like trying to hang in for the finishers trinket and enjoying the scenery. People rolled by and said hop in the draft, I'd just say see you later and kept crawling along. Next long climb I got passed by 4 people, but over top coasted back down to the front of them which was Sonya.  Flat to Hal a degree down valley plus the descent seemed to let my body catch up a bit. 

Tall Aussie who had an early mechanical, a younger Mongolian and I made a trio for a while, and I was feeling stronger with food. Mongolian guy doesn't do cooperative pulls through, more like standing surges. I see Matt from Kelowna a half a km up, get frustrated with this surge pull stuff, and take off.  We settle I to cooperative pulls to aid 2.  I roll through it as I had an extra bottle and felt great for last 30km. Ride solo to end not seeing anyone. At finish the lead group is still lounging, which surprises me. Apparently they took a wrong turn. Sounds like they'll use aid 2 order as results. 

We showered, ate, then chatted and drank tea. Cory came in way later - he had a 140km day. Ouch. 

Need to hit an afternoon nap hard... after chatting for a while with Matt and Sonya, while doing awkward things like applying polysporin to chafed areas simultaneously. Racers seem to have the same methods. Nap and massage and a better sleep seem key to surviving tomorrow's 167km. 

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