"A ride of endurance and personal grit!" Georgina LLoyd from Australia.
So I arrived home tonight after my Mongolian adventure. I am glad to say I have returned home heathy and well, just sporting the odd uncomfortable blister in p...articular 'seat' areas.
Although there were incredible moments and fantastic memories, there were also some extremely difficult and testing times. However it is such testing conditions that form part of the wonder of Mongolia in how it can send you from one extreme to the other very quickly.
Although some rotten luck and unexpected mishaps on a couple of days meant I personally didn't race as well as I would've liked, the awesome team that I was a part of managed to come away with the 2nd place in the teams challenge, with one of our team members being the overall race winner.
Well done Alienor for consistently riding like a champion, you are such a beautiful person, inside and out. xo Caitlin, you are such a fun, vibrant, cool chick 100% of the time and a massive thanks for the yoga workouts to help loosen those kinks. 😉 Belinda, you are the best sportsmanlike and most determined woman I know and atop your already legendary qualities, you deserve an accolade for putting up with me in such close quarters day in and day out 😉.
To the rest of the riders, I feel so humbled to have met you, you are each so inspiring in your own ways. There really were some trully amazing competitors and all round great sorts that I was so honoured to have ridden with.
To the herders, camp staff and crew, thankyou for all your hard work to make this come together.
To all those who assisted me with gear a massive thankyou as it was greatly appreciated.
To all those who have followed my journey, thankyou for your support and kind words.
Last, but definately not least, thankyou to the amazing ponies Honest, Trouper, Ghost, Runt, Vape, Appy & Fabio (& camel) that carried me the distance. All remarkable in their own ways (some more favoured than others though 😅).
We often do not realise just how fortunate we are and the testing qualities of Mongolia reminded me that at times all you can do is make the most with what you have. A familiar endurance saying is 'to complete is to win' and I now realise that that proverb goes far beyond just being a race mantra.
My final 2 days of riding was not about trying to win, but really just about enjoying the ride and that is when I trully felt I did win. 🙂
I expect that the memories created from the experience and the visions of the Mongolian beauty will be etched with me forever.
Unfortunately for those wanting an insight into the ride, my phone appeared to object to the desert heat and force itself into shutdown, so I was unable to provide updates or take as many photos as I would've liked, but do not dispair I expect some riding pictures will emerge as the crew and other riders sort through their own pictures. 😉
For now, I have been extremely grateful to have had a hot shower and I am looking forward to heading to bed (on a proper mattress not barbed by desert prickles).