Ulan Bator, this city is crazy. Massive new skyscrapers tower above ancient Buddhist temples and Soviet era monuments. Hummers and Mercedes G-Class SUV’s crowd the streets and western shops and restaurants line every corner. It certainly is nothing like I expected. When you think of Mongolia you think of nomads riding horses, not a modern, thriving, metropolis.
We will see the other side of Mongolia shortly, but for now we are using this city to our advantage. Resting, working through our jetlag, and eating as much as we possibly can. We have a long seven days ahead of us and we need to carbo-load!
A few quick highlights:
We met Joel, an expat Belgian who owns the local bike shop. The shop also serves as the Belgian Consulate. It is the only bike shop/consulate combination in the world!
We took a spin out to the local ski resort (no snow right now) to spin out our legs. Along the way we saw a dinosaur and a Raptor!
Everything is big here, the local beer is Chinngas and it is even available in 5-liter increments at the bar. I do not think with the two of us and all night could we possibly consume this much fluid, let alone beer.
Last night we had the riders meeting. These meetings always shed new light on the adventure of which we are about to embark upon. Willey (promoter and mad genius) gave everyone a shake down on what was about to come. He had a few nice surprises for all of us with wind proof jackets and Crank Brother Tools. Pretty solid swag! The big surprise to many people was the fact that every person was only allowed one bag. Now on the surface this does not sound to bad. But it really forces you to decide what is important. We get spoiled at most races with the amount of gear we have access to, here there is no such luxury. After an hour of creative gear selection we managed to get down to a single bag apiece.
There are athletes from all over the world here to attempt this challenge. Everyone seems in good spirits, but tomorrow is the moment of truth. Stay tuned here at @SLMcoaching for updates!