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Mongol Derby Race Report: Day 2

August 10, 2018

Today the sun came out and teeny tiny goats melted hearts while the riders had the opportunity to marvel at Mongolia’s fourth best breaststroker (one of the Baatars at urtuu 4) and a champion horse catcher (Mr Ohintogtokh at urtuu 5).  The stage between urtuus 5 & 6 in particular was a classic Derby stage.  Green, rolling steppe, wonderful horses, bright blue sky, a river – this is the stuff that Derby dreams are made of.

DH has finished the day like she started, at the front of the race.  Tomorrow she will set off still at the front but with her new best friends CH, AC, AN, EAL, AL & CR thanks to a stop on riders not able to leave urtuu 8 before 1800.  The stop was due to lack of decent camping/grazing in between urtuus 8 and 9.  Will it be a crazy party or an oddly chilly atmosphere at urtuu 8, hosted by the Urtnasan family?  Who knows.  Either way, this is a great opportunity for the front runners to rest and conserve energy for what is to come.  It is hard to believe that we have only seen two days of racing.

Above: Charlotte Howard (CH) 

VA, JM, MT, JP and TTM are all camped out between urtuus 7 and 8.  This is the second night camping for MT, JP, JM and VA.  A little surprising to see VA camping again, considering she started the day with person and kit soaked through but each to their own.  Many Derby veterans would say that camping out is part of what makes this race so special, after all.  TTM is also a surprising camper – she fell twice today from the same horse.

Above: John Moore (JM) and Valeria Ariza (VA)

Above: Michael Turner (MT)

RA, EA, JA, HB, EK, KR, HW and KO have all settled in for the night at urtuu 7 with the Otgonbayar family.  It looks like the Archibald-Bell clan are still riding together, which is great to see.  There’s a brilliant video of HB on a feisty one from today – the video is up on the official twitter feed (@mongolderbylive) if you haven’t already seen it.

There are more campers in between urtuus 6 and 7: NMS and JS, CON, MM and TB.  NMS and JS are still riding together, so fingers crossed they will make it to the finish line and their wedding party.  MM and TB seem to have formed a good team, too.  CON has been plagued by leaky kit and slow horses today, but if she’s camping out she’s pushing on and good for her.

There is a huge crowd at urtuu 6, where five-time Derby family the Ser-Ods are holding fort.  Mr Ser-Od and his family are known for their hospitality and from the look of the spread, dropping anchor here was an excellent decision.  WG, sporting rubs already, MG, RH, SN, FA, MGR, KG, MB, CB, CF, PK, RB & KOL are all here and the chances of a party here at least are pretty good.  DHE is also here, but not feeling very well.  Medics are keeping an eye on her as she was mildly hypothermic at close of racing.

Above: Chase Becker (CB) takes a tumble after trying to hold her horse from the ground – Father Mike Becker (MB) looks on.

Camped out before HS6 are GR, CS and JL.  After being bucked off between urtuu 4 and 5, GR is doing very well to still be riding.  CS and JL?  Still smiling.  Well done ladies.

Sadly today saw the first two retirees of the race – MS with a dislocated shoulder after a bad fall and SA, who has torn ligaments in her ankle.  They are resting up in the hotels/hospitals in UB and we hope to see them back out in the blood wagon as soon as they have recovered sufficiently.

Above: SN having a rest

Phew. HQ over and out.

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