This is the last of my three-part series of articles about the recent Genghis Khan MTB Adventure presented by Nordic Ways. Enjoy the photographs that are posted here. If you are considering doing this event in 2011, do add it to your race calendar as it is well worth doing for the experience of riding in the Grasslands and the fun social aspect when not on the bike.
The last stage was 83kms and consisted of a mini 16km loop before doing the 67km loop. I considered the course to be the best of the three days of mountain bike racing and was more like a true mountain bikers course (without the extreme rough stuff!). For a full race report that I wrote check here on Cycling News Asia. Nearing the end of the first lap, going into the strong head-wind, riders started going slower. So I used this as an opportunity to attack, and immediately got a good gap. I increased this gap to around 500m going through the start/finish line, but it was hard going as a solo rider into the head wind. I would have preferred a couple of people to come with me. Regardless, I kept pressing on as my revised tactic was to try and get over the next two hills at the front of the race.
About 3/4 up the first off road climb, I was caught by three-time Swedish Olympian Bjorn Lind and two professional Chinese mountain bikers – Feng Kuanjie and Wang Lei (Holy Brother Racing Team). I stayed with these guys for several minutes but due to my rental bike having run out of gears going over the rollers (I only have 42-14) I was gapped off and could only watch their cloud of dust disappear on the horizon. I was caught by several Chinese riders and Jim Knudson of Denmark just before the steepest climb of the day. Going over the top of this climb, I was slightly behind Knudson and the other Chinese rider and with the tail-wind in the valley it took me along time to bridge the gap to them. However, I had the help of Radek Tuma (Czech) and Bertrand Jouve (France) to rip through the valley section. On the next major climb, we managed to connect with Knudson and the Chinese rider. We formed a group of five and rode at a solid tempo. Eventually we were joined by another half dozen riders with 25kms remaining.
Some hard riding in the cross-winds split the group of 12 riders and suddenly it was only five riders to emerge to ride the last 15kms over rough un-marked grassland trails and also required some “navigation” skills. I completed the race with a time of 3hrs 16minutes – a good 10 minutes behind the three winners!