I have just returned to China after an action packed three weeks in Iran covering two UCI 2.2 Tours and have numerous stories that I wish to share that was near impossible to write about during my stay in Iran. I was flat out the whole time and the intermittent dodgy internet also did not help. The trip to Iran was a long time dream of mine and it finally became a reality when I was invited to go as a journalist. Check out Velonews.com for the Azarbaijian Tour short report and photo gallery. The Presidency Tour of Iran photo gallery should appear on Velonews shortly.
The next big news that I have to announce is my participation in the 2011 Mongolia Bike Challenge sponsored by Orbea which will be held for two weeks at the beginning of August. It is a race that both fills me with fear and excitement at the same time; I know that it will be one of the toughest races I have ever participated in due to the fact I will be climbing 14,000m on a mountain bike for 1200kms over nine days straight. Its like stringing together nine mountain bike marathons back-to-back!
According to the MBC website, the race is a “long and tough race” that is open to both amateurs and professional riders. If you want to take up the challenge yourself, it is not too late to enter the EPIC race as entries close on June 30th and they have a max number of 108 riders.
The parcours of the Orbea MBC look stunning and takes place across the same areas where Mongolian shepards were sent-off by Genghis Khan in the 13th Century to come from no-where to conquer Central Europe, China and the Middle East. The 9-stage route takes you through some breath-taking scenery that is seldom seen by the modern day tourist. I will be attending this race both as a Journalist and a racer, and I will provide daily updates on my site and also on Cyclingnewsasia on this grueling MTB stage race that rivals that of Transrockies, Cape Epic and the BC Bike Race. Cyclingnewsasia recently published a press release on the upcoming event that contains defending champion Marzio Deho from Italy and several other world class riders.
During the event, I will also be uploading my Garmin files to Strava, a really cool social networking site for cyclists, like a cyclists facebook! It will document my Mongolian Bike Challenge and also compare me with any others that also use Strava for the MBC event.
In the meantime, I am flying to Quebec, Canada in a week to participate in the World Deaf Cycling Championships which I had been training for. However the Iran trip made training consistently quite a challenge. This week will be a solid week for training in the attempt to get some form back in the legs, one good thing for my riding that could emerge from the Iran trip was the fact I was living at altitude for three weeks. So it will be interesting to see what benefits might accrue at sea-level!
Here are some stunning images from the 2010 edition of the MBC race…