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Attention South Africa and The Kingdom of Lesotho: Ready or Not, Here I Come
Epilogue
Race Day 9
Race Day 8
Race Day 7

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Attention South Africa and The Kingdom of Lesotho: Ready or Not, Here I Come

Attention South Africa and The Kingdom of Lesotho:  Ready or Not, Here I Come
 
Hello, yes, it’s been awhile; not much, how about you?  I’m really not sure why I called (am writing), I guess I really just wanted to talk to you…I’m not talking ‘bout the linen…and I don’t want to change your life…
 
Okay,enough of the wandering down memory lane, complete with misheard lyrics –England Dan!  Yikes, I’ve really gone soft this evening.  Anyways, I was just thinking how long it’s been since I wrote a blog.

Epilogue

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 19:28
 
Epilogue:
 
The most popular question at the finish line for a few days after was “So would you do it again?” and as far as I know, most everyone answered “No way!” But perhaps it’s like having a baby – you forget the pain after a while, relishing the good parts and forgetting the bad. I can honestly say it’s one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I will never forget some of the things I experienced, both good and bad, and some of the people I have met (good and bad).

Race Day 9

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 19:26
 
Race Day 9:
 
 
 
Rounding up the new-fashioned way
 
 
We were up bright and early – only a bit more than two legs to go! We were on our horses by 7am, having already made sure they were well fed before we set out on our last day. We knew from the day before that quite a number of riders had already crossed the finish line, with Donal Fahey from Ireland winning the race, and we were excited to be within shouting distance of having this odyssey over once and for all.

Race Day 8

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 19:21
 
Race Day 8:
 
I set out with Lucy, Jess and Eveline for what was to be our second last day of riding. Even though we had expected 10 days to finish the race, with the majority of the field nearing the finish line, 9 days was it. Not in a position to argue, we carried on – what else was there to do? It turns out quite a lot, as we later caught up to Erik who said he had spent more than a day at one horse station where he assisted with the milking and the cleaning of pens.

Race Day 7

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 19:15
 
Race Day 7:
 
 
Leaving beautiful HS15
 
 
 
 
The "facilities" - pretty basic but the view was fantastic!
 
 
I was excited to be back in the saddle after the disastrous last day of racing, and looked forward to the mountain pass we were to cross later that day. I can honestly say this leg was one of the highlights of my ride. It began as a nice flat build up, alongside a creek with beautiful trees, and I cantered along with Erik and Anne.

Mongol Vodka!!

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 19:07
 
Mongol Vodka!!
 
After our trying day enroute to HS13, getting a ride to the next horse station seemed like kind of an intermission in some ghastly long-drawn out movie from hell. Little did we know that the ride itself would be one of the main acts, and considering the day we had just had, I had no idea it could get any more interesting.
 
There were 7 of us passengers split into two groups – Anne, Erik, Aimee and myself in one vehicle with a Mongolian driver; Lucy, Jess and George in the other vehicle (Ivo had disappeared further up the trail, as he was also filming a documentary of the race and needed to catch his film crew.

Race Day 6

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 18:58
 
Race Day 6:
 
We were ready to go bright and early, sad to leave the lake setting, but looking forward to putting in a good day. We were on track to finish in the 10 days, slow going notwithstanding, and it was with this in mind that I set out a bit ahead of the others, giving me and my horse time to warm up. George had started out with one horse, been bucked off, and had taken it back to get a horse a bit more agreeable. Ivo had also been thrown, had his horse run off but had it returned by some herders.

Race Day 5

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 18:51
 
Race Day 5:
 
 
 
Good morning, your fresh milk is served
 
We were up and at ‘em by 5am the next morning, having been told by Charles to be at the horse line by 6:30 at the latest. Morning routine finished, bag and saddle packed and ready to go, Anne, Ronald and I were the last to choose our horses as everyone else had chosen the night before. “What do you mean we only get to choose two crazy horses and one that looks like a cross between a cow and a donkey?

Race Day 4

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 18:46
 
Race Day 4:
 
The second half of the leg we had begun the night before flashed by in a hurry. We had rested, our horses were good to go, and we found ourselves riding beside cultivated crops for the first time. “Must tell Viterra that they need some good kochia control in this part of the world” I thought, while at the same time experiencing a firm wave of homesickness for the first time. Who’da thought the sight of wheat growing beside a horse track would affect me so much?

Race Day 3

orinially posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 18:35
 
Race Day 3:
 
Day 3 saw the few of us at the back hauling butt to move up the line. At most stations we requested horses that would keep pace with each other, but quite often found one or more who just could not keep up. As Ronald, Ivo, Anne and I rode into HS6 I had just finished riding one poor thing that had given all he had but it just wasn’t enough. Earlier in the day I had been riding “Stumbly” (as I dubbed him for no apparent reason) when he did a bellyflop in the middle of a sandy low-lying area, somersaulting me over his head where I landed with an amazing amount of grace in a nice deep sand pit.

Race Day 2

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 18:29
 
Race Day 2:
 
Up and at ‘em at 5:30am! With the intention of being on a horse at 7am, the mornings tended to start pretty early. It looked another cool rainy day, so after doing a quick recce of my bodily needs - no physical complaints so far, just a bit of a rub spot on one shin from the buckle under my fender, tended to with the ubiquitous duct tape and my secret weapon – raw lamb’s wool; some nice milky tea and noodles for breakfast, I was ready to saddle up and carry on.

Race Day 1

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 18:21
 
Race Day 1:
 
The night before had been an eventful one in terms of pre-race celebrations – much vodka and beer and airag had been drunk, toasts toasted, goats roasted, feats boasted. Being a lady of a certain age (I left my wild ways a few years back) I was in bed nice and early; had to use my “Mom voice” at one point to send a few young ones either to bed or out of the ger for those of us trying to sleep (“If you’re not going to sleep, then GET OUT!

Pre-Race

originally posted by Katherine at 23rd August 2012 at 18:14
 
Wow what happened? I blinked and August is three quarters over. I have been half-way around the world and back, met some incredible people, seen some incredible things, survived some incredible challenges and am now faced with the daunting task of putting some of it to paper. Just because I like to do things the hard way, I will begin my chronicle without the assistance of visual cues to remind me of some things, as my luggage (including my cameras and memory cards) has apparently decided that it prefers to take in the sights of Seattle Washington, instead of following me further up the line to Victoria BC.

Fun and Games in Mongolia

originally posted by Katherine at 7th August 2012 at 00:21
 
It’s been a busy couple of days in UB. Yesterday seemed to pass in a blur – one moment I was meeting Erik from the US and Ivo from the UK at 40K Café on Peace Avenue; the next moment I was cursing the pickpocket who stole my telephoto lens right off of my camera! That’s right – I survived a trip to the Black Market unscathed, but once I set foot into a swanky cashmere store on Peace Avenue, I was easy pickings for some sad low-life with a quick set of fingers.

Hanging Around In UB

originally posted by Katherine at 4th August 2012 at 15:27
 
Greetings from Zaya’s Guesthouse in downtown Ulaanbaatar, home of numerous itinerant international guests, some pretty good coffee, and for the next four nights, yours truly. Zaya not only runs a good show, she is a wealth of information about Ulaanbaatar, what to see, where to go, and even where to score a cell phone that will see me through 10 days of Derby mania.
 
I’m not really sure where Zaya is from, but from her accent I would almost guess Russia.

I Am Here

originally posted by Katherine at 3rd August 2012 at 04:03
 
Well, here I am in Ulaanbaatar – I made it. This all seemed like such a far off event back when I signed up in November. Crazy how fast time goes and one day you wake up in a foreign city, check out the view, plug in the kettle and begin digging through your luggage to make absolutely SURE you packed your stirrups (I did – my Canadian flag and Team Canada hockey jersey are snuggled around them, sharing that awesome Canadian karma that will see me through the next while.

I'm Off (My Rocker)

Originally posted by Katherine at 29th July 2012 at 19:05
 
Good day eh.
 
I do believe this will be my last instalment before I get on the long-haul flight bound for Ulaanbaatar, so now’s the time to pony up and say all those thank yous that I have been saving for last.
 
My sponsors – wow, who’da thought people would actually take me seriously enough to want to send me cash and cool prizes like coffee and shirts? But they have, and they did, and I am so completely humbled by the support I have received, both monetarily and in-kind:

The Countdown Is On!

Originally posted by Katherine at 25th July 2012 at 23:18
 
Well, here I am blogging instead of doing something more productive like, oh I don’t know, weighing each and every lithium battery I plan on taking along, as the word on the street is that our 5kg weight allowance will be strictly enforced. None of this hiding contraband tequila bottles down our riding tights! Let them try to find it, is all I have to say.
 
And while I really intend on getting out for physical exercise and riding this afternoon, I have to admit that I just crawled out of another salt-water bath, as I had some bizarre dog-leash accident (don’t ask) and have been nursing what looks like whip marks on the backs of my knees.

What Is That Ringing Noise...

Originally posted by Katherine at 16th July 2012 at 20:43
 
I was awoken this morning at 5:15am by the ringing of my bedside phone. Holy early morning, Batman! I thought. Must be Jordan, pulling an all-nighter study session and now famished, was looking for that famous pancake recipe – who else would call here so ridiculously early? But no, it was the radio station QR77 out of my home province of Alberta, wondering if I would care to do a live radio interview tomorrow morning, 5:15am BC time? Huh?

Where's My Raspberries!

Where's My Raspberries!
 
originally posted by Katherine at 10th July 2012 at 05:36
 
It hit 27 degrees here today – summer has finally arrived on the west coast. A nice change, especially after the lingering months of Mayvember and Juneuary, when the temps barely got out of the single digits. But the warmer weather meant a long, slow ride today, instead of anything more flashy, as commitments this morning kept me from getting out to ride in the cooler hours of the day. As a consolation (or not, depending on your viewpoint) on my long ride, I stumbled across the nudist beach.
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