On September 9, 2015, I received a phone call from Katy Willings of The Adventurists asking if I had time for an interview and whether I was still interested in competing in the Mongol Derby 2016. After a moment silence to collect my thoughts, I remembered that I had actually applied way back in the summer of 2014. That’s right, I asked them to set aside my application for that year because I was going to do the responsible thing and go back to school.
Fast forward back to the present, with education finally complete, and of course I was still interested in competing in the toughest horse race in the world! Wasn’t I? After about 40 minutes of answering some pretty tough questions from Katy and self-doubt strongly settling in the pit of my stomach, Katy said I sounded like I had the right stuff.
After I hung up the phone and let the news sink in, I started wondering about all the other pertinent facts I should have disclosed at that time. Such as, I was still recuperating from a punctured lung and broken rib from getting stepped on by my supposedly well trained Arabian at my last endurance race at Timber Ridge Trails in Lumby, B.C. Or that I had only just completed my first 50-mile endurance race this year. Or that I had recently found out from my doctor that I had tested positive for the markers for Lupus, but most likely I had chronic fatigue syndrome. Perhaps…
I started my research on how to prepare for the 1,000-kilometre race on 25 Mongolian ponies (more if I fall off and they run away), first by reading the blog by Liz Brown Desk to Derby. I very much related to her first blog intro entry “… a documented journey on turning my city soft, desk-dwelling self into a lean, mean, Mongolian horse riding machine.” Hmmm. Lean and mean sure sounds like a good goal.
Where should I start my fitness training? After consulting with my physiotherapist, it was decided I should probably let the ribs heal first before hitting the weights, but stretching would be a good start.
Secondly, I should add up all the costs and determine how much money I need to save (and spend) to embark on my bucket list item. The entry fee has gone up from last year to £8,495… Plane tickets to the popular vacation spot of Ulaanbaatar start at $2,500, plus, plus. There are deposit fees to be paid to the horse owners as a further incentive to take very good care of our equine partners. The cost keeps rising as I think about training and tack, as well as items I need to carry in my saddle bags such as sleeping bag, bivy, first aid supplies, which, by the way, has to weigh less than 5kg!
Finally, we have been asked to raise a minimum of £1,000 for charity. £500 goes to COOL EARTH, the charity chosen by The Adventurists. The remainder goes to my chosen charity – Chase Endurance – Riding for Epilepsy Research.
I will fund my trip completely on my own, but I ask for your support by donating directly through Canada Helps by clicking on the link above.