I woke on day 4, feeling better than ever. I had really gotten used to sleeping on the bare ground with my saddle as a pillow (mind you, I was sufficiently tranquilized throughout). I waved off the riders and learned we had one more dropout due to illness. Alex (GER) had a severe bladder infection, and with the other van back in the city, it was the party van’s responsibility to take him back to the hospital in the city. While we waited, I checked out the baby horse line, where they had just earlier been milking the mares and halter breaking the foals (though my camera was back with my stuff and I missed the show!)
After he was mobile enough for the van, and had sorted out his insurance, we hit the dirt path back to the city.
At this point, I want to mention to any Derby hopefuls out there: get the insurance they recommend from Bodi. It will make life so much easier, as if you have international insurance, they might not understand the true nature of the race and what your needs are. For some reason, Alex’s insurer thought they were asking to have a private jet send him back to Germany, and weren’t so keen on giving the go ahead (I work in the private jet industry… I KNOW how expensive those are). He had to explain it to them himself and got it sorted out. Remember, you may not have the capacity to deal with the insurance yourself if you are seriously injured, so make it easy for the crew and yourself and get back to treatment as soon as possible!
Alex was then sufficiently tranquilized and had a nice extended nap across the back seat of the van. He is incredibly tall and barely fit back there, but managed with come creative legwork… and he was OUT. It was my job to check every so often that he was breathing. Seriously, some of the bumps we had almost threw me to the ceiling (oh yeah, no seatbelts in Mongolia it seems) and he stayed completely unconscious. We got to a “paved” road and shortly after, we got a call… time for a detour – there is another rider to pick up.
About an hour later, we picked up Katharine, who also was suffering from illness (though I am sure her body was aching still from leg 1). Alex was still passed out in the back, so her, Tess and I shared the bench in the middle, and ventured back to the road. I can only imagine how much that van must have hurt her!
Along the way, we saw several riders making their way through the stations, here is a shot of the Cav boys crossing the paved road… in formation of course!
Shortly after seeing them, we came by another rider… off the horse, bent over toward the ground. I was the first to spot her “Pull over, its Anna!” recognizing her red breeches and bright teal jacket, and long white hair. Anna had literally everything that could go wrong happen during the Derby, and when we found her, she was searching for her GPS which was very VERY lost. I gave her mine, and sent her on her way. You may remember I tried to ride with her because her GPS malfunctioned before the start and she had an unfamiliar one. When I pulled I had hoped I would find her and swap, we got very lucky that we had found her in that very moment. She had just pressed her emergency tracker, but we arrived before the call had even been dispatched. How is that for prompt service!
The drive back to UB was long. Alex managed to sleep throughout except when we stopped for dinner on the way. We alerted him to food, but he had to use the bathroom. High as a kite, we weren’t sure if he would make it back behind the shops on his own, or even manage to do the deed – again a van full of women, we all passed that “look” around. I hate to say it, but I giggled a bit watching Chloe try and escort him back to a private(ish) area, her head only reaching his armpits at best. He came back unscathed. “What is this? Tramadol? Oh its nice! What is this? Tramadol, Oh its nice!” Poor Alex, we are pretty sure he was seeing sounds.
We finally made it back to UB as the sun was setting (remember we left in the early morning!) dropping Alex off at the hospital. Katharine and I decided to share a room at the Ramada, and we had the pleasure of getting our finish line bags from HQ. We got to the hotel, and I had wifi for the first time in a week. A flood of emails from friends and family worried about me because the website said I withdrew for an ankle injury. I did my best to explain briefly and went right shower then to bed. It was back on the road again early the next morning, to continue the adventure on the steppe!!