I had a nice sleep in, and this time had a real breakfast (not puree mutton soup) which I think had some sort of eggs, toast, and bacon (though closer to ham than our bacon at home). We heard that there would be riders coming in pretty early, so I decided to take a walk down to the wishing rock and cheer them on there.
In came a group of 3 ladies: Madison and Lisa, whom I had shared a ger with at start camp, and the Kiwi Courtney. I greeted them and cheered, explained the wishing rock and held their horses while they went to the wishing rock themselves and sent them on their way.
One of the Derby vans came by, and picked me up (I guess they had been following the riders) and we passed them to cheer them on at the finish. Sometime between when I saw them and the finish, the ditched their shirts and came in only wearing their bras!
However, before they finished, we were all waiting with a pack of goats, just in front of the finish line. All of a sudden, one goat breaks from the herd and starts trotting towards us and the finish line – we all got really excited and started to cheer on the goat. He trotted right through the finish flags, and graciously accepted his finish gift of airag from Chloe. Breaking News: Goat wins the Mongol Derby! Delightful!
There was to be a bit of a break in the riders, so I went off with Erik and Anna (who had been brought back to finish line from UB) in search of activity. I was hoping we would go to the lake I was told wasn’t far, but we ended up in the dunes and on camels instead. Erik, being the free spirit, snatched his lead rope and rode his camel without help, his camel was not so keen on being made to work, but that didn’t stop him!
We came back, had showers, naps, and bummed around camp for a while and made some new animal friends. At one point, we were all napping, and a bunch of riders came in without our knowledge! Oops! They had to come get us and ride through the finish line again! To be fair, the Derby organizers did warn us that the faster you come in, the smaller the welcoming party ha-ha.
We did, however catch Chris and Heather ride through the finish line.
We had the first set of awards that night, it was pretty rough for us party vanners as they called everyone up, and we were literally “left on the steppes.” Just kind of rubbed it in even more. Jess and I went back to the ger, no so eager to party – we were happy for the finishers, but it was very VERY sad for us, and we didn’t want to bring down their mood. Later, Luke came into the ger with a saddle and a grin. Turns out he was offered to ride the last leg of the derby across the finish line tomorrow with the other members of the cavalry. Everything in me dropped. I tried very hard to say nice words, but I was devastated. I was really hoping I would be able to ride again and I had not been afforded the same opportunity. It felt very unfair to me – I just wanted to ride. I don’t know why I didn’t get an offer, I have some ideas, but I was more disappointed then than I was when I withdrew.
Despite having taken a sleeping pill, I couldn’t sleep. I walked around a little bit and retired to my bed again, getting woken up once through the night by a spider dropping from the ceiling onto my face. I didn’t even care (though the spider DID still have to die). I was broken.