• City: Kanpur

    The first day of riding. Finally we were rolling!

    We had travelled overnight by train from UB to Erdenet and we woke up the next morning as our train pulled into Erdenet. A small town, a really tiny town compared to Indian standards. It was 7 in the morning with a cool lovely breeze blowing. We got off the train and then got our bikes off the luggage rack without a problem, no paperwork, no greasing palms as we would have to do in India! Nothing except a simple thankyou shake of the hand and taking the bikes back. Very nice people here in every walk of life, from the government department to the people on the road to the shopkeepers, all very lovely people. We finally got our bikes on the road and packed them up and looked for breakfast in the railway station, but all that we got were a couple of bars of snickers. And after gobbling down the chocolates we started riding.

    It was not the perfect day for me to start riding as I had a slight fever and cold and I didn’t really want to start a big ride in such a condition. But since we didn’t have any option we rode. As we rode it became a little bit more difficult as the climbs started and the wind picked up, I couldn’t keep up with Prakash. My fever picked up, as my body was throbbing, my head was aching. I just wanted to sleep off on the side of the road. The worst was that i was getting depressed and lost confidence in my abilities. I thought it was a big mistake coming to Mongolia to cycle. I didn’t believe that i could possibly complete the ride, i felt that my preparation was inadequate and wished that i had ridden a couple of thousand kilometres more in Delhi! Fortunately Prakash would slow down and stop for me and egged me on and pushed me to complete the ride for the day. And with a lot of self doubt, we finally reached Bulgan.

    Bulgan was a nice little town that we had ridden into. We had been climbing the entire day, which was pretty tiring, what with the wind and the long never ending climbs. Fortunately the last 3km into Bulgan was downhill and that was like a Godsend, having to just coast in without pedalling even once right till the hotel. When we did reach the hotel the front looked rather bleak, with broken glass panes and torn curtains. Some kind soul told us that the hotel entrance was from the rear. Well that was weird, but we went around the back and it didn’t look any prettier! In fact it looked straight out of Hollywood murder movie set in Eastern Europe, one of those in which all the guests are tortured and killed inside the hotel! With those thoughts we entered and got a room pretty cheap (thanks in no small part to Prakash’s bargaining skills!), 1000INR for a double room. As we entered the room, I collapsed. I couldn’t keep myself awake any longer. It was probably the lack of water, we hadn’t carried enough water. We were carrying just 2 litres per person and I had consumed it all and my fever had taken its toll. I passed out for a couple of hours and woke up and tried eating dinner. Dinner was of the instant noodles variety, where you pour in hot water and wait. But one bite and i wanted to throw up, so i munched a few potato wafers and popped in a magic pill and immediately slept off. I passed out for the next 5 hours before I woke up drenched in sweat with the fever gone completely. Once the fever had passed I was fine. With the body in a better condition the spirit also found hope for a better day.

    A shepherd heading out towards his flock

    One of the passes we had to climb. The sight of it took the wind out of my sails!

    At the railway station

    The speed limit was 50kmph, we couldn’t go above 5kmph!

    The decrepit looking Hotel in Bulgan!