One of the world's most spectacular and most grueling mountain bike stage races kicks off today, the 7-day, 850km (528 miles) Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge!
WTB teamed up with Cannondale to send two top amateur riders, Arnold Zhang of China and Daniel Carruthers hailing from New Zealand. In typical WTB fashion, our racers are hard workers on and off the course - both Arnold and Daniel are WTB marketing representatives in Asia. Arnold Zhang was the first Chinese rider to compete at the Mongolia Bike Challenge and earned the coveted "Official" finisher status while Daniel Carruthers finished 14th overall at the 2011 Mongolia Bike Challenge and is back for more of this epic stage race.
DanielCarruthers during the Inner Mongolia event, pretty hard to refute the beauty of wild and open Mongolia
Daniel and Arnold are racing on Cannondale F29 Carbon 3 bikes decked out with WTB Frequency i19 TCS rims, Nine Line 2.0 29" TCS and Nano 2.1 29" TCS tires. Daniel opted for the Volt SLT saddle while Arnold prefers the Valcon's shape. Additionally, our WTB marketers are well supported by Cannondale Mongolia, Castelli Custom Clothing, Lake Shoes, Smith Optics, Selev Helmets, Con Cap Energy, and Biotex compression socks.
Arnold Zhang - excited and ready for yet another Mongolia Bike Challenge.
When asked about preparations and fitness heading into the event, Daniel commented:
"I should have some reasonable form having recently raced in Belgium and had a gold-medal winning performance at the Deaflympics road race in Bulgaria earlier this month, but the subsequent shoulder dislocation in Turkey put a dampener on my preparations and I took time out as a result. I did take part my first Gran Fondo in Italy on Sunday to jump-start my fitness level in time for MBC."
When asked about this time versus his last, Daniel stated:
"I am really looking forward to going back to MBC again this year and this time I have been directly involved with WTB-Cannondale to get myself and Arnold to race and show the world what a great adventure Mongolia is to do a bike race in; it is a race that should be on your must-do event list if you are into traveling the world!"
Arnold's bike, decked out and ready to go. Arnold's running a Valcon Team saddle, Nine Line 2.0 29" TCS tires, and Frequency i19 29" TCS rims. Bikes have to be tough to last through all seven stages.
The Mongolia Bike Challenge takes place on the vast, lonely, and isolated expanse referred to as the Steppes, where Genghis Khan and his army once galloped in conquest. 108 riders from 23 countries are headed to Mongolia to test themselves in the wild, remote, and stunning beauty of the Mongolian Outback. What startedThis event has morphed into become a 'must do' on the international MTB stage race calendar.
While the daily distances and tough competition will be a huge challenge for all, all the riders will be rewarded each day with Mongolian style food, indoor yurt accommodations and the opportunity to mix with local Mongolians and international riders. Yes, you read correctly, this is an international mixer, not to be confused with a biz-casual mixer. Breath-taking landscapes, cross-cultural experiences, and time spent with other like-minded people ease competitor's minds from the grueling nature of the race.
Watch out Mongolia! Here comes Arnold.
Cory Wallace, the current defending MBC champion who proudly runs a WTB Silverado saddle, had some interesting insight into the event as a whole:
"The MBC stands out in my mind as the adventure it takes its riders on is unparalleled. The places we ride, the locals we see and the destinations we camp in are ever changing and very inspiring in Mongolia. The MBC also seems to attract a different breed of adventure seeking cyclist and provides a great week to get to know some of these riders from around the world and share some pretty cool experiences together"
Daniel, putting his training time in racing Inner Mongolia.
WTB will also be supporting Specialized Chinese rider Hu Hao, Chiru Malaysian rider Razif Salleh, and Lapierre Asia athlete Lee Rodgers.
Check out the official website for more info: http://www.mongoliabikechallenge.com/
Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge by Stage, imperial measurements included to make the climbing appear all the more daunting:
Stage 1: The Kings Stage 120km with 2900m (9,514 feet) of climbing
Stage 2: The Jalman Stage 126km with 2240m (7,349 feet) of climbing
Stage 3: The Khan Khentii Stage 148km with 2000m (6,561 feet) of climbing
Stage 4: The Marathon Queen’s Stage 175km with 2540m (8,333 feet) of climbing
Stage 5: The Time Trial 45km with 1000m (3,280 feet) of climbing
Stage 6: The Nomad’s Steppe Stage 167km with 1730m (5,675 feet) of climbing
Stage 7: The Great Chinggis Empire Stage 86km with 1486m (4,875 feet) of climbing
Best of luck to all adventurous souls competing!