Mongol Derby 2015 Medics Blog 10/08/2015
A break in the weather today has meant easier riding conditions and with most moving away from the open plains and into the hills, a change in the terrain. Many more trees and an almost alpine feel, with more cloud cover and a few showers, has seen most making much better time and arriving at horse stations less fatigued.
With the field now spread out, the two medical teams are placed somewhere toward the front so as to reach anyone in need of emergency help as quickly as possible.
Deb and Michael spent the previous night at HS 17, with a very welcoming and hospitable family and (yet another) stunning location. As the last riders checked in before the 2030 cut-off, the head of the family gave an impromptu show of his horsemanship and requested some photos to be taken. Pointing a camera in his direction produced some excellent “blue steel” expressions and poses, and he vetted the finished work before the session ended. With his approval on the final print, how would we then get the photo to him? There may be no postal system out here, but his granddaughter's Facebook account seemed to be the best option. Modern technology does not have to destroy traditional ways of life it seems, but can supplement it well.
The morning saw the 3 riders staying at the horse station making a start promptly at 7am and then a wait for the next group of riders to come through. The local family took the opportunity to pose for some more photos with the Derby crew (vet, medics, drivers and interpreters), including one of the elders being endlessly fascinated by his difference in height to Michael (“Big Brother”), resulting in much amusement all round.
With the next group of riders through, the medics bid a farewell to HS17 and moved on to HS18.
The interesting terrain on horseback is also somewhat challenging in a 4x4, so Berkhee's beloved Land Cruiser was made to work hard, with some hasty window winding up driving through water and dodging the local wildlife, including some Yaks which like to play chicken and some indecisive ground squirrels running to safety.
Station 18 saw some archery with the locals (our driver almost hit someone, but fortunately no penetrating trauma to deal with) and Deb was called into action to see a finger vs some part of a motorbike, which had happened a couple of days before. The unlucky chap had amputated the end of one digit but then managed to treat it with some combination of cotton, fire and a banknote which had stopped the bleeding and kept it clean. A digital block, some decent cleaning and course of antibiotics later the plucky motor biker’s luck had changed for the better thanks to a chance of meeting with Sister Swann.
Onto HS 19 in the evening and a passing storm was timed perfectly with our arrival, fortunately most riders are already safe inside. No alternative but to enjoy a bowl of noodles and cup of hot tea with the host family until it passes. Not a bad way to end the day.