Mongol Derby 2015 Medics Blog 12/08/2015
This morning we saw a marked change in the weather, with winds and a steady rainfall which has persisted into the day. With the news that the leading two riders reached the finish line just before the cut-off time last night, the race for the remaining places continues and the end feels in sight for many of the field. For those at the back, there are many more hours of riding ahead to reach the finish before the Derby closes, so while the race is over for some, it carries on for many for the next few days, not least the MD crew.
So far, we have had only three riders forced to retire due to illness, which is impressive considering the harsh conditions during the early stages of the race. Deb and Michael moved to the finish line early this morning to welcome home the next three riders, who, having ridden together and supported each other throughout the race, sportingly crossed the line holding hands and secured joint third place with beaming smiles. That's the true Derby spirit.
From heat exhaustion and dehydration last week, hypothermia now seems a more likely risk today as the rain continues relentlessly and the skies have turned to a grey-white. It is some respite from the heat but still far from ideal riding conditions for those already feeling exhausted.
Doctor Carl is following up towards the rear of the pack, reporting that the race is a grueling toll on some which is apparent at the horse stations, but so far all are continuing, determined to make it to the end.
The riders we treated earlier in the week seem to be recovering well and we are hoping to see many more cross the line in the coming hours and days. What state some will be in at the finish once their grit and resolve to take them over the line has loosened its grasp remains to be seen, but we will be keeping a close eye on everyone once they make it in.
The Mongolian hospitality remains consistently warm, despite the weather. Deb brought some paper aeroplanes for the kids, which seemed like a great idea, until nether Deb or Michael could fold some of the more complicated ones. How many nurse practitioners and critical care paramedics does it take to make a paper aeroplane? More than one of each it seems. Having enlisted the help of a resting rider (a vet, much more clever), and some tape, we achieved something with all the aerodynamic properties of a piece of paper covered in tape. It looked OK but the balloons and animals seemed a bigger hit anyway. Not really the weather for flying.
So for now, we wait at the finish huddled around a fire or in the 4x4 with the finest selection of pan-pipe instrumental tracks. Whatever Beethoven was trying to convey to Elise, I don't think this was it. But we are warm and dry, can't be bad :)