La Transmongolie

As I hinted at in a previous post, I dream of going to Mongolia. As best I can recall, I […]

By on December 20, 2006 | Comments

As I hinted at in a previous post, I dream of going to Mongolia. As best I can recall, I fell for Mongolia (or at least something resembling Mongolia) at first sight. It at a Russian Cinema Club meeting when we watched a film with a name I long ago forgot. The expanse of the place stuck me. I had already lived in the great American West and experienced its vastness. During my summer in Elko, Nevada wide open spaces had marked my soul. But in the northern Asian lands of the film, the expansive vastness was green rather than the sages and taupes of the Great Basin.

Over time I more or less forgot Mongolia. Plans to cross Eurasia on the Trans-Siberian railway dissolved. My focuses turned stateside. The steppe was at my back. I don’t know exactly when or where, but sometime in the past year or so I came up with the idea to run across Mongolia. I’d seen some pictures in recent years and I was reminded of it beauty. I also felt that with the traditional nomadism of its people made it a natural place to experience on foot.

While I would love to cross Mongolia on foot at some point, I am also looking into more practical options as well. So far I’ve found one race, the Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset 100k. It looks like it would b a fun enough race that would leave time to explore the country as a proper tourist. It might fit in this year if it were a week earlier, but it might be a bit too close to the Vermont 100. An even more exciting option is la transmongolie. Despite the name, one does not transit Mongolia entirely, rather its is a loop course. Who cares that the event/tour/ridiculousness appears to be put on by and entirely populated by French folk? Not me. I can get by not knowing little more French than “which direction,” “how far,” “more food, please” “more water, please,” and “yes, I would like to ride his yak.” However, can someone give me a good translation of “marche.” The best translation I get is “go,” which doesn’t help as “marche” is given as an alternative to “course a pied.” Okay, upon further review I think I may have figured out that one can either bicycle, run, or walk each of the days with the course being a different length depending on your choice of transportation that day.

Any takers?

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.