The challenge was on: 2,300 kilometres across the steppe and the Gobi Desert. This was the first ever attempt to cross the Gobi Desert in the winter on a road bike. I started the loop from Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital.
I was riding between ten and twelve hours a day, sleeping in my tent or in the camps of the nomadic population who never failed to make me feel the silent presence, in the solitude of one of the most remote places in the world.
From the extreme cold of the first days, to the incredibly windy crossing of the most difficult part of the desert, it was an adventure that left me with a deep sense of freedom combined with the melancholy that accompanied the last stages.
Sometimes you never want to get off your bike, even if it has seen you living really extreme moments at the limit of fatigue.
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Last updated: December 8, 2021
Finally out of the city, riding the Mongolian steppe. What a day! Incredible...
You begin to deal with the steppe wind. It seems, however, that this will be nothing compared to what I will find in the heart of the desert. I just have to find out.
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With the approval of the wind, which has now subsided, and of the much milder temperature, I finally arrived in Saynshand. From here the Gobi desert will officially begin. From tomorrow we will head west.
I've been waiting for this moment for months. Finally the wheels of my Wilier Triestina JENA plow the land of the Gobi desert. It will be fun, in every sense.
After the ground today was the time when I tasted the strong winds of the Gobi. 7 hours to cover 75 km. This is what awaits me.
The immensity of nature. The vastness of the desert. Today I realized how small we are in comparison to the world around us. In small steps, delicately, towards the goal.
Today was the most devastating day so far. Almost walking pace against the most brutal wind I have ever faced. The ultimate reward for all this effort was a spectacular sunset and the view of a breathtaking moon.
The wind controls and decides the speed to keep. There is no possibility of "defeating" him, but only indulging him. Today the march resembled that of the wonderful camels that populate this desert.
Today the real solitude: no nomads on my way, no presence. And now the tent placed sheltered from the winds, among the rocks of these wonderful mountains that delimit the boundaries of this portion of the desert.
A few km less than expected: instead of going around the dune area I decided to cross them. I had to push the bike on the deep and soft sand, but it was a unique sight to find myself up here with my bike and everything I need.
Nomadic life is now entering my veins. Every day more and more routine takes over my days. Wake up, get off the pitch, pedal, come back to the pitch. In all this the silence, the wonderful sunrises and the sunsets even more. I love this desert.
Just me and the camels. Silent people of this wild land, of one of the most extreme deserts in the world.
Time to get out of the desert. Now up in the mountains, the adventure will continue to end where it began.
As a guest of a nomadic family, I finally ate a hot meal but, above all, kept faith with their very traditional "triple" round of Mongolian vodka! Not quite the kind of recovery prescribed to an athlete but it was nothing short of "Cool".
Very hard day, crossing the mountains and then heading east again, towards Ulan Bator.
We return to the asphalt. Thanks to the wind the road to Ulan now appears downhill.
I wish this incredible adventure would never end. And it ended exactly as it had started, with a very long last stage. 250 km on the main road to the capital. And then back here, where it all started. Thanks Mongolia!
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