2016 EDITION RACE ON
FLOURISHING FUTURES VISIT
Today saw the Mongolia Bike Challenge by Selle SMP staff and 25 participants of this year’s event visit Flourishing Futures, the NGO charity foundation that we are very proud to be supporting this year. Located in the southernmost ger district of the capital Ulaan Bataar, the Flourishing Futures’ heads, Troy and Shari Tvrdik, and members of their amazing staff gave us a brief introduction to the work they do with the children and families of the district, then showed us around the local neighborhood.
Finally, three young people who are attending university with the help of the scholarships provided by Flourishing Futures, towards which the donations provided by the Mongolia Bike Challenge will go, each introduced themselves and gave a speech not only on what these scholarships meant to them, but also on their studies and their hopes for the future.
Flourishing Futures indeed!
It was a deeply moving and inspiring experience, one which gave all who attended a deeper understanding of Mongolia.
If anyone would like to donate, please visit the Flourishing Futures website HERE
The #mbcbysellesmp would also like to thank MoreThanSport.org, who made the collaboration between the MBC and Flourishing Futures possible.
MBC 2016 REGISTRATION & OPENING CEREMONY
This evening saw the official registration and opening ceremony with pre-race briefing for the 2016 Mongolia Bike Challenge. Hosted by our sponsor hotel, the Bayangol Hotel, the 2016 participants collected their race numbers and instruction for the race, along with information for Stage 1.
In essence, the opening ceremony allows us to welcome these inspiring people into the MBC family!
Let’s get the party started!!!
The riders set off from outside the Bayangol Hotel in downtown Ulaan Bataar at 9am under brilliant blue skies and majestic clouds for the 16km the 120km opening stage of the Mongolia Bike Challenge 2016.
Although there were no KOM points on today route, our participants had to surmount over 1900m of climbing.
The first breakaway came almost immediately after the 16km neutral that was led by a police escort out of the city, and saw 6 riders - 5 Khan riders (Peyson McElveen, Cory Wallace, Nicholas Pettina, Yuki Ikeda, Hiroyuki Okamoto, plus Master 2 rider Hans Planckaert - power away from the main pack.
At KM 41 the pack behind had splintered, and we had the 6 ahead determinedly building their lead, followed by five riders behind who themselves were beginning split up.
After the second refueling station at KM 70, Payson McElveen broke away from his companions, with Wallace and Pettina waiting for the other to react, and almost never looked back, with his lead building to 2 minutes by one point. Three chasers (Ikeda, Wallace and Pettina) later retold how they had worked as hard as they could but could not bridge the gap to the 25 year old rider.
McElveen however unfortunately went off course and had to double back, by this point making contact with Pettina. The two then worked together till the end, with the Italian very sportingly allowing McElveen to take the victory, acknowledging that, for this day at least, it was the rider representing our partner charity, Flourishing Futures, and MoreThanSPort.org, who had the better legs.
- Khan Standings as of Stage 1:
- Payson McElveen__________4.36.00
- Nicholas Pettina____________at 1 sec
- Cory Wallace______________at 1.02
- Yuki Ikeda________________at 5.00
- Hiroyuki Okamoto__________at 20.58
Hans Planckaert came in 6th, at 23.21, a fine performance for the Master 2 rider and category leader.
Please check the Mongolia Bike Challenge website for full results, we will upload as soon as possible.
Also we would like to say congratulations to the two riders in the gravel bike category, both came home safe and rode very well! Finally, to all friends and family, we are happy to announce that ALL riders are home at the Stage 1 base camp, safe and sound.
A great start to the #mbcbysellesmp 2016!
Stage 2 Chronicle
The second stage of the 2016 Mongolia Bike Challenge saw the riders tackle a visually stunning course of122km with just over 2900m of climbing, with two KOM points offering time bonuses of 30 secs, 20 sec and 10 secs.
Under grey skies, #71 Martin Wisata took off from the starting pack and led the charge alone whilst the general classification riders took it a little more sedately, knowledgeable of the hard hills that were to come very early into this tough second stage.
At KM20, which saw the start of the first real climb of the day, Wisata was reabsorbed into the chasing group which comprised of the top riders in the race so far, which are Nicholas Pettina, Payson McElveen, Cory Wallace, Yuki Ikeda, Hiroyuki Okamoto and Hans Planckaert. These six riders took the initiative and the lead and pushed on up the hill at a frenetic pace.
By KM 37 on the climb, Ikeda had lost touch by almost a minute, as had Planckaert, though he was in an ideal position to extend his lead in the Master 2 category.
At KM50 the lead group was down to Payson, Okamoto, McElveen and Wallace, and by this point they had 2 mins over Ikeda.
At first KOM at 73km, it was down to a sprint with McElveen taking the 30 second time bonus, with Pettina and then Wallace following close behind.
This trio then showed no mercy as they drove hard to push out their lead, driving to the second KOM point where Wallace won by a tire’s width over Wallace.
The fast, tricky descent then saw these three leaders put on a masterclass in bike handling as they smoked the trails, testing each other on the downhill.
Behind them, Ikea was putting in a hard shift of his own and he almost caught the leading three on the last couple of hills, but ultimately could not quite bridge the gap.
At the finish line Wallace managed to take the win by one second over McElveen with Pettina just behind.
Official time gaps for the General Classification are:
1. P. McElveen_____________________9:47:46
2. Nicholas Pettina_______________at 22 seconds
3. Cory Wallace__________________at 1 min 11 secs
4. Yuki Ikeda_____________________at 13:40
5. Hiroyuki Okamoto_______________at 36:48
All riders on the second stage arrived home safe and sound! There were some heroic performances out there today, from all the participants!
Tomorrow’s stage sees the riders tackle 2240 meters over 117km, with 2 KOM points, with dry weather forecast.
The Mongolia Bike Challenge shows racers very quickly what this race is all about – a tough challenge set within epic, natural beauties. The track varies between fast and smooth to rough and somewhat technical.
Stage 3 Chronicle
The third stage of the 2016 Mongolia Bike Challenge took the orders over 117km and two KOM points, with 2240 meters of climbing through a dramatic landscape of sweeping mountains, lush valleys and rocky outcrops, under a sky that promised rain but finally bore blue skies.
From the beginning group spread out, on flat section not a strenuous pace. However the first, short steep climb saw a section made from the front of the field.
At KM20 Nicholas Pettina and Payson McElveen opened a gap on Cory Wallace of 2 minutes and 45 seconds. Behind these three, the same three that led the GC at the start of the day, were Yuki Ikeda, Hiroyuki Okamoto and Hans Planckaert, the leader of the Master 2 category.
At the first KOM point, at KM44, the first real test of the day, McElveen took the 30 second time bonus by a bike length from Pettina. By this point, Wallace was over 5 minutes behind. After a relatively flat section through sublime landscape, the second big climb of the day came, with the second and final KOM point of the day at its summit.
Again, McElveen outsprinted Pettina whilst behind, Wallace worked hard to cut the gap by one minute. After a long, sweeping descent the leading pair unfortunately went off track. As they grafted to regain the trail, Wallace managed to rejoin them.
In the meantime, coming from behind, Planckaert and Iuki flew past the trio of Wallace, McElveen and Ikea, taking them by surprise. McElveen then chased to bridge the gap to the leading pair. The last 5km saw this trio hurtle towards the line, with the evergreen Planckaert taking the win by 8 seconds over Ikeda, his first at the Mongolia Bike Challenge.
Wallace and Pettina came in 4 minutes and 30 seconds down.
All competitors came home safely and within the time limit.
Official time gaps for the General Classification after Stage 3 are:
1. Payson McElveen________14:14:55
2. Nicholas Pettina_________ at 00:4:56 seconds
3. Cory Wallace____________at 00:6:05 secs
4. Yuki Ikeda______________ at 00:14:40 secs
5. Hans Planckaert__________at 1:00:44 secs
Another challenging stage set within the characteristic Siberian tundra landscape of this area. You are now racing in the Khan Khentii National Park where the valleys are full of nomadic families and their herds.
Stage 4 Chronicle
130km with 1600m climbing faced the riders today as they set off on Stage 4 of the 2016 Mongolia Bike Challenge by Selle SMP. The first 30 kilometers saw a heavy fog covering the land as the riders made their way from the beautiful Edelweiss Camp out to the eventual finish line at the Steppe Nomad camp.
There was no real action until the first KOM point at KM31, at the top of a long shallow drag which coincided with the lifting of the mist. Payton McElveen won the sprint for the 30 second bonus over Cory Wallace with Japan;s Yuki Ikeda coming in third.
From the summit the riders enjoyed a long downhill through a majestic valley, with Ikeda, McElveen, Pettina and Hiroyuki Okamoto pulling clear of the field. However at KM60, Okamoto flatted, leaving the other four in the lead. At the second feed zone, at KM 67, Ikea out in a surge and managed to open a gap of about three minutes over the other three.
Three minutes back, Hans Planckaert was chasing hard. At KM 75 Iker Vicario and Planckaert closed the gap to the leaders, forcing the chasing group closer to Ikeda, the lone leader. Vicario pulled at the front as the other riders swapped off behind him.
At KM 100 the race finally kicked into life, as Ikeda’s 2 minute lead began to be eaten into as the chasers set a furious pace. Ikeda was finally caught with 5 kilometers remaining, but managed to hang onto the others to the finish. At the line, after a beautiful day of racing, it was McElveen who edged the sprint from Wallace, with Ikeda in third.
The GC gaps remain the same as on stage 3.
The difficulty in today’s stage is the long distance. With 130km, Stage 4 is the longest stage of the MBC. No tourists visit this area so the trails are used only by locals and even then, infrequently. BTW this will be a really fast stage.
Stage 5 Chronicle.
Stage 5 of the 2016 Mongolia Bike Challenge by Selle SMP saw the riders take on the last big stage of the race before the final time trial of Stage 6. The participants faced 88km with 1400m of elevation two KOMs, with a long flat section for the first 60% of the route, before the final leg which included several rolling hills and the two KOM points.
From KM5 Cory Wallace and Payson McElveen broke way and tried to get an early lead over Nicholas Pettina and Yuki Ikeda. However, Ikeda and Pêttina were esconced in a group of twelve who worked together to reel in the pair up front.
At KM20, Ilya Cantor pulled away and built a decent lead as the pack behind were content to pace themselves, looking to the final kilometers to make their move.
One kilometer after the first feeding zone at KM36, Cantor was reeled in on the first real climb of the day, as the five Khan riders - Pettina, Ikeda, Wallace, Okamoto and McElveen – took hold of the race and forged ahead.
At the first KOM at KM44, McElveen led Pettina and Okamoto for the maximum 30 second bonus. Pettina and McElveen then opened a substantial gap over the three chasers, which was not broken by the men behind for the rest of the stage.
At the second KOM McElveen again took the max bonus, with Pettina close behind, followed two minutes later by Ikeda and Wallace.
In the final section before the finish line, Pettina managed to win the sprint over McEveen. Two minutes later Wallace beat Ikeda to third place.
Going into tomorrow´s 25KM individual time trial, McElveen takes 5:47 lead over Pettina, and almost 20 minutes over Wallace.
OVERALL Standings after Stage 5:
Payson McElveen ______________ 23:18:04
Nicholas Pettina_________________at 5:47:00
Cory Wallace ____________________at 19:24
After a chilly night spent under a star-filled sky of epic proportions, the competitors of the 2016 Mongolia Bike Challenge by Selle SMP awoke to glorious blue canopy above and a hearty breakfast. Today's short but challenging stage presented the riders with a 25-km individual time trial with 500 m of climbing packed into two very short but punchy climbs.
There were several individual battles taking place throughout the field, however, all eyes were on the two men at the top of the leaderboard for the general classification, namely Payson McElveen of the United States of America and the Italian Nicholas Pettinà.
At the start of the day the gap was 5 minutes and 45 seconds and, although McElveen had a substantial lead, a puncture or a mechanical could change the face of their battle considerably. Also, Pettinà has an excellent track record from previous MBC editions over this particular discipline.
Drama is an integral component of every edition of the MBC, and not only in terms of the breathtaking landscapes and the demands placed upon each rider as they forge their way over the Mongolian steppe, but also in terms of the unpredictable nature of the route itself, and so it proved on this final stage 6 of the 2016 Mongolia Bike Challenge as McElveen, setting off in last place with Pettinà one minute ahead on the start list, went off course early on through no fault of his own.
Pettinà put in an outstanding performance to come in first, followed by Cory Wallace who put up a valiant effort, with the podium rounded out by Hiroyuki Okamoto. The unfortunate McElveen came in a few minutes down after going some two kilometers off course, and would have lost the overall lead of the race were it not for a very gentlemanly display of sportsmanship. That sportsmanship came from Nicholas Pettinà who, in acknowledgement of the dominance of the American over the previous five stages of the race, honorably informed the race referee that he wished for McElveen to be recognized as the overall winner of the general classification of the 2016 edition of the Mongolia Bike Challenge by Selle SMP. At the referee's discretion, and after a discussion with the race director, the decision was taken to award Payson McElveen with the final victory on the general classification over Nicholas Pettinà, who placed second, with Cory Wallace in third place.
1. Payson McElveen___24:04:58
2. Nicholas Pettinà___24:07:06
3. Cory Wallace___24:25:46
Stay tuned for the final recap of the entire 2016 MBC by Selle SMP tomorrow right here on our website including images from the final award ceremony, which will take place tonight at the XIII Century complex.
We are proud to announce this last stage as our Time trial Stage
This will start at 10 am, seeing the last rider on the GC setting off first, in ascending order in 1 minute intervals, with the first rider on the GC setting off last. The course is mostly fast double track, with a total of 489 mt gained over the route. There will be no refueling station along the course, so be sure to take what you need with you.
This evening is our reward banquet. We will crown our Champions and award the Official Finishers with the Mongolia Bike Challenge.
The 2016 Mongolia Bike Challenge by Selle SMP is over. We are done, and we we are definitely dusted. Legs are tired, backsides are weary, and just about everybody is ready for a hot shower and some room service! Yet, as with all the previous editions of the MBC, this year ?s race will live long in the memories and, corny as it sounds, in the hearts too, of all who set off from Ulaan Bataar just seven short days ago.
There were so many fantastic stories from this year ?s event that it would be impossible to recall them all. However, if you will grant us a bit of your time, we will tell you one or two.
There was Sarah Fawcett from the UK. Sarah had not ridden bike in any meaningful way since childhood when she decided late last year to enter the MBC 2016. Then she had a car accident and was out of action for several months, meaning that she could not adequately train for the event. But she did not let that stop her. Day after day, she pushed those pedals around, struggled and fought against the hills, the wind and her body ?s demands to stop. And every day she came in just under the time limit, exhausted but happy, and then she woke up again the next day and did it all over again.
Then there was Sergio Santiago Monje, who arrived at the Bayangol Hotel with a knitted puppet attached to his rucksack. At the start of the first stage he had the puppet attached to his camel bag, and at the evening meal it was attached to his belt loop. Wherever Sergio went, Nacho went too. The puppet ?s name was Nacho, and it represented a real boy named Nacho too. Nacho is the son of one of Sergio ?s friends, and this little boy has a kidney disease called DENT, an incurable disease that affects just 200 people worldwide. Because it affects so few, there is almost no government funding available to find a cure for DENT. And so, Sergio rides to raise money for Nacho and other DENT sufferers, selflessly peddling how way over the Mongolian steppe, refusing to give in to the tiredness and to the hurt, riding every day for Nacho.
To Sergio we gave the Fair Play award that we present to one rider who displays not only courage but also selflessness during the event.
There was also Neil Reynolds from Wales. Neil also was riding for a charity, Friends of Cancer Victims. He does one ?big ?event per year, and at the 2016 MBC he raised over $10,000 US.
It is stories like these, and indeed, people like this, that make the Mongolia Bike Challenge what it is. Yes, it is a race, and the boys up the front, such as Payson McElveen, who won the event, and Nicholas Pettina who fought hard to come in second, always put in stellar performances, astonishing the rest of us mere mortals with their efforts. Yet the MBC is about a coming together of people from all over the world, from all walks of life, from contrasting experiences, cycling abilities and even lifestyles, to pit themselves against the route and to experience the majestic beauty of Mongolia.
Speaking of the landscape, we were treated this year to almost perfect riding weather. One of the highlights was the 40 kilometre long valley, wide and flat, that ushered the riders on its carpet of lush, swaying grass towards the finish line on Stage 4. Another was the climb on Stage 3, situated in a protected area that sees not only almost no tourists but also hardly any Mongolians. Long and challenging, the grassy slopes are punctuated by huge rocky outcrops that rise up to tower over the riders as they pass by, huffing and puffing up towards the summit, where they are greeted by a refuelling station and a sweeping, open descent that is the definition of joy on a mountain bike.
And who will ever forget the night sky on the last night, after we had finished the awards ceremony at the 13th Century Ger Camp? As we left the large hut where the finishers were awarded their splendid Rosti MBC jerseys, above us was a picture perfect Mongolian sky, with the Milky Way low to the horizon, so close and clear you felt as though you could reach out and touch it. Stars simply filled the sky. It was monumental.
We always talk about the MBC as being a family, and that is something we hold firm to. It is neither a cliche nor a marketing ploy. As with all families, there will be ups and there will be downs, there will be great moments and there will be not so great moments, but, ultimately, the bond between those who ride the Mongolia Bike Challenge goes strong and goes deep, as with any family.
Lord Tennyson, in his famous poem Ulysses, finished with these lines: To seek, to find, to strive, but not to yield. That may well be the true motto of the Mongolia Bike Challenge. To all those who took part, to all the companions who helped out, to all the Mongolian staff, from the doctor and the nurse and all the drivers, we, the crew of the Mongolia Bike Challenge and the race founder, Willy Mulonia, salute you. Truly, you are the MBC.
To all those of you thinking of coming next year, well, we would love to see you and to meet you out here on the Mongolian steppe!
The Mongolia Bike Challenge. Where the impossible becomes possible.