Aug 25 2016

Constitution Day Bonus Ride

AO Bonus

Constitution Day of RoK is coming up on Tuesday August 30th and is declared a public holiday.
That makes a great opportunity for a bonus ride to hone those legs muscles towards the sweet tail end of the summer.
A sneak peek on the weather forecast is promising a sunny & dry day with somewhat lower temps at 25C and the ever constantly present wind at ~5m/s.

We will leave from TCO Dostyk village main gate at 08:00

At this moment there are no firm plans yet for where to ride to and how long to ride. We will settle this in our usual pre-ride discussions.

 

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Jul 30 2016

A powerful groupride

These days multple weather websites are checked for their forecasts, as with that miserable spring and winter and autumn we can not rely on those blues skies and clear sunny days this season. And oh dear, one promised some rains for later in the morning. So it was decided to ride in some level of proximity to tarmac just in case we had to bail for weather.

A group of 8 riders strong set out to ride Matt von Gunter classic track, with the intention to consider to add Peshnoy Levee loop weather permitting.

It has appeared that most of us, who start to ride with a fancy new bike, “brake it in” during one of their first ride. Today was no exception: So in “honour” of solid traditions, our new rider David broke in his new bike with an annoying technical failure of a front brake leaking nasty break fluid, and required after MvG to head back.

the whole pack had been riding pretty close together and felt good to press on to do Peshnoy Levee Loop, while the heat steadily but surely crept up and started to wear us out. Luckily no signs of those forecasted rains. After some refueling at Damba, the group dialed into a solid pace and rode through the additional loop. Some of us dialed in better than others when, upon encountering ome locals alongside a car, they shared a photographic moment and some wodka.

The ride back on the road was in formation, up to the point were a car was spotted that had ran out of fuel. A quick intermezzo of getting off the bikes and pushing the car into a nearby petrol station was appreciated by the very sweaty owner of the car.

In all a very nice and strong group ride, where we managed to keep the whole group together and ride strong!

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Jul 13 2016

“Old” Aerial photo of one of AO’s favourite places

An old aerial photograph of Horses bath taken back in 2011 by one of our former riding members during a maintenance flight.

The area looks quite different this current season!

Aerial photo of Horses Bath taken in 2011 during maintenance flight.

Aerial photo of Horses Bath taken in 2011 during maintenance flight.

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Jun 28 2016

Far, far away and recovery

Calm winds, mild temperatures, fresh legs and a desire to explore some new terrain…  This was the mix that came together this weekend to push further than had been attempted in quite some time.  Satellite image work had revealed the possibility of a prize beyond Karatyu Lake.  White cliffs, rolling terrain and several structures near the end of the known Atyrau universe.  A group set off on the most direct route to minimize thinking and maximize time to stop, take photos and make mistakes before time got away from us.

Nine riders made it out to Karatyu Lake when two decided the “about 80kms total-ish” comment and past experience told them this might not end well.  The rest gathered up and headed out with plenty of water and food to brave the desolate unknown.

Navigation went well for most of the ride.  The junction to drop off the old shoreline was reached and we searched for the White Cliffs.  Very obvious on satellite images, very subtle on the ground.  Not as impressive as we hoped but the track was good so we pressed on.  A small navigational error resulted in one of the most interesting stops of the day.  A large camel had decided to take a quick rest from which it would never return.  Dubbed Dead Camel Mountain we found it partially eaten and relaxing near an old shell-hash beach.  Dead Camel Beach served as a nice stop for a turnaround and reestablishing the plotted track.

Dead Camel Mt

Dead Camel Mt

Near the end of the exploration limits we came upon a berm with a dugout cellar and mud brick walls on a concrete base.  A few photos and suggested names kept us occupied long enough to fuel up and head back.

Farthest NW point. Toxey Cabana

Farthest NW point. Toxey Cabana

Not merely content to find one new peak but another navigational opportunity led us to the real find of the day.  Mt Everest!  A lone massif on the steppes with white capped peaks and a prominant face we all donned oxygen and attempted the summit.  A few seconds later we were successful!  The greatest natural topography conquered we decided to call it a day and head back to town.  Total of 85kms give or take depending on when you started your GPS and we were back to finish strong!

Summit of Mt Everest

Summit of Mt Everest


Recovery

Such a long eventful day of riding took most of our energy and left us longing for the simpler days.  A new rider joined us to mercifully give us an excuse to take it easy.  Thanks to Graeme for his kindness and we look forward to many more days on the bike.  We did reward him with a summit on Mt Fuji for his trouble.  Shoes optional!

Shoeless on Mt Fuji

Shoeless on Mt Fuji

 

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Jun 27 2016

Ride of Dead Things and more exploring

Transitions…we all go through them.  This time of year is especially full of them with the conclusion of school, the changing of the season from pleasant to hot and the loss of foundational riders.  Some have been here for years and some for a few short weeks but all have their impact.  We said goodbye to Mark on his final ride this Saturday.  His one request, to rob graves!  Actually, to go out to The Boneyard and secure one of the coveted skulls which seem to be concentrated in this location.  The dead fish on the riverwalk did not bode well for the rest of the day…

Our first challenge was a new set of actual tracks put down by the train company.  That route will have to be updated since it is now in danger of being a giant game of Frogger.  Our second challenge was Mr Mechanical having another epic day of drivetrain problems.  Executing a swift repair while the horseflies gorged themselves with several pounds of cycling flesh the group moved on along The Wetlands track.  Boneyard was reached but covered with brush so our riders had to search for a good specimen.  A few quick negotiations with other “skull holders” and the group set off never to speak of what transpired on the steppes.  The lead cyclists saw two live foxes on the open landscape while the following pack merely noticed the lone deceased fox on the dirt road.  Our third “dead thing” on the ride.

Never content to make things too easy the group headed for The Hole with a Bridge Around It crossing and turned once again into the Salad Alley of high brush, horseflies and mosquitoes.  Great motivation to keep moving!  Another exhausting finish on a hot day with refreshments and another rider sent off properly!

Ride of Dead Things group

Ride of Dead Things group

New tracks...literally!

New tracks…literally!

Tomb Raiders

Tomb Raiders


A new lake!

The exploration bug got us again as we set off for a new lake identified from satellite images.  Dubbed Karatyu Lake on the maps of the area we took off from Zhax Fall with The Man himself!  A quick stop to summit Mt Fuji, check out an old Caspian shoreline, name Fatbike Gully and finally the lake.  A quick ride back to Zen Pond and a new area had been opened for further exploration west of town.

Summit of Mt Fuji

Summit of Mt Fuji

Fat bike Gully

Fat Bike Gully

Karatyu Lake

Karatyu Lake

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