Sep 08 2014

Final 2014 Centurion Announcement

[important]Final 2014 Centurion announcement![/important]

Welcome to the final announcement of the fifth edition of the Annual Atyrau Centurion Ride !

The highlight of the AtyrauOutdoors biking season will take place on Saturday September 20th . Hopefully you’ve started picking up the riding since the previous announcement of the dates as we’re up in two weeks!

2013 Centurion finishers posing at Dostyk

2013 Centurion finishers posing at Dostyk


[warning]The Centurion will be postponed with one week to Saturday September 27th in case of unfavourable (wet) weather.[/warning]

If you joined recently, haven’t gotten more intimate with the Centurion ride or simply haven’t trained yet this year, here are the principles:


[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”30%”]”What’s this Centurion business?”[/pullquote]

Participation to the Centurion requires that you regularly ride with the A-riders group. Although the Centurion should (and will) be a significant physical and mental challenge, every participant should be able to do this distance in a comfortable and healthy way. Considering the Atyrau B*&%$ch WindFactor (=strong winds) and potential for sandy surfaces, a 100 km ride is very demanding and we don’t want to push anybody over his / her limits.

We’re not trying to put people off, but it is un-fair if the whole group has to wait for one un-prepared rider. If there are people who want to do the route a bit slower, they can do what they want, but they should get in touch with each-other. We will not be making any arrangements for them….

Rider Prep

We want to cycle as a group for social and logistics reasons. It just makes a hell of a difference if you as a potential participant have ridden at least a few rides of 65/75 km. That will roughly allow you to  make the ultimate jump to 100 km; it will usually be the last 30 km’s or so that prove to be most demanding.

Bike Prep

[pullquote align=”left” textalign=”left” width=”30%”]Be good to yourself and social to your fellow riders and prep well and serious[/pullquote]

You do yourself and your fellow riders a big favour here if your prep your bike well and take enough spares.
So start the Centurion with a clean bike that you have lubed and inspected thoroughly, make sure your tyres and tubes are in good and predictable shape.
Also one spare tube is not enough, this just gets you home. Take 2, or better still 3 with you. Consider strong tie-wraps for ripped tyres or better still, even bring a spare, as well as a spare mech hanger. (yes it has happened, they do break in Atyrau)

Bring plenty of energy and drinks. one doesn’t get around on one bidon, take around 4-5 litres -one for every hour- if you can. Bananas, nuts dried fruits, well just bring lots of it !

In the Bag

Don’t forget to bring a cell phone, some cash, and an ID, in case you get stopped by police.


The planned number of stops during the Centurion Ride will be limited to 3 and the duration of every stop will be around 10 minutes. We aim to do the Centurion in 5.5 upto 6 hours. Although we all love biking, we want to avoid it becomes a whole day event. Too many and too long stops extend the duration of the Centurion Ride significantly…

Early exits

A very early exit point exists at Levee junction and gets one back to town with around 40 km’s in the legs.

Another early exit point exists at Atyrau Mountain and gets one back to town with around 65 km’s in the legs. This point is also the point of no return. You decide to continue here means you WILL make it!


We will try to maintain an average speed of 22 km/hours. To achieve this average we have to target a steady pace of 24 km/hours. On the other hand, we will not have  “peaks” up to 30 and (much) more. Referring to the previous paragraph, we want to avoid some people waiting for 20 minutes every 10 km while others are struggling to catch up…


The Centurion route has been set out and tested. Some brand new tested tracks unlocking Almaly offroad are combined with some existing tracks. The full route has been tested.

The route can be downloaded here and can be uploaded to a GPS as a course.

  • Instructions for Garmin owners: Copy these files to the “newFiles” directory on the device. After startup of the Garmin device, goto <Menu> , <course> or <location> and select 2014 Centurion. This will get the course and waypoints automagically created.

The Starting point will be in front of Old RiverClub on the boulevard at the big satellite dish (near the pedestrian bridge over the Ural).

We start riding at 07:30. So this is NOT 8 o’clock starting time as otherwise normal during this time of the year!

Please arrive at 07:15 as we will take some group pictures while we’re still fresh.

The Finish point will be at Dostyk village, where refreshments and a BBQ will be waiting, including the possibility of a swimming pool dip. Finish time estimated around 13:00.

Summary description of the route (See map section below for full details):

Start RiverClub Sat dish
Via boulevard, Balikshi to Pete’s villa
Pause at Pete’s Villa (22km)
To Levee Junction (very early exit point)
To Horse Bath
To the Mines
Via Mines highway to Atyrau Mountain
Pause at Atyrau Mountain (52km) (early exit point and point of no return)
Via Pelican pond follow brand new “northern dog trail” to A27 crossing
Via Almaly village (possibility to resupply in small shops) to Almaly lake
Pause at Almaly lake (74km)
Via “wheeping willow loop”
Via Ural river
Back to town along canal
Finish at TCO Dostyk village (102km)
BBQ, drinks and swimming

So as you can see the route does not come past Atyrau half way; we stay away from town the whole route.


Supporters are welcome for those who make it back alive: Family members and friends of riders are welcome to join at Dostyk to hear us brag about this remarkable milestone and smell our suffering and to join in with a BBQ! Young supporters are most welcome as well, and if brave enough, can opt to go for a swim.

We will share the costs of the BBQ and this is estimated at around 3000-4000 KZT per adult and half that for children. Costs to be settled in Cash with Jeroen. When participant numbers are know, we will know the exact costs per person.

Jeroen Brantjes (cloggies[at] acts as focal point for our Dostyk arrival.


[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”30%”]”Man… Why did I try this… Had I only known!”[/pullquote]

AtyrauOutdoors is not associated with any professional, overarching riding organisation. Not in the Republic of Kazakhstan, not anywhere else. It simply consists of a bunch of very enthousiastic and posibly fanatic riders.

This means if you join us for the Centurion, you are in it on your own account. Don’t fingerpoint if you don’t make it, break your bike, have to take off work for recovery, can’t breastfeed because of dehydration, or whatever else you may not like.

And hence this very extensive description!

Now don’t despair. We will give each other a little supportive nudge when someone is falling to shambles!


So you made it to here. Still interested?

[important]Then register with us. This is mandatory and required for logistical purposes.

Register for riding and who (including family names please) and how many people will join at Dostyk afterwards and who will indulge in the BBQ.[/important]


And as always:

 Ride with the winds, not against them !


Your cohort scouts,

Jeroen Brantjes, Casper Blom, Aarnoud Hoekstra


Centurion Summary

Date: Saturday 20st September 2014
Start time: 07:30
Startlocation: Satelite Dish, Old RiverClub
Finishtime: 13:00 (estimate)
Finish location: Dostyk village, main gate



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Aug 24 2014

A little Strava training competition?!

This is for the numbercrunchers among the AtyrauOutdoors community and those who are not too afraid of technology.

A little Strava club called AtyrauOutdoors has been started.

If you are the kind of person who records his/her rides with a Garmin or comparable smartphone device, you can quite easily automagically upload this information to Strava. If you then join this Atyrauoutdoors “club” on Strava, your ride statistics will feature on the clubs so-called leaderboard.

So who dares?

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Aug 24 2014

R-group ride

A great addition to a 30km  ride to the steppe this last Saturday 16-Aug were 4 University students visiting their parents here in Atyrau. The students are from England, Holland, Alaska and Oregon. Playing tourist, we rode our bikes up to the Islamic Cemetery, and then had the good fortune of running right into a herd of camels. Great memories, in spite of the 38 C heat!


Canal view Chasing Camels? Happy people Wobbly camel

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Aug 18 2014

2014 Centurion announcement

[warning]Note that the Centurion dates have shifted backward by one week, to ensure availability of Dostyk swimming pool and BBQ facilities[/warning]


It is that time of the year again: it is hot in Atyrau, people are returning from leave and want to get going on their bikes to see and enjoy the steppe before we hit the winter. And you maybe simply want to loose weight, or even more simpler, you may just want to ride because you have not done so in a long time. And then there are newcomers in Atyrau that want to explore it’s surroundings.

What better than to set up that big milestone that you can prepare for in order to meet any of the above?

2014 Centurion dates

Saturday 20 September 2014 : primary date

Saturday 27 September 2014 : fall-back date in case of unfavourable weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances preventing riding at primary date.

Start/Finish location

It is the intention to follow the same successful recipe of last years Centurion to start off at the Satellite dish at RiverClub and to finish at Dostyk swimming pool with some nice BBQ catering.


Depending on weather, punctures and other varying conditions, Centurions typically last between 5 and 7 lapse hours.

In order to target for this, we will attempt to ride at around 22-25 km/hour so that we can do the centurion roughly at an average of 20 km/hour.

This also means we will leave early at 07:00, as otherwise temperatures may still get so high that they wear us unnecessarily out.


The full route is not established yet, as an attempt is under way to establish a new, interesting and reliable route. This will take a bit more exploration.

We plan to include one or two bail out points in the route as well and also intend to plan to pass a small store somewhere for refreshments.

Details of a (GPS trackable) route and start- and finish times will be subject of another announcement in the following weeks.

Final announcement

This later announcement will also prompt potential participants and supporters who wish to join in at the finish for a compulsary response for logistical purposes. No registration will mean no access to Dostyk facilities.

So do treat this as a heads up so you can jot down the dates in your diaries and start training!

Training guidance

As the experienced Centurion riders will confirm, an off-road 100km ride in the Kazakh steppe is not easy, however trained your are.

There for, train regular, train serious and make sure you include at least a few longer rides of 50+ km’s and one or more rides of 70 or so km’s. It is no luxury to have these in the legs as preparation.


From your cohort scout, Casper

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Aug 16 2014

Exploration ride north of Atyrau

A planned exploration ride for this morning so that there may be a new route for our forthcoming Centurion ride. It promised to be a hot day, with significantly higher humidity than normal and a very moderate wind.
Paolo, Brenden, Sicco, Brian, Jeff, Nic, Aarnoud, Casper started off at Riverclub Sattelite dish and headed north of Atyrau to find an off-road track to lead to Almaly. This exploration was fairly straightforward and successful. It was especially nice to occasionaly ride on the Ural riverside where fences of houses and business didn’t prevent access to the river. Our ‘reward’ was entering the oxbow at Almaly that has the weeping and yes semi-dead willow-like trees; a distinct different feel from the steppe.

The second exploration aspect was a bit more daunting, as it consisted of a bigger area of “uncharted” bike terrain and as the temperatures were rapidly rising towards 40C. We headed west from Almaly to cut across the main road and “connect” on to ‘Atyrau mountain’ (the big road bridge on the main road towards Astrakhan going over a railway) and the existing and well established bike tracks over there. Temperatures continued to rise and the track became much softer and less clear. Yet in the distance there it was quite clearly:  Mount Atyrau.

Despite all bringing lots of water, we were starting to run low. And with the deteriorating riding conditions of very soft sand track and very hot temps we decided to stop exploring. So we headed back for the main road and returned.

Casper’s Garmin showed the heat getting the better of him and a tomato-red face clearly unvealed that too. Time to head home! On the way back we managed to stay off the tarmac and had a quick stop at a large waste treatment plant, where the guards very generously offered to replenish our water.


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