Call of the Wild. Near perfect conditions brought the numbers up this weekend with several multi level groups varying the distance and pace. The livestock showed up in numbers too with the largest herd of Camels we have seen all season queueing for space at 'Horse Bath' as the normal residents....err 'Horses' took their own sweet time. But no one seeming to mind the occasional group of Hi-Vis, Hi-Tech Mamils joining the party.
Saturday saw a quick A+ group away at 0700 covering around 80k's. Apparently so fast all the pics came out blurred!? The scheduled 0800 group left with 7 A/B riders for a magical route through Old Fish Farm track to Mt Fuji and the sandy track to Jaques Fall. Honoured by a personal appearance from the great man himself recounting tales of his historic nemesis ride. Then returning to Levee J and the ZK Recovery bar with stories of Ancient Dung Mounds, seasonal flood plains and..... actinic degradation! (Ed..you had to be there, its educational!) 53km 3hr 20, 26 degC.
Sunday took 6 brave 'B' souls out to Mt Atyrau via Rocky Road, on to Dog-Gone Ally and X-country to Jaques Fall again with the familiar HB return, meeting an enthusiastic family/junior ride. (I'm sure there was a Fat Bike involved and they seemed to be going rather fast! Sorry, no pics...too busy keeping up with Brendan!) Then onto the Desert highway loop to finish. At the ZK recovery lounge we discovered two gentle test riders ('C' souls?) welcome back Eric, and the Family group joined later. -Who says we don't do social's...? 63km 3hr 50 31degC.
Call of the Cold? With reports of super high temperatures in recent weeks it is truly amazing that those remaining in Atyrau over the summer chose to tackle some impressive distances recently. Early starts, double century weekends and brave deeds abound in the war stories from the regular riders.....For us normal mortals, normality returned (along with your trusty reporter!) this weekend with some excellent somewhat cooler weather, nice breeze and great numbers. Saturday saw an early 0700 group head out to Banana land again in exploration mode with over 80 k logged. the 0800 regular start took 7 riders on a wide loop of Wetlands, without actually entering it (but still finding mud) and a steady paced 60km was quite enough after 2 months away :-) A more gentile group of 4 departed 0815 for the pleasant pastures of Horse Bath. Sunday was even better, even less 'breeze' and a conventional route for a change with 5 riders taking on the extended MattVanrefineryBhanloop...or whatever its called. 65k including an epic and superbly controlled 'off' by "Shane the FruitBat" who managed to roll and remain inverted with his bike attached.. oh what fun! thankfully with no damage. Call of the Cold? yep we are starting to think of the autumn and Centurion weekend with rapid cooling thereafter ...or was it the call of the Cool cleansing Ales after the weekends exertion... you decide....and don't forget morning rides Tues/Thurs 0600 sharp, Dostyk Main Entrance.
Dry ! Warm ! Light Winds and a scheduled fire drill?... Better go cycling then! What promised to be one of the best weather weekends of the season did not disappoint. The tracks have dried nicely although still rough in places courtesy of Lada-Bigfoot and King Kamazzilla. Saturdays ride took 9 to the North via Levi-RockyRoad and DogGonAlly routing back via HB and finishing via the regular night loop to fish farm.... 63km Lt WNWly 25 dec C Sundays Ride took 7 along the extended MatVanRefineryGuntherBhan...whatever its called! With excitement at the Eco bridge which was a little 'damp' but crossed in epic style by (2?) the rest sensibly went round to avoid catching anything nasty. 68Km Lt WSW 27 deg C. Great to see many other groups out riding the various routes on both days. More pics tomorrow when the camera gremlins have been vanquished.
The Mud Gods have had some fun in recent weeks resulting in a temporary transformation to a Road cycling club! All group rides for the last 10 days have been limited to the Damba/Peshnoy return 60km+ trip but with many out for the holidays numbers have been low. Today however 8 riders made the trip and even showed signs of some 'roadie' group ride drafting practice which was fun, but not exactly easy surviving King Kamaz and Lada-Man's best attempts to end it all on several occasions. Weather remains windy and wet for the next few days but as the holiday breaks come to an end and the steppe dries we have high hopes for next week when we will restart the morning and evening rides as soon as it is safe to do so. 63km 19 deg X-wind WSW 20kts..
The weather has not been very co-operative in the past few days so today's ride again on the road. Lots of traffic going in/out of the city but we managed to survive. OSRB return in about 2,5hrs (classic headwind on the way back) and just 2 riders.
A determined group of 7 set out from the satelite dish at Old River Club at 7:00 in order to do an big exploratory ride for the 2015 Centurion. The track featured 60 km’s of unchartered terrain, so it was far from certain that this would all be feasible today. The intention was to unlock the nort-east “sector” of Atyrau between the A27 running east towards Bolashak and the highway running north on the east side of the Ural river.
Brenden had done a fantastic job in scouting over Google earth and plotting a new route that we could simply navigate by.
With Brenden his good Karma, no wind -must have been the one day without- and fair temperatures (for Atyrau summer that is) things worked out perfectly. Mud detectors were not calibrated, yet we did now and then need to calibrate our brain into better Garmin map reading. In all a plotted route that was fair and easily found.
It proved to become a long ride: Despite bringing lots and lots of drinking each and despite our cunning plan to refuel at around 70-75 km, we all ran very low and dry on our water and barely made it to a small shop at Bisekty village. The Garmins did record 40+ Celcius towards Cliff’s lake, so perhaps a little hotter than predicted and anticipated.
Then a fair bit of near cramping up emerged which lead us to pause at a cemetery so we could catch some shade and refuel. Then, as we were rolling back on the Ural river bank towards Atyrau, Nic ran a flat. Luckily that proved a great excuse to exercise the YOLO effect (ask your kids) and go swimming and cooling down in the river, which Casper and Brenden gladly did and later Nic as well.
In All a BIG eventful ride on a track that proved to have lots of riding potential for longer 50km+ rides.
Brenden has kindly dubbed the track going north of the A27 upto Cliffs lake the “Banana Peel Passage”.
So with this, below a sneak peak of what the 2015 Centurion route will roughly look like. It will be tuned a bit to better match Centurion distance, as we perhaps went a little too far over. A separate announcement on 2015 Centurion can be expected shortly.
Six riders set out. Strong wind from the north, so north we went.
Beyond the last main car bridge in the north of town onto a gorgeous track along the river on the east bank. On the way back a lovely tailwind, so as speedy gonzales-es on some tacky technical terrains we spurted back to town.
We didn’t quite go as far as Cliff’s Lake, as Saturday saw a pretty hard 70 km of which around 40km’s were ridden into a very serious headwind. So 60 km was gauged to be ‘enough’ and allowed to get back in time for a decent coffee.
It is with pleasure and pride that we bring to you a logo created for AtyrauOutdoors under the OOPS! initiative (Open Outdoors People Spirits!).
The logo intends to be recognizable both in small and large size.
It has distinct features of Atyrau embedded that we witness during most of our rides around Atyrau, Western Kazakhstan.
bringing a sense of endlessness of the sandy steppe,
the Ural river near Atyrau flowing into the Caspian sea,
the typical steppe camel,
obviously Pete’s villa (where they bl**dy still don’t serve coffee),
the biker in eternal search of an unobstructed view on the open Caspian,
the usually present sun,
and of course the Kazakh colours encompassing this all.
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
[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….
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.
[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…
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 at07:15 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.
[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]
This weekend brought us glorious weather (Saturday was sunny and warm, Sunday was windy, sunny and warm) and a lot of enthusiastic Bikers.?
On Saturday we had some 17 riders split in 2 groups.?
Jon led six riders …
All, due to the looooooong weekend (Astana day 6th being a Saturday, which means the day off will shift to Monday 8th as per RoK rules), we will have a ride on Monday 8th July (as well)
Time: 0800 start
location: Dostyk main gate
who: anybody – we will split according to capability/eagerness/level as usual…. 😀
A great turnout this morning with 8 riders, 2 of whom first timers on bikes on the ice.
With milder temperatures and less wind than forecasted, the decision was to ride southbound around the island counter clockwise.
The ice looked mirror-like flat, however on the way out certainly proved a bit deceptive: The ice sheet wasn’t very …
4 folk turned up this Saturday morning for a sweet river ride.
The ice has not quite matured into the 40 or so cm. thick layer we had last year; rather it looked solid, but a bit thin here and there with patches of wateron occasion on the ice, probably, because of the sun.
It was only …
Cycling safety tips and notes
Beside being a low impact sport with great cardiovascular benefits, cycling is also an excellent way to explore the environment and see Atyrau from a different perspective and breathe some fresh air. Lots of people bring cameras and you will notice from the many articles that there are lots of nice spots, …