1,200 KM WALK AND BIKE RIDE
‘Where are you going this time? To Kirr…stan? Isn't that country dangerous?'
It's amazing how the unknown can scare people, especially when it ends in ‘stan'. It's also incredible how the same unknown represents the opposite to me: I'm attracted to it.
AN AMAZING COUNTRY
For those who love the mountains – and I am one of them – Kyrgyzstan is a marvel.
The nomadic culture, which is strongly linked to the equestrian one, is very present. Logically, I should have explored this amazing country on horseback, but this time I wanted to couple travelling with another component: sport.
Sport helps you to refocus on yourself; it helps you to get to know you and your body better and to open to others.
My favourite sport is running as it allows me to both test myself and be close to nature. There's nothing quite like treading the land to hear, understand and feel its forms.
A CHALLENGE FOR TWO
Thus, I gave myself 40 days to travel around Kyrgyzstan by running.
But, in order to be able to achieve longer distances, I decided to add a daily dose of cycling. What was the solution to link up these two disciplines? I started alongside a teammate who was as much of a fan of walking and travelling as me. While one was pedalling, the otherwas running. Simple and effective!
From Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, to Issyk Kul lake, through the deserts and canyons of Suusamyr Valley, then to the alpine scenery of The Naryn National reserve.
We ran about 20km each day, and then pedalled 20km more on altitudes ranging from 1,600m to 3,500m. The temperatures varied from 40°C to 5°C. The moments of great physical shape took second place to those of tiredness. But always, our will helped us to recover, supported by the beauty of the landscapes, and those chance encounters which offered us a cottage, a smile or encouragement. We explored it all and I personally felt each one of them in detail.
But, I wanted to test my limits and what I could achieve. And this I did. At the last step, I collapsed crying in disbelief, "It's done! I did it!"
A big thank you to Marc, my sporting adventure companion. Your motivation was flawless. We can really be proud of what we achieved.
Thanks also to our fabulous sponsor, Damart Sport, who provided us the necessary equipment for this adventure. The Ocealis running T-shirts served their purpose well – we always felt comfortable, even when pushing ourselves to our limits.