It had taken a week of cycling from Beijing to reach the Mongolian border in the Gobi desert. A week in which all of our attempts to find rideable original Great Wall and hidden routes through China’s mountains had failed. We were eager to do a little more ‘exploring’ in the land of Ghengis Khan. We arrived on the edge of the Khangai mountains, in the provincial town of Tseterleg, a scatter of communist era building and fenced gers. A day of route planning and food poisoning later we set off into the mountains on an ambitious route crossing the range in 10 days. The first half followed faint outlines of paths we had scouted on google earth and that seemed to match old soviet maps we had got on our phones.
We made our way up the valley, passing from one ger to the next. As the kilometres ticked by the track we were following slowly faded away, until, when we reached the final ger, the track completely disappeared. A look at our map confirmed that there was path over the mountains, so we continued onwards, pushing and carrying our bikes up the mountains in the hope of discovering this elusive singletrack.
After just two days of wonderful riding we reached our point of commitment. A fast flowing river divided us between our desired route, we either had to cross it and continue on our path, or take an alternative (but easier) route. We set about taking our bags off the bikes and stumbled our way across the river, much to the bemusement and shouts of local families on the river bank.