Mongol Derby Day 8: Yes She Khan, and Yes She Did!

Prac’s Jocelyn Pierce got sent on the writing assignment of a lifetime and it appears she has survived to tell the tale.

“Riding hard for the finish line just now are MT JP ARCHIBELL (Michael Turner, Jocelyn Pierce, Ed & Jack Archibald, Henry Bell), six riders who have exemplified the camaraderie and joy of this event, done well. They have had dramas but seem to have shrugged them off and just kept trucking. EA girth may still be a cable tie, I lost track … JP the only lady in their bunch, can’t wait to talk to her on the finish and find out how that went. Can she now pee off the side of a horse cos they wouldn’t ever stop for her? Mind boggles.” — Early morning tweet from Derby HQ

As advertised, at 8 a.m. on the nose Jocelyn and her boy toys crossed the 2018 Mongol Derby finish line to a hero’s welcome. Lukewarm beers, ice-cold showers and heartfelt hugs for all. To be followed by a refreshing dip in the lake…

Finish camp funtimes. Photo courtesy of the Mongol Derby.
Photo courtesy of the Mongol Derby.

After 1,000 kilometers in the saddle, finish camp is nothing short of nirvana. And the storytelling, of course, is unbelievable. Except that, because it’s the Mongol Derby, you know that every last ounce of the crazy talk is true.

It is true that Jocelyn’s GPS dot seemed to be one of the less drama-fraught of the race, but no doubt she has a cover story, if not a novel’s worth of perilous anecdotes to share and we can’t wait to read it. Coming soon to a Practical Horseman near you! It’ll be a no-miss issue, so you’re not already subscribed best get out in front of that now.

Jocelyn Pierce, Kathy Gabriel, Kelsey Riley and Hinke Van der Werf. Photo courtesy of the Mongol Derby.

Today’s finishers also included Valeria Ariza of Uruguay, who was first over the line this morning at 7:45 am., beating Jocelyn and the band of bros by a scant 15 minutes.

The Archibells in all their polo-helmeted glory. Photo courtesy of the Mongol Derby.
What is he going on about? No telling. Men *sigh*. John Moore, Ed Archibald and Jocelyn Pierce. Photo courtesy of the Mongol Derby.

John Moore, the Irishman who confounded us all by navigating the entire course with neither GPS nor compass (to be fair, he started with a compass but had lost it by day 3), was next in around lunchtime. John had arranged for a taxi to meet him at finish camp to hustle him to the airport, and of all possible disasters we now found ourselves on pins and needles about whether he’d make his cab. HQ reports, “He arrived at 12:15, giving him a clear hour or so to drink a beer, contemplate his feat of endurance and no doubt be congratulated on his superlative navigation-by-moon-and-stars ride.” Phew!

On behalf of all of us who have a hard enough time finding our car keys, much less a dot on a map in the middle of nowhere 1,000 kilometers away: well-played, sir. Photo courtesy of the Mongol Derby.

A handful more trickled in throughout the day, including several Americans: Christine Roberts, Kelsey Riley, William Gunning, our honeymooners Joel Scholz and Nicolette Merle-Smith, and Michael Gascon. There was a rumor going around earlier in the race that Joel and Nicolette aimed to get hitched on the finish line; no word as to whether that happened, but surely their perennial third-wheel Michael Gascon earned himself an invite to the Stateside wedding if not best man status.

Trudi Thomas-Morton and Kelsey Opstad near the finish line. Photo courtesy of the Mongol Derby.

“For everyone else,” HQ reports, “the race continues but it’s a different and slightly more desperate affair now as riders try their best to make the cutoff, gain an official placing and the all important satisfaction of knowing they completed the longest and toughest horse race in the world. For HQ, the calculators are out and we are just as furiously calculating penalties not served and finishing times for the pedants *ahem* keen followers.”

HQ noted some back-of-the-field dramz — debilitating illness, homicidal horses, usual Derby fare. Business up front, party in the back, as they say. Here’s wishing all riders still at large a safe and swift homestretch.

I’ll remain here at the update steering wheel until Jocelyn is happily reconnected to her Holiday Inn wifi back in Ulaanbaatar, so stay tuned!

Jocelyn Pierce, Kathy Gabriel, Angus Lowe, Charlotte Howard and Devan Horne at the finish. Photo courtesy of the Mongol Derby.

The leaderboard:

Aug. 17, 2018

1:30 p.m. – Adrian Corboy (AUS) & Annabel Neasham (UK), 1st-tie

3:35 p.m. – Devan Horn (USA), 3rd

3:56 p.m. – Eliza Allen (AUS), 4th

5:07 p.m. – Charlotte Howard (NZL) & Angus Lowe (SA), 5th-th

7:57 p.m. – Hinke van der Werf (NED), 7th

Aug. 18, 2018

7:45 a.m.– Valeria Ariza (URU), 8th

8 a.m. – Rob, Ed & Jack Archibald (AUS), Henry Bell (AUS), Michael Turner (USA/BG), Jocelyn Pierce (USA), 9th-tie

12:15 p.m. – John Moore (IRE), 15th

12:45 p.m. – Christine Roberts (USA), Eion Kemp (NZ), Kelsey Riley (USA)

? – Joel Scholz (USA), Nicolette Merle-Smith (USA), Michael Gascon (USA), Karrin O’Loughlin (AUS), William Gunning (USA), Kelsey Opstad (CAN), Trudi Thomas-Morton (UK)

Still out there somewhere

Urtuu 27 – Charmaine O’Niel (IRE), Saif Noon (PAK), Matthew Graham (USA), Gemma Ractliffe (UK), Jeanette Lazarro (USA), Manuel Mendez (POR), Carol Federighi (USA)

Urtuu 26 – Tamara Becksted (CAN), Dori Hertel (USA), Pamela Karner (USA)

Retired: Cele Stone (AUS), Heather ‘Flash’ Accardo (USA), Kathy Gabriel (AUS), Madison Smith (USA), Samantha Anderson (RZA), Rodney Herman (AUS), Chase and Mike Becker (AUS), Rouke Bloemsma (NED)


Missed out on the earlier stories? Get caught up!

Practical Horseman Associate Editor Jocelyn Pierce is competing in the Mongol Derby, a 600-mile expedition considered the longest and toughest horse race in the world, Aug. 8-27. Here’s how to follow the action, sponsored by Mane ‘n Tail and SmartPak:

• Visit Practical Horseman for daily race recaps and Jocelyn updates from 2017 Derby finisher Leslie Wylie
• Follow Jocelyn’s progress live via her GPS tracker, read official reports via the Derby website, and follow @mongolderbylive on Twitter
• Tune in for Derby Dot Watch Party podcasts presented by Horse Radio Network in partnership with Practical Horseman, broadcast live nightly at 8 p.m. EST 

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