Thursday, 30 March 2017

Around the World: Segment 5: The Road to Astana (Part 2)

There are 400 days left before the run Around The World resumes with the fifth of eight segments due to start in May 2018. Work has continued this week on getting the route established for the 2,900 mile segment from Belgrade, Serbia through Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. I've nicknamed this segment "The Road to Astana". This blog post talks about the second section from Kiev to Samara which is approximately 970 miles.

There will more than likely be two days of rest taken in or around Kiev and Donna, my wife, may fly in with some fresh supplies and possibly some new wheels for the buggy. I've yet to inform her of this task so you, the reader, are hearing about it first.

I'll be heading in a north easterly direction out of Kiev and I was surprised when I found this amount of green not too far from the city centre.

I'll pass through the city of Brovery which is known as the shoe making capital of Ukraine and is also home to the national mint.

It's 220 miles from Kiev to the border with Russia. That's a nice round 1000 miles in total from the start in Belgrade to the border crossing into the Russian Federation at Bachivs'k. The image below is as far as Google Street View goes. We will be taking the usual advice from the relevant authorities well in advance. This is one of Donna's tasks and the help and guidance that we've received in the past has always served us well. In fact, it was the difference between getting into Serbia or not from Croatia during the run across Europe.

It will take a further 760 miles to reach Samara in Russia via Lipetsk, Penza and Kuznetsk. Some of the roads that I've seen on Google Street View look in poor condition. This is bound to take its toll on the Around The World Buggy and add another challenge to an already growing list.

I've seen a few images on Google Street View like the one below. If that's fruit for sale then I'm sure I'll be taking the chance to buy some. It will make a nice change from the freeze dried food that I expect to be eating for the vast majority of the 100 or so days that it will take to reach Astana.

The approach to Samara via what looks to be a busy main road looks tricky. I think, by then, I'll be used to such roads and may look to run that stretch at night or at first light.

I think there will be another couple of rest days taken in Samara. It remains to be seen whether Donna or any other support team person can make it to Samara with supplies and spare wheels. That level of detail will come out during the planning excercise that is going to take the rest of 2017 to complete.

I'll be looking out for the monument shown below in Samara. I think it's a must to get a picture of the Around The World Buggy with the R-7 Rocket known as “Semyorka" in the background.

So that's the first 1750 miles covered in 2 short blog posts. The final blog post next week will detail the final 1100 miles from Samara to Astana. 

Meanwhile, it's safe to say that, more than ever, I'm in awe of this section of the run Around The World. I constantly wonder what it will be like to have to fend for myself without a support team. The lack of a support team brings huge advantages to me personally as well as huge challenges too.

The construction of the Around the World Buggy is currently underway. Once I start to train with it in the UK in a few months time, I think a lot of my questions and worries will be answered. If the first 9000 miles were difficult then things are, without doubt, about to get even more difficult. Many physical, mental and logistical boundaries are going to be pushed. If you want to raise the big money for charity though, as I do, then these are the lengths I am happily prepared to go to.