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Stage 260 – The Middle of Nowhere to Erdene

There are only three more stages in Mongolia after this one so it’s best to enjoy and endure another barnstorming challenge while it’s there. The pain on this stage is reserved almost exclusively for the end. So severe is the scale of the ascent that the railway line, your companion for much of the last twenty or thirty stages, bottles out with about seven miles to go and takes the long way round the hill. You won’t see that again, metaphorically speaking, until stage 261.

The rollout is uphill for half a mile before a descent drops the road back down below the starting elevation by two miles. Then it’s back up to regain the lost footage by three miles before the route plunges down two hundred feet by eight miles.

That kicks off the first proper climb, but it’s not the worst one of the stage. This one is six miles long, starting at the eight mile mark, and it rises two hundred and fifty feet to almost three and a half thousand. The summit, at thirteen miles, is the highest elevation of the stage, a mere one foot higher than the finish.

From thirteen miles, there’s a lumpy descent down to twenty one miles, with a small hiccup thrown in at eighteen miles to slow your progress. Then the main event kicks in. From the lowest elevation of the stage at twenty one miles to within a foot of the highest at twenty four miles presents a major challenge. The climb is long and it’s steep. Your legs will be screaming by the end of this one, that’s for sure, and by the way, the stage finishes, for the third time, in the middle of nowhere.

Distance: 24 miles / 38 kilometres

Ascent: 682 feet / 208 metres

RGT Magic Road: IB9jr66ycGQb

Total distance: 24 mi
Max elevation: 3427 ft
Min elevation: 3140 ft
Total climbing: 683 ft
Total descent: -594 ft

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