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Stage 266 – Manitingxire to Barunyangsi

The third stage in China and the third uphill stage in a row. Just when you thought that leaving the high mountains of Mongolia behind would make the rest of the Asian leg a bit of a skoosh, along comes China saying “Hold my beer”.

Sure, there are short sharp sections of respite, notably at four miles, five miles, seven miles miles and eight miles, but make no mistake about it: this stage is an uphill slog for virtually its entire distance. The route begins at three thousand seven hundred feet and just keeps climbing, foot by foot. None of it is ever steep but it’s one of those stages that makes you think “How much longer can I keep this pace going?”

As it has been of late, the route runs alongside the Erguang highway, which itself sits piggy in the middle with the railway line of its other (eastern) side. And the route is almost straight, with only one or two minor deviations – I wouldn’t exactly call them bends – to distract your attention from the pain of keeping up the pace on the incline. There’s a junction on the railway at eight miles where the line branches off to Sonid Zuoqi, but in terms of geographical features, that’s it: the rest of the stage is rural and featureless. And straight and uphill in case that needs reinforcing.

Distance: 24 miles / 38 kilometres

Ascent: 348 feet / 106 metres

RGT Magic Road: I4vdmv4QsJAG

Total distance: 23.01 mi
Max elevation: 3871 ft
Min elevation: 3708 ft
Total climbing: 349 ft
Total descent: -196 ft

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