Day 11

The rally route to Lake Aya was going to be a long with stretches on gravel, so we decided to take a short cut. We are painfully slow on gravel because we have broken a torsion spring and wanted to avoid breaking something else like the axel.

We desperately needed to figure out how to get a replacement spring as we don’t have a spare with us. Many of the competitors sent spares through DHL, but most of those are stuck in customs. We need the piece before heading into Kazakhstan, where the roads will probably be rough again, so we can’t risk it with DHL.

The benefit of taking a direct route to our hotel in Lake Aya was that we arrived at 13:00. We have never arrived in a hotel so early since we started in Beijing and it was nice to have the afternoon for once.

The hotel was located in a resort that is a holiday destination for Russians. It was really interesting to see as it is the type of place you would probably never otherwise visit. It was full of Russians walking around in bikinis and Speedo’s, enjoying the hot weather.

We checked in, did some laundry and then got to work on figuring out how we would get the torsion spring. The best way would be for someone to fly in with it, but there wasn’t enough time to get a Russian visa. One of the competitors heard of our issue and said he has a Russian friend based in Switzerland. He gave her a call and she agreed to fly out in a few days and bring the part to Novosibirsk!

This evening we also saw photos of the Alfa which a competitor accidentally drove into a river in Mongolia. It is being worked on and will hopefully rejoin us in a few days too.