Written by Prometheus Medic Deb Swann
Yesterday started pleasantly with breakfast and tea provided by the herders we were staying with. It was a typical Mongolian breakfast of mutton soup, bread and ‘butter’. We slowly made our way along the race line to stay in close proximity to the lead riders to ensure they had medical cover.
We have travelled through such varied landscapes; from sand dunes to vast expanses of grassland. From Alpine vistas to rocky outcrops. The weather has changed along with the scenery. We have sunbathed in 30 degree sun and within minutes the wind brings a vicious storm.
We were instructed by HQ to make our way to the ﬁnish camp. The winning riders had crossed the line and the crew were concerned about the physical effects of the last seven days of endurance riding. The winner is a young woman from the UK. She has made Derby history by being the ﬁrst woman to win and the youngest rider to pass the ﬁnish line in ﬁrst place. Well done!
We will be busy at the ﬁnish camp in terms of medical consultations and treatments. As the riders come through, having pushed themselves mentally and physically, they can now get treatment from us without incurring a penalty. We have seen a few riders with back and pelvic pain, various joint aches and sprains, plus saddle sores and horrendous insect bites.
James is at the back of the race looking after the riders who still have a couple of days ride left. He is valiantly pushing on providing primary care advice and treatments. The ﬁnish camp is in stark contrast to the last seven days of staying in gers, tents, and washing with wet wipes. We’ve had showers and have access to ‘luxury’ sit-down lavatories. It’s amazing how having a shower can make one feel human again.
Today, Medic 1 has helped build a ﬁnish line for the riders coming in third, fourth and ﬁfth places. Yesterday, the ﬁnish line was put up quickly as the ﬁrst two riders had completed the course in record time.
Chris took on the ‘Action Doc’ role again and hammered in posts, put up ﬂags and rode around the ﬁnish line on someone’s motorbike. However, this was done with his top on this time as the weather was a little cold.
The next two female riders crossed the line together in joint third place, Thelma and Louise style, and were given celebratory airag (fermented mare’s milk). Yum.
As the emotion, physical endurance and mental strain of the last eight days started to sink in, one of the riders suddenly felt unwell. We moved her to one of the gers and treated her for dehydration with an intra venous infusion. She was exhausted and had back and stomach pain. She started to feel better after the infusion and we gave her pain killers and advised her to continue drinking water and rest.
We have now left the ﬁnish camp and come back out onto the Steppe so we can cover the race and James can head to the camp to ‘humanise’ himself. Once the riders have passed a certain point, we will go back to the camp and cover the ﬁnal leg of the race from there. We won’t be off duty until every rider is through the ﬁnish line. We anticipate this should be by tomorrow evening, ﬁngers crossed.
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