Some good winds between Christmas and New Year here in SEQ. Decided to dust the cobwebs off the buggy and get the bearings turning.
Running Sysmic 2 Buggy with Midi XL tyres.
Kite- Ozone Edge V8 with 24m lines.
Location - Skirmish Point Bribie Island (Beach)
Today, Extreme Kites releases a World Kite Records section that allows us to look at the past whilst stepping in to the future.
The new World Kiting Records section is fully uniform with drag & drop uploads for your GPS images and optional GPS data. It's fully searchable with a set of filters allowing you to really drill down in to the information that has set each record. You can filter to find out whom the fastest pilots in your country are, perhaps you want to know what the top speed set on a GT-Race buggy is? Even better, what about finding out the top speed set on Discs with a Peter Lynn Vapor? All of this and more is either possible today, or within the next month as more information gets added to the database.
Previously we've all been limited to records being maintained in Wiki's, Forum Threads and Personal Blogs. The one thing that all of these inherited was that they are all up to an individual to maintain whether it was here in our Community or elsewhere. Instead we've built a system so that there's a whole team from today and forever in to the future maintaining a database of peoples' personal achievements.
This is just the beginning, last year we went through a whole site redevelopment explaining after years we had to finally take two steps back to be able to move forwards and bring you the type of online experience we wanted. We did this by launching the new website, then following on with sections like Blogs, Reviews etc. The Kite Buggy Speed section is just the first, over the coming weeks we'll include more sections along with other kiting disciplines like Landboarding, Kiteboarding, Kite Skates and Snowkiting. We aim over time, as a team to build the most comprehensive, searchable database of World Kiting Records available.
Day 48 (05 June 2015) Good run down the road in the morning, there's 3 levels of powerlines and a substation to pass, we weave our kites through the whole lot. another huge coal mine looms over the horizon and we get caught in its wind shadow, we walk to a highway service center and the staff cooks us dinner, Joe explains kite buggying with a demo in their car park, we stay at a crappy $20 hotel across the road. Distance traveled 66.5 km Total distance 3638
Day 47 (04 June 2015) Its a maze of powerlines and we keep getting stuck behind roads and railways, we travel down the roadside for a while using short lines to fit under the powerlines, I see a thunderstorm coming and shelter in a petrol station, Joe accidentally flies his kite kite through a hole in a large road sign 1km short of the petrol station, it starts raining heavily as he is trying to retrieve it, the lines are tangled around the sign and the kite is looping out of reach, there's lightning everywhere and Joe is holding up his alloy tent pole to retrieve the kite, this works and a very wet Joe joins me in the petrol station. There's no wind in the afternoon so we find a $5 hotel with internet and a western style toilet.
A Mongolian tiger beetle eating ants near our camp.
Inspired by +John Holgate's video about how to KAP, I have made myself a couple of webbing straps ready for when my kite, line, winder and GoPro rig arrive. One to act as a tether/anchor point and the other to pull the kite down to attach the GoPro rig...
Seat belt webbing left over from making my hotwire and two snap hooks (rated at 160kgs, $4.40 each from my local hardware store) -
All fired up and ready to go -
Two straps; the long one for pulling the kite down - can either be looped around my waist or a foot through the bottom loop so I can be hands free, the short is the tether/anchor point -
Snap hooks rated at 350lbs (160 kgs)
I'm thinking I could use a butterfly knot to secure the kite line to the snap-hook on the tether -
Day 46 (03 June 2015) We try some more off roading in the morning, the rolling green hills are nice but the fences keep pushing us back to the road, we pass another large mine and power station, this is a very industrial part of China. Distance traveled 74 km Total distance 3557 km
Day 45 (02 June 2015) The mobile company I am using has just disconnected my phone so we are flying blind with no maps. There is a nice wide road verge to follow today, we kite through another town, ducking and weaving through powerlines, signs and roundabouts. The road turns into one narrow lane and our kites are over powerlines and trees, we pass a police car like this and they aren't happy. They tell us our vehicles are illegal and have a truck backed up to take us away, we have traveled over 3000km with only wind power and we are keen to keep it that way. After lots of negotiating with a translator someone at their station tells us our "special vehicles" are allowed on the road, but only during the day. We walk 2 km and camp with some cows. Distance traveled 87 km Total distance 3483 km.
Day 44 (01 June 2015) No wind or light headwind all day, we try to creep our way up the road on large kites, we have only made it a few km when Joe's kite catches a freak gust, normally the buggy would slide and absorb the power but there's no give on seal and he gets pulled out, bounces off the fence, high into the air and comes down in a heap. There's no serious injuries and shortly after some policemen arrive and tell us this is very dangerous because a driver could fall asleep and hit us, he is right about it being dangerous and if he was 5 minutes earlier he would have seen why. We walk / limp a few more km and camp Distance traveled 12 km Total distance 3396km
Day 43 (31 May 2015) We order a taxi for 8am and leave at 6, its a gale outside and the dust coming from the coal mine makes it hard to see 100m, there's so much coal in the air the closing your mouth makes a crunch between your teeth. We leave town down road verge, we are on 1 meter kites with 1 meter lines and there's trucks looming out of the dust. By the outskirts of town we have both run over our kites and damaged them so we switch to 1.5m kites on 10m lines for the rest of the day, the wind doesn't let up all day and at one stage Joe hits 71kph down the road passing trucks, I dont think anyone has been this fast on a nasa wing kite before. We find a nice campsite in some rushes when the wind dies. Distance traveled 87km Total distance 3384km
Day 42 (30 May 2015) We find the old road in the morning but its criss crossed by fences with no gates so its back to the main road. The large city of Xlinhot soon looms over the horizon, it surrounded by huge coal mines and highways with no verge. We manage to kite half way around in an orchard and walk to a shop for supplies, our feet are starting so fall apart after so many days on the move and having to haul our buggy's around all these towns isn't helping, the shop owner offers to store our buggy's and take us to a hotel, good plan but soon some very suspicious policemen arrive and ask us lots of dumb questions, they take us to a different hotel, then another and tell us we cant leave. feels like we are in a spy movie. People around here aren't used to dealing with tourists, come to think of it we didn't meet anyone in Inner Mongolia who had ever met a foreigner, this corner of China isn't on the way to anywhere or known for any tourist attractions. Distance traveled 72km Total distance 3298km
sneaking under a moving coal conveyor
Day 41 (29 May 2015) 30km down the road to Xin-Hot in the morning, there is lots of people stopping to take photos and leaving their car on the road with the doors open, some close calls with trucks bearing down on them. 2km from town Joe is pulled over by a small angry policeman, he tries to take Joe away but joe is politely refusing, soon 2 larger policemen arrive and tell the first one to be nice to us, he gives us a police escort into town, buys us lunch and gives us a police escort 40km out of town, he is causing more problems than he is solving so we head down a dirt track to escape. we cant find a way forward so we head towards an old road on our map and camp. Distance traveled 81km Total distance 3226km
Day 40 (28 May 2015) We head east again, good to be going with the wind again, we soon run out out of desert and into green pastures and fences, we try leapfrogging fences for a while but on or beside the road is the only way forward. I drop my phone and spend an hour backtracking to find it We find the city of Mandalt in the afternoon, its surrounded by a maze of powerlines, it takes us hours to weave and walk our way around, we then pass an old brick works and a small town made entirely from bricks. By now its dark and still windy so we keep going through the night, there is trucks whizzing by every few minutes, we must be an odd sight in the dark. We have been thinking the first police we come across will put an end to our adventures and at midnight we meet our first police car, they ask us where we are from and hand us a bag of food, we camp at 2am. Distance traveled 232km, our longest day. Total distance 3145
The 4wd tracks in China have 3 ruts, perfect for buggys.
Day 39 (27 May 2015) We enjoy a good breakfast with Sukhbat and family then load our buggys on the roof of an old Russian jeep, walking or cycling over the border is not allowed so we have to drive 500m to the Chinese border. We unload our extensive pile of wheels, bags and buggys and feed them through the baggage scanner, there is lots of questions asked like where are you going, and what are these small cars for? Joe's Kiwi accent is even harder to understand than mine so I let him do the talking, we learn that "downwind" is not a suitable answer to where are you going. They make us wait at the side for an hour then surprisingly let us through, we wake our driver and head into The Chinese city of Erenhot, the old jeep looks out of place in this modern city and our driver is keen to unload us. We buy lots of fruit and start hauling our buggy's through town, we find the red light district, a rubbish dump, a highway, and eventually the Gobi desert, in the fading light we buggy 10km out of town and camp. Distance traveled 19km Total distance 2894
Day 38 (26 May 2015) Our old friend the 45 deg headwind is back so we pump our tyres up hard and can just sneak up the upwind straights, there's almost no friction so we are flying down the crosswind bits, Joe has been getting steadily faster throughout the trip and I can no longer keep up with him. As we come into view of the border town Zamiin-uut we meet a friend from last years buggy trip, Sukhbat is a deaf cyclist we had met in the Altai mountains, he was on a 6600km 122 day solo cycle trip around Mongolia at the time. We had given him a 2C solar lightcap, and he wore it every day for the rest of the trip. We follow him back to his place, good food, shower, laundry then we tow a buggy around with his husky. Great last day in Mongolia. We have no idea of what tomorrow will bring, we don't have a Chinese hotel booking or itinerary, you cant drive or motorcycle across the border without a Chinese guide, we have heard reports of people camping in China being arrested for vagrancy, I rate our chances of getting through the border and being allowed to buggy in inner Mongolia at 50%, Joe's not so optimistic. Distance traveled 90km Total distance 2894km
Day 37 (25 May 2015) Hot gusty tail wind from mid morning, the first easy kilometers we have had for a while. Good fun racing some exotic looking bees and each other. We detour to check out some more ruins then find the trans Mongolian railway and follow it south. At the town of Eredene we re-cross the same railway line we had crossed 27 days earlier in the opposite direction, when we were at Buyr lake 900km downwind from here we had talked about trying to get back to the railway but it had seemed like an impossible task. The is was still blowing and there was a smooth sealed road calling us, the seal was bliss and we covered half the distance to the border. A fox comes into our camp at night. Distance traveled 140 km Total distance 2804 km
Day 36 (24 May 2015) We awake to another headwind day, 4 days left on our visa and 350km to the Chinese border where we have a 1 month visa. We need some tailwind soon. We tack our way into the hot gusty wind all day, stopping at a ger for some shade and food at mid day. The wind turned off after a stormy looking sunset and we had only made 20km. We have started cooking dinner when the wind comes back with great force, from the other direction! Within half an hour we have gone further than the previous 10 hours, we keep switching kites as the wind comes and goes but somehow end up spending most of the night screaming through the night overpowered sideways on our angry light wind kites, Its a very dark night and our powerful bike lights are on high but its still not enough light at this speed, after a few hours our nerves cant take anymore and we change to more sensible sized kites. The wind dies at 2am and we are hungry. Distance traveled 116km Total distance 2664 km
Day 35 (23 May 2015) Its straight headwind all day so we zig zag our way out of town and into the undulating green terrain. Playing chicken with the massive tall dust devils that are roaming the hills. In the evening we come across a spectacular area of granite outcrops and smooth green fields. We keep zig zagging until we have used up all the wind, lots of kilometers for not much progress today. Distance traveled 75 km Total distance 2548 km.
Day 34 (22 May 2015) Great wind and terrain in the morning, this zone between the long grass of the eastern steppes and the thorn bushes of the Gobi is perfect for kite buggying. We quickly cover the 10 km to the town of Bayandelger, by the time we have had lunch and refilled out water bottles at the town well the wind has died. We wait out the rest of the day under a tree beside the well, before long this turns into a water fight with the town kids, there's no winners in a water fight. The wind never returns so we find a hotel and an English speaking army lieutenant, vodka, karaoke, wrestling. Distance traveled 10 Km Total distance 2472 Km
Day 33 (21 May 2015) Light thermal wind all day with no real progress until dark. We have many 2, 4 and 6 legged visitors during the lulls. We get into some nice hilly terrain at night, there are lots of nocturnal gerbils bouncing around, they are faster than us and seem to hover just above the ground.We camp in one of the many dry river beds. Distance traveled 88 Km Total distance 2462 Km
Day 32 (20 May 2015) Forecast westerly headwind has arrived but our new SW course let's us keep rolling. This 45 degree head wind seems to be following us around. There's strong 1 minute long gusts all day and we are moving in rapid 1km bursts. We turn up a spectacular looking valley in the afternoon, it even has some trees. Amazing how much the terrain can change in a few km. The wind is still up and down, so we get to meet some locals every time we stop to change kites. We detour to the small village of Kalzan to look for food, we meet an American English teacher working for peace core and the whole village comes out to meet us. There's nothing open so we zig zag upwind until dark. Distance traveled 87km Total distance 2374 km
Day 31 (19 May 2015) The storm clears at 0830 and the road is muddy with huge mud puddles and swamps, headwind again but we can just sneak up the road. We pass some very stuck trucks. The road angle improves in the afternoon, we pass the town of Sukhbaatar without stopping, we need to get to Baruun-uurt where the road turns SW before tomorrow's foretasted westerly arrives. The surroundings are becoming drier as we get closer the Gobi desert. We broke some kite lines and bridle lines today, our kites are starting to need repairs on a daily basis. We make it to Baruun-uurt in the evening, meet some Russian tourists, first foreigners we've seen since starting. Stayed in a hotel. We passed the outright kite buggy distance record today, 2250km set by the mad way south crew, impressed that they did it in the same time as us with less experience, less suitable equipment and difficult terrain. Distance traveled 145km Total distance 2286km
Day 30 (18 May 2015) Cold day in the tents. Snow, sleet and gale force winds for 36 hours, water is slowly finding it's way in, sleeping on a kite helps. These tents aren't made for luxury camping, I designed them for lightweight and strength, they weigh 550g, pack to the size of a shoe, have one pole and 3 pegs so they pitch in under a minute. I made then from special skydiving fabric with 150kg spectra string sewn into the seams, they have stood up to some crazy wind at times. Our second 0km day.
Day 29 (17 May 2015) The morning brings head winds with big lulls so we tack upwind through the long grass but have only made 8km by 6pm. Suddenly there's a wall of dark brown cloud approaching, we quickly pitch our tents behind some rushes, the dust storm is on us in minutes, quickly followed by driving rain, then sleet, then snow. Everything is white by sundown, hard to believe it was hot and sunny 4 hours ago. Distance traveled 8.5km Total distance 2141km
Day 28 (16 May 2015) No wind most of the day so shopping, fixing gear, and drinking seabuckthorn wine, we get called into the police station and told off for drinking in public, via google translate. Light wind in the evening, the whole town comes out to see us off. We make 15km and camp, we would have stayed in town if we knew what weather was coming. Distance traveled 15km Total distance 2132km
Day 27 (15 May 2015) Strong headwind all day, going west in a nor-west, we have some cutting edge high aspect single skin kites that can easily go 45deg off the wind but we cant fly them in 40 knots of wind, our small kites are nasa wings, a 50 year old single skin design that doesnt go upwind well. We don't have kites for going upwind in 40+kts. I have re tuned all our kites for upwind and fitted shorter lines, we try many different options today but the track disappears, we are going uphill upwind through long grass and the only way forward is to put up a big kite and go sideways through everything. The wind eventually swung too far upwind so we turned towards the town of Mata, its a high speed crosswind run to town, we have dinner in a local restaurant and stare at the very attractive waitress, these Eurasians are very well built. We splash out and spend 20,000 tugrik on a hotel room($12) Distance traveled 70km Total distance 2118km