Jun 5th 2017 by CamilleLBaz • 24 Questions • 83 Points
We will be departing from Brussels, Belgium on July 1st as a part of the Mongolia Charity Rally, and we will be driving 11,226 miles to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia all in the pursuit of delivering an ambulance to be used in rural Mongolia’s fledgling healthcare system. We purchased an Ambulance last week, and had it inspected by a mechanic. Besides a few minor issues, she’s almost prepped for the journey. Our tentative route is below. It currently takes us through 23 countries where 20 languages are spoken, and 16 different currencies are used. If you have any suggestions for places to go, things to pack, skills to learn, please let us know. Otherwise, ask away!
Ambulance Pics: http://imgur.com/a/VDOXl
Edit: Sorry for the slow responses, the new puppy required some attention http://imgur.com/a/gQdJB
Edit 2: Thanks for all the support guys. We'll try to answer the questions as soon as possible. I honestly didn't even think we would make it off the "new" page. I added the donation page for those who are interested. https://www.youcaring.com/onesmallsteppeandgohelpcharity-693232
Edit 3: Here is our playlist. Add some songs if you like! https://open.spotify.com/user/2g3n/playlist/4IaDXkaE85Kwju2Tgao5eE?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open
Edit 4: Due to numerous questions/comments, all donations and contributions we have received are going to a cash donation for the charity and towards the purchase price of the vehicle. All other expenses are coming out of our pockets.
Edit 5: Sorry guys, but it is getting pretty late here, and I've been at it for over 12 hours. I'll answer some more in the morning. Thanks for all the support!
Hi Camille, meant to ask this earlier but as a college student I have a hard time balancing school work and gym life. I saw that you earned your degree in chemical engineering. How were you able to juggle both at once? Thanks for doing this AMA for all your fans. :)
When you're doing those pull-ups that landed you on the front page, which muscles are you NOT working out?
So I just google mapped it and it looks like the "fastest" route is only about 5300 miles. Why is it so important to more than double your mileage just to hit the 23 countries? You would go through 7 if you took this faster route (although a lot of Siberia)
i think like during final.. i would put my fitness a little on the side like not kill myself in training but maybe just run to clear my mind for more study :) and when school is a little more relax i focus more on training... laos make sure you know exactly the order of your priority... ex I'm okay getting B-C at school but not okay not qualifying for the games ;)
The route was a little bit of a challenge to come up with. Obviously we aren't taking the fastest route, but we thought it would be the prime combination of both sight seeing, safety, and speed. Going the Northern route, we would possibly pass through Ukraine, and due to all the conflicts there, we decided against it. Also, if we went farther North, we would spend a lot more time in Russia, and with the visa requirements for Russia, we decided it was easier to stay in Russia for the shortest amount of time possible. However, we decided not to go as far South as some teams. There are a few who are going through Iran! As Americans, we decided that would not be a good idea. As for the twists and turns in our route that seem a little random. We will be visiting some friends along the way, but when you're 3000 miles away from home, 200 extra miles doesn't seem to far to visit an old friend. Thanks for the Question!
Edit: Thanks for the Reddit gold!
Yo I'm from Mongolia and that's really tight. I'll be there in August if you wanna meet up!
Unfortunately Mongolia is very much still a developing country that is having a hard time catching up to the modern world. There is political corruption, alcohol abuse is rampant and we are landlocked so we simply sell our natural resources with no infrastructure in place to adequately grow as a nation.
It's the least densely populated country in the world, and the country side is very old-fashioned. Outhouses, wells and farming.
Thanks for making the country a little better. :)
I think like you said its figuring whats you priority.. I think at a point i figured out i can go to school forever.. not that i recommend it hahaha but i don't know how long my athlete career will be... so i think my mantra for school became D for diploma at the end haha and i took off a lot of anxiety once i was okay not getting A in everything
Well I broke my wrist 3 months ago and so doing a handstand is super difficult for me to do.
Those sideways pull-ups and front-levers are easy for me but look really hard! Because if you haven't trained for it they kind of are.
Great to hear from you! We would definitely love to meet up once we reach Mongolia in early to mid August. Please PM us, and we can try to set something up.
We appreciate the great thoughts and love to see people from Mongolia seeing this as well. Thank you!
How feasible will the upkeep of the ambulance be when it is in service in Mongolia? An ambulance that you cant get parts for isnt much help. Sorry to be a downer.
number 12 or 13 i did both/ got tackle quite a bit hahaha
I can't help but notice your map showing you traveling through what appears to be North Ossetia and Inigushetia, what sort of precautions are you taking to handle the instability and corruption in these areas!?
right now all my life is pretty much dedicated to train recover and eat well... i train around 6 hours a day right now with i wouldn't recommend anyone else to do lol unless they did qualified for the games... if you are trying to do better in the open or get to regional i would say make sure to focus on your weakness and build your GPP
I haven't heard many specific situations in those areas, but I have heard about just general corruption in that area. Are there specific things that have happened recently? I have heard about Chechnya and the specific issues they are having there, so we are planning to avoid it. As far as precautions, we are driving through there as fast as possible, as we have no stops planned until Volgograd. Do you have any advice or suggestions? We have a lot to plan for, so any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.
Try doing negatives but for those of a heavier stature need to focus on building the tendons and muscles in isolation first because you'll get injured if you don't.
I think you're awesome
Hey Camille! Thanks for doing this! I'm a big fan and will be rooting you on in madison!
How do you feel about the criticism that doing crossfit makes people prone to injuries, especially for beginners?
How long do you think you'll be competing in the games as an individual?
Uhhhhh, do you fuck with the war?
Crossfit is base on teaching movement in a rehabilitation way...we teach people how to move again via functional movement and the first effect of that should be being more prepare to face life and build an edge against decrepitude. People are more prone to injury by doing nothing and the reward is way greater then the risk... I think ill be competing for a couple more year and hopefully try tokyo in 2020
None of us are runners, so we aren't planning to Forrest Gump and run cross continent. Ulaanbaatar is our final destination, and we just booked flights to fly back to London from Ulaanbaatar via Beijing. There are no direct flights unfortunately. It's around 16 hours with the layover so it's not bad. I have heard of a few people taking the Trans-Siberian railway from Ulaanbaatar back to Moscow and then flying from there.
Since High School, I am 26 now so I would say about 10 years or a little more.
Thanks! Be sure to follow us on Facebook or our website to keep up with us this summer.
How much effort is required so that you all can get the necessary visa and passport stuff required? Otherwise it looks awesome!
i think one of my biggest inspiration is my mom and my dad... I think when we see end product of people succeeding we don't really see the hard work that goes behind but i grew up with a mom and a dad that just worked so hard and never complain ... so i think they both are my biggest inspiration and some of the people i always want to make proud
I was spectating at the crossfit games when you won it all in 2014. It was an awesome weekend and people going crazy when you went unbroken on the pull up bar for the pull ups, chest to bar and bar muscle ups. Good luck this year in Madison, WI.
My question is what's your favorite place to get poutine in Montréal? And what do you like on your poutine?
What is your drive to stay in shape? What goes through your head in those difficult moments when you don't want to work out but you have to?
Oh shit this is a good one. My drive is for the people who can't do it. A best friend passed away about a month ago who I served with. He can no longer do it, so I do my best to go harder for the both of us. I am not perfect but I try as best I can.
Definitely Murphy. He needs chocolate milk to keep his weight up, and I imagine there won't be much past Turkey. I foresee this leading to a mental breakdown, followed by a bit of arguing, followed by Murphy getting out of the ambulance and walking off into the middle of the Mongolian steppe never to be seen again...
its like spaghetti sauce on top
I love that you guys are going to try and do something good but looking at that ambulance and then thinking ahead another 12000 miles...are you not just going to be delivering a piece of junk there? Why not just send them the money instead?
Congrats on your degree its no joke... i had to take lots of class at distance or half presence because of pairing with travel and competing... not easy to study in hotel and plane but you do what you have to do :) my degree took 6-1/2 year hahaha ye si know what fugacity is hahaha
The reason for delivering the car, is that the industry in Mongolia is far behind that of Europe and the US, so they can't just buy an ambulance. The ambulances have to be imported from somewhere else. While it might get a little beat up on the way there, we are having skid plates installed along with some other precautions to keep it in the best condition possible. The charity we are working with coordinates with the Mongolian government to approve the vehicles in order to make sure they are vehicles the government actually wants. Also, if the ambulance is going to be used in rural Mongolia where there are no roads, driving it there is a testament to the fact that it can actually do its job when it gets there. Thanks for the question!
What made you decide to go north of the Caspian Sea instead of south, through Iran?
Sounds like you are well prepared anyway. I did the Mongol Rally in 2003 so I can confirm it's an awesome trip. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people do the same thing as you every year so you will have loads of support. Enjoy!
hahaha i don't feel guilty after a cheat meal because i know i work hard for it and i eat good the rest of the time... but right now no real cheat meal until the game... normally ill go for ice cream or pizza
Thanks for the question. Being students, we are on a tight budget, and from what we researched, the Iranian visa itself is quite expensive and they tax the vehicle itself as well. So, we decided that would be too costly. That would also require another visa to go through Turkmenistan. We are excited for the route we are taking though! Can't wait!
I had a friend do the London version of this rally. I have no questions but share a couple of tips if you'd like to read them.
1) get the European AAA-equivalent (ARC?) membership. You got the ambulance checked out, but it may not always cooperate.
2) Keep vodka bottles with you in Russia. For "gifts" (when official-types stop your vehicle). I have no idea about crossing borders with liquor, so maybe try to stock up fairly soon after crossing.
Friend's team ran out of gas, had the damn thing break down multiple times, and they even tipped it on its side in Mongolia after another truck coming head on at them was taking his half in the middle. I think it was a much older vehicle and I'm glad to see that Mongolia is enforcing some standards in these kinds of rallies. Best of luck to you!
practice the basic of gymnastic and master them :)
Those are some very good suggestions. The vodka bottles will definitely come in handy! Did they end up making it to the end?
My gf refuses to try weight lifting cause she says she doesn't want to look manly. How could best show her this isn't what happens when women lift?
Do you recommend rowing machines as an "at home" exercise? I do Jiu Jitsu, and do a little mountain biking, but I'm still in need of more core strength and (a lot of) conditioning. I'm 41, 6'3", about 240-250 lbs.
Hey guys. My question: Do you want a beer? I literally live on your route (south Germany) and would happily invite you for one...
i think once women start lifting and it boost their confidence everything changes
Get some ab straps. I owe a lot of my core strength to them!
Heck yes. I'll PM you, and we could figure things out! Prost!
Oh my gosh... I'm speechless. I am your biggest fan!!! What is your favorite dessert to splurge on?! Thanks for answering - you're awesome! Rooting for you all the way!
Do you have a story about a time when your muscles and ability to lift your body/ do crazy athletic shit came in handy in the real world? It looks cool in the gym and all, but has it ever come in clutch falling off a cliff or something practical? Thank you for your service !
Are you planning to change the oil a few times on the way?
thanks :) anything chocolate... haha
Actually the opposite, my over confidence got me a broken wrist 3 months ago...
We will definitely have to change it at least twice. As far as I know, oil has to be changed about every 3,000 miles, and since we are going over 10,000, we should probably have to change it 3 times. I have seen pictures of people doing it in previous rallies, and they found some janky little car lift/bridge type thing so they could get under their cars. It's sure to be an interesting sight seeing five college age guys changing the oil on an ambulance.
hahaha thats cool... having people to compete with is just the best... lets say i have 39 other girls i will compete for the tittle of the fittest soon :P
Can you confirm this redditors comment about Ninja Warrior: This show is bullshit.
Sounds like a really exciting journey. How long will it take you to complete? How many other groups will there be? Have you collected all of the funds you need?
Nothings perfect. It rained right before I went and I still had to go.
Right now we have planned for about 6 weeks with a little contingency included in there. We included about a day for each border crossing, because we were advised that after the EU each border crossing takes a very long time. After that we added an extra few days in Mongolia so that we could experience our final destination and to account for any breakdowns or other random problems. Last I heard there were around 10 groups participating. Many will be driving ambulances, and one team I heard was driving a fire truck! We have collected some funds from family and friends, but as a group of college students, we are searching for all the help we can get. If you're interested, the donation page is linked at the top of our Facebook page above, through the Donate Now button.
Do you have any gymnastic, dance or performance background?
Some of the moves in the longer video where you show some amazing locking of position (fake stairs/steps) are the kind of moves people practice for ages.
You're like a super mime!
And 0 seconds for washing your hands
It's the little things that we're clearly going to struggle with
Where'd you get that logo??? It looks awesome!
First we had to come up with the name which probably took a month (We're a very indecisive group). Then since we chose One Small Steppe, we decided it need to be an astronaut. With that idea, we sent it off to one of our friends (Shoutout to Kat), and she made this masterpiece of a design!
How much beer do 5 Belgians need to go 10,000 miles?
Consistency is key because you start to not see instant results and get discouraged. So stick with it!!
How long have you had your dog for? Could you tell us more about the dog?
How large would you estimate the size of your ambulance to be if its volume was measured in opossums?
What exercise regimen would you recommend to get close to the shape you are in now?
- What's your diet, routine, etc.?
My diet is just don't eat shit all the time. Put down the cookies once in a while but I don't count my Macros or get too into it.
Right now I am on a routine that is 500 pull-ups, 1 gallon of water, and 500 crunches a day for 30 days.. lol today is day 1 but successful so far!
LMFAO, that was funny.
hello ridiculously-photogenic-pull-up-rowing-machine-marine-guy! here are some awkwardly forward questions:
How tall are you and how much do you weigh?
What's the best fitness advice you've ever received?
What's the best fitness advice you'd give someone working on getting in shape?
Remember the guy who quit? No one does...
It's going to be hard at first and you'll want to quit but don't.
Have you ever been approached to make a ridiculous infomercial for like Mike Eckert's totally insane ridiculous rowing in the air workout?
Hahaha no but I think you're on to something!
I just yawned.... I can't do leg day today...
Pull-ups, I hold the world record for most in 60 seconds
My dad once told me while I was competing, he said, why not you. I couldn't give him an answer and I wound up winning.
What running regimen do you do/use?
Who is your inspiration for being a better athlete or person overall?
And what is your favorite base you've been stationed at?
I am not the best runner but I can still make around an 18 min 3 mile. Short interval training to get the HR up helps!
I have met a lot of good and bad people and I choose to take the best qualities from them and try to inspire others. My dad would be someone I would like to be like as a person.
Does your dog enjoy showing off his bunghole as a general rule or was this a special treat just for us? 😜
Just for you all ;)
Hello Mr. Eckert! I'm about to head into my freshman year at college and want to put my time in summer to good use, physically. I've gone to the gym to work out 4x a week but want a better routine instead of what I'm doing now. Could you share your routine me/ what you think would be good for an 18 year old guy? You look amazing btw holy moly
I personally use Time as my coach. Everything is at the top of the minute and you just go till you drop. Specifically though it would take me a while to make a specific routine for you because I am a personal trainer as well. My website will be up soon and that will help you a lot so keep in touch!
275 was my max, but now... after a broken wrist I haven't even tried.