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Early on we planned to start from Los Angeles and head east to either Tianjin, China, or Vladivostok, Russia, both port towns where we could ship our bikes home from. Then Nick came up with the very bright idea to flip the script and go from east to west, hence the name "Racing the Sun".


This made sense on several levels. First and most importantly, we would be tackling the most difficult part of the trip, Mongolia, early while we were still fresh and the bikes were in pristine condition. The bikes would take a beating but more importantly, we physically would take a beating, and in retrospect, we couldn't imagine tackling Mongolia after riding across the rest of the planet.

Secondly, the logistics of shipping our bikes from Los Angeles to China would be much easier because we could work with a local shipper. Our troubles getting our bikes into China and legal to ride there speak volumes about the correctness of this decision. We would be exhausted (which we were at the end of the trip) dealing with the Chinese bureaucracy to get our bikes home. No bueno.

Third and more subtle but no less important, we would always be heading home. This became important several times during the trip when we would hit a wall either due to homesickness, injuries, or just plain exhaustion. The fact that we were heading in the right direction made deciding to quit (not that we ever fully got there mentally) a little harder because we could always go "Let's give it another day, we're heading in the right direction". Also when we occasionally got lost, we knew that by heading west toward the sun, no matter what, we were still going towards home.

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