Fresh off the road, we caught up with Juliana Buhring in Muscat after an exciting 3rd-place finish overall, and 1st place in the females category, in 2018’s first installment of the BikingMan ultra-endurance cycling race, which took place in Oman last week.
To our surprise, this 36-year old British-German ultra-endurance cyclist has only been cycling for 6 years! She managed to gain global repute by coming out of the gate full force aiming for an incredible target: cycling around the world unassisted! And, she accomplished this goal becoming the first woman to circumnavigate the world (29,000 km) on a cycle in 152 days setting a Guinness World Record back in December 2012.
With numerous firsts and records under her belt, Juliana is now one of the strongest female ultra-endurance cyclists in the world. If that is not amazing enough, Juliana has authored two books as well!
Juliana Buhring: I was born and raised in a religious cult called “Children of God.” From the time I was three, I was taken from my parents and became group property. So, I grew up around Asia under the supervision of people of the group and they had all the children herded into big training camps and centers.
Basically, this was to indoctrinate us and bring us up to be good cult zombies – “Little soldiers for Jesus.”
However, it did teach me a lot of independence. I suppose when you’re all alone and you have no one to protect you or no parents to go to when you need help, you develop your own way of coping with constantly changing circumstances, which has helped me later on in life.
Juliana Buhring: I left the cult in 2004. In the group there were 18 of us brothers and sisters from the same dad but different mothers.
We have managed to connect in our adult years and we are all very close now. Everyone is located all around the world and we all hook up at Christmas. Many live in Europe around me.
Juliana Buhring: I live in Italy – south of Naples. The beautiful part of Italy.
Juliana Buhring: I always kept contact with all of them. For me, I think it was more important because I was the only one who grew up alone. The others all had at least one other they grew up with. So, when I was a teenage and could, I started tracking them down and make contact on the internet; once there were social networks, it was very easy to do.
“I kind of made it a mission to find all of my siblings – my tribe (haha). We had our first reunion in 2014 – I got them all to Italy. I managed to get 13 of us in one place.”
Juliana Buhring: No, I’m the only weirdo (haha). Actually, they are the opposite; they don’t do much physical activity.
Juliana Buhring: Oh yeah, and they say: “That’s just Juliana.” But it was a very recent thing. I didn’t start cycling till I was 30 anyway. Before then, I wasn’t athletic. It was a surprise to everyone – it was a surprise to me too.
Juliana Buhring: I lost the guy I really loved and I just wanted to escape and just go off – I couldn’t find a way to come back from that. It reached a limit where I had dealt with so many blows in life and I was so tired of bouncing back – I had lost the will to live.
“So, I had to do something drastic to pull myself out of it.”
That’s when I thought I’d go around the world. I had no plan to make it all the way around and thought: “I’ll just go and what will be will be” – it was very kind of fatalistic almost (haha).
But, as I started to go, it reawakened the passion for new experiences in life and life goes on and you find a new passion.
Juliana Buhring: Yes, I had never really cycled before the round-the-world trip. I had to learn to cycle because I had a goal and I wanted to do it. But, ultimately, I didn’t care if I made it or not – I just wanted to try.
I learned to cycle properly and trained for about 8 months. Then, I left with about 3000 Euros and just started going at it. When I reached New Zealand, I ran out of money. At that point, people had started following me on Facebook and, for them, it was the craziest thing they had ever seen; here is some person who has never cycled riding around the world.
I was consistently chalking up the miles and basically surviving on the kindness of strangers. So, people were following me online and they started sending little donations like 10 or 50 euros to keep me on the road. When I ran out of money, everyone said keep going and, within one day, my bank account had another 1000 Euros from everyone who had sent little bits. So, I actually got around the world like that. By the time I got to the finish line, I could not believe I had made it.
That is was what really got me into cycling. And, since then, I realized I was alright at doing distances.
Juliana Buhring: I’m always trying to best my last record just for me to see how much further I can take it. The most I’ve ever done without stopping is 800km. So, this time, I wanted to hit 1000km without ever stopping. That was my target to see if I could – to see if I was capable of it.
Juliana Buhring: I did! I rode 1070km nonstop and it took me around 49 hours and 50 minutes.
Juliana Buhring: After Mike Hall passed away last year cycling across Australia in the inaugural “Indian Pacific Wheel Race,” I couldn’t get back into these races mentally – it messed me up a lot. I thought I wouldn’t race anymore.
So, when I saw this event, it was really interesting to me because I have always wanted to go cycling around the Middle East. It is a place that was on my bucket list. And, this year, I thought I would do rides that I want to do and enjoy. I first did Patagonia for fun and thought Middle East is on my bucket list too, so that’s next.
I came into it thinking that if I feel good I’ll race, but if not I’ll do it and just enjoy the experience. Oman looked like a cool place to cycle from the photos. For me, that was the attraction.
Juliana Buhring: I flew in to Dubai because I wanted to see a little more than just Oman.
“So, I cycled from Dubai to Oman to warm up because I had not trained. I thought I should get a few miles in my legs (haha).”
I was so delighted by the Oman route – it was super tough. The projections shown before the race was not what it actually was; instead, it was constant rollers, mountains, climbs, head wind – there were no flats really. There was only maybe a 50km-section of flat but since that was into a head wind it made you feel like you were climbing anyhow.
What kept me going and enjoying the ride was that there was so many new things to see and I was just enjoying the scenery. It was very interesting. The route took us through some beautiful parts of Oman and I feel I got an overview of the highlights – so that’s cool.
Juliana Buhring: I have many things on my list but perhaps I’ll do the BikingMan race in Taiwan in October this year. It looks interesting. It’s famous for its long, mountain climb.
Juliana Buhring: I’m working on my third book right now. This one will be a fiction and it takes place in Napoli, Italy.
Juliana Buhring: I always shy away from giving people advice because what works for me may not work for someone else. With that said, what I can say is that I had never cycled in my life till 6 years ago and now I do these types of ultra-races. And, within the first year of cycling, I cycled the world!
“I was not an athlete – so if I can do it, then so can anyone else.”
I would just say just go and don’t over think it. It’s really about just going and having a good time and having a new experience. If you don’t make it, then try again next time. It’s not a big deal – don’t over play it in your head.
All photos courtesy of Juliana Buhring
Dear Explorer, The world is your oyster! You’ve heard that one before, eh? Well, it definitely is our motto at ub-cool. We are conquering the world one country at a time with our flag! The world is truly a small place now that we have the ease of air transport. Long gone are the days of sailing weeks across the rough-gut-wrenching seas, watching your suitcases (or, trunks!) slide across the room and almost squash your legs, just to get from one continent to another. Now, you can do that in 12 hours or less. Where in the World is the ub-cool Flag? Come along with us on our journey as the ub-cool team and friends carry our flag across the globe. We will update this page with new additions from the coolest places on Earth! If you want to be part of the journey, email us for a copy of our flag and then submit your photo and we will add it here! Spread the word and check back to see all the new cool places we have been! Turkey September 2018: Balloons in Cappadocia! Exploring the “fairy chimney” rock formations in Turkey, brought along the ub-cool flag for the stunning sights! Ukraine August 2018: Cycling through the Carpathian Mountains Cycling enthusiasts, Kate Pakhomov and Fimm, carried the ub-cool flag through Ukraine! South Africa July 2018: Fun at Lion & Safari Park Devan Kupferman and Laura Symmonds watching lion cubs playing with the ub-cool flag! Arctic Circle June 2018: The Ultimate North! The ub-cool flag reached the Arctic Circle in our founder Medina Ilyassova’s backpack! Kenya June 2018: Hiking in Kwale County! Zarian Sohrab hiked with the ub-cool flag to find some spectacular views! Oman May 2018: Waters around Muscat 10 meters deep in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Muscat, Oman, these passionate freedivers pose with the ub-cool flag! From left to right: Yousuf Al Mukaini, Sele Al Mabsali, and Omar Al Ghailani. Scotland May 2018: Dunottar Castle The ub-cool flag made its way to North East Scotland with our Adventure Girl, Heather Duncan! Ireland May 2018: Southern Irish Coast Our Adventure Girl, Heather Duncan, high above the beautiful cliffs of Ballycotton in County Cork. Nepal April 2018: Mount Everest Base Camp After 7 days of hiking, our Adventure Girl, Heather Duncan, reached Everest Base Camp! Along for the journey was her friend and Jonathan Shubert, ub-cool Explorer and world-record endurance cyclist. Read more about Heather’s journey to Mount Everest Base camp here. Peru April 2018: Machu Picchu The iconic peak of Peru’s famous mountains rise behind ub-cool friend, Hussein Sajwani. He made the gruelling journey to the peak by the most difficult route… Then he made his way to Vinicuna, the Rainbow Mountain, to handstand in the Andes Mountain range. Georgia April 2018: Caucasus Mountains Enjoying her first visit to the beautiful country of Georgia, Medina Ilyassova returned with memories of paragliding over the stunning scenery, exploring castles, and dining on delicious cuisine. If you’re planning a trip to Georgia, discover awesome Georgia tours here. Hawaii April 2018: Koko Crater After a steep climb ub-cool friend, Anshul Bhatnagar, enjoys the view of a cloudy Honolulu! Kazakhstan September 2017 ub-cool’s Medina Ilyassova hangs out in the mountains with family and friends. There is nothing better than fresh mountain air! Bulgaria September 2017 ub-cool friend, Hussein Sajwani, making his way through Bulgaria with the our flag in tow! Tanzania May 2017: Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano – “Mountain of God” Perched at the top of this active volcano, seen as the “Mountain of God” by the Maasai community, our ub-cool founder, Medina Ilyassova, waves our flag with exciting at her accomplishment. The climb was intense to say the least. Imagine climbing at an incline of more than 70 degrees! Not to mention, starting earlier in the dark with headlights to avoid roasting under the African sun! Read about Medina’s climb up Ol Doniyo Lengai Volcano here. Last Updated: 21st May 2018 Watch this space for regular updates! Email us for a copy of our flag and we’ll add your submission to this post!
Dear Explorer, We have searched the web looking for the best photos of the web from the month of April 2018 to inspire you to say ‘WOW‘, get outdoors & lead an active life! 10 Best Photos of the Web Here are our Top 10 pics for this month’s photo competition: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah | Instagram: @alexgoldman The mysteries of Hawaii | Instagram: @kelsealoha The iconic Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco | Instagram: @shangerdanger Turkey is now on our bucket list! Oludeniz Beach | Instagram: @buraktuzer The feeling of freedom! Los Glaciaras, Andes | Instagram: @vagabondhearts Everybody stay calm | @jferrara_photo Travelling in style in Guam, West Pacific | Instagram: @matecasar Serenity at sunset. Inle Lake, Myanmar | Instagram: @vincelimphoto White Sands Monument in New Mexico | Instagram: @everchanginghorizon And happily ever after! | Instagram @nois7 Did you miss the best photos from March’s photo competition? It’s not too late to check them out. Do you want to submit your photos for May’s photo competition? You can email us or tag us on Facebook or Instagram and remember to use the hashtag #ubcoolphotocomp Liked what you read? Subscribe below and receive more great stories right in your Inbox!
Dear Explorer, Counting down the days till your vacation but haven’t settled on a destination? Why don’t you set your eyes on Georgia? (The country in Europe, not the State in the United States!). This country has captured the hearts of many with its warm welcoming nature and generous people. It definitely has the ub-cool team completely in love! Some of our team really enjoy adrenaline-filled adventures like paragliding and white-water rafting, which Georgia has so much of to offer! But, others on the team prefer staying close to the ground – in fact, they prefer their feet firmly fixed to Mother Earth! So, we figured some of you – our lovely readers – may also feel the same and want to check out awesome adventures that keep you as close to the ground as possible. Below are a list of Georgia tours we love that allow you to explore this beautiful country from the comfort of a vehicle. Oh, and don’t forget these Georgia tours are also perfect to enjoy with the family! Related: 4 Best Sky-and-Water Adventures in Georgia 4 Best Georgia Tours on Wheels Recently emerging from decades of Soviet rule, Georgia re-opened its doors to the world in 1991. Since then, there has been a massive building project of hotels and resorts not to mention the increase in the number of flights to this small country. The Caucasus mountains are a sight to be seen – they stand tall with snow-capped peaks against gorgeous rolling-green valleys dotted with small towns. If you’re keen to explore the beautiful countryside and views from the hills all the while keeping your feet close to the ground, we have 4 different options for you from quad bikes to NASCAR-style cars! #1 – Experience the Caucasus Mountains and Castles on this Fun Jeep Tour Jump in for this fantastic jeep tour! The local experts will take you through the Dzama gorge, which is hidden between the valleys of the Borjomi forests and Kartli. Georgians consider this a sacred place as you’ll see by the many old-and-new monasteries in the area. You’ll also visit the gorgeous Bateti lake which sits on a mountain plateau surrounded by forest and a beautiful swamp. Whatever season it is when you visit, make sure you bring your camera because the scenic views will blow your mind! Oh, and we shouldn’t forget to mention the delicious barbeque picnic and red wine tasting you’ll enjoy! Learn more about this Fun Jeep Tour in Georgia > #2 – Explore Georgia on an Amazing Quad Bike Tour Want to explore the rolling green Georgian hills with your friends? Then hop on your very own quad bike and speed away! Imagine spending 2 hours exploring Mitarbi mountain, Bakuriani traditional villages, and rice fields! Then, after lunch, you’ll get the chance to taste the famous Borjomi mineral water in the national park! For those wondering – yes, the quad bike is really easy to handle making for a truly enjoyable journey. And, if you’re looking for fresh air, then this is the trip for you! Learn more about this quad bike tour in Georgia > #3 – An Exciting NASCAR-Style Car Ride in Georgia Do you love watching car races? Well, when in Gerogia, why don’t you give it a try! Strap on your seat belt and take this first-generation NASCAR car, The Legends, down the track for a spin! This modern vehicle is in the retro style fitted with a Yamaha 1300cc, 145 horsepower engine. What does this mean? Yes – You’ll go from 0 to 100km in 4.2 seconds! Fact: before NASCAR, this vehicle was a popular get-away car for the mafia! Learn more about racing NASCAR-style cars in Georgia > #4 – Adrenaline-Packed Off-Roading Drive Through Georgia Calling adrenaline seekers, this rafting trip in Georgia is perfect for you! Hang on tight for an exhilarating rafting trip down fast-moving waters! If you’re new to rafting, learn to raft from local experts and set off on an adventure of a life time. The waters in Georgia’s rivers are ideal for white-water rafting enthusiasts. Do you live for adrenaline-filled adventures? Then this off-roading tour is for you! Race through Georgia’s rugged terrain in the best off-roading vehicle, Polaris RZR. This high-quality AT vehicle will have you perched atop hills in no time! Learn more about off-roading drives in Georgia > Looking for other adventures? Visit ub-cool for more exciting adventures from all around the world! Working with local experts, the ub-cool team seeks out the best adventures for you to try! Liked what you read? Subscribe below to get more adventure tips right in your inbox!
Dear Explorer, “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again” – this is definitely the case for 69-year-old mountain climber Xia Boyu who successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak, this week. Xia Boyu On Monday, the 14th of May, Xia Boyu achieved his goal on his fifth attempt of conquering the iconic mountain spanning over 4 decades of attempts. You’ll be shocked to learn that it is not his mature age of 69 that sets Xia apart from the other 500 climbers attempting Everest this year… but also that he is a double amputee! Photo Credit: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images First Attempt Led to Double Amputation Xia, now 69 years old, first tried to scale the 8,848m peak back in 1975. Only a tantalising 200m from the peak of the world, the climbers were heart broken as they were forced to turn back due to high-altitude storms. They were descending in treacherous conditions when Xia, then aged 26, gave up his sleeping bag to a fellow climber who was struggling, according to Chinese media. The severe weather took its toll on him and he discovered the next morning that he had frostbite in his feet, requiring both to be amputated. “It’s not been easy for me to reach the peak of Mount Everest which I’ve dreamed of,” he was quoted by the Peoples Daily. Related: Learn how Shaikha Al Shaiba takes on triathlons with only one arm! Time Line of Xia’s Climbing Dream 1975 – At age 26, Xiya made his initial attempt at Mount Everest but suffered frostbitten feet which required amputation. 1996 – Using prosthetic limbs he climbed mountains around Beijing but tragedy struck when he learnt he had contracted lymphoma and would need both legs amputated beneath the knee. 2014 – Xia was ready to tackle Everest again, but his attempt was not possible due to ice avalanches. 2015 – Having reached Base Camp, his next attempt was delayed due to the disastrous Nepal earthquake of 2015. 2016 – He attempted the climb again; but, within 100m of the peak, he had to turn back due to poor weather. 2017 – His planned attempt for 2018 was nearly derailed by the Nepal government, which in December banned double amputees and blind people from climbing Everest. It was claimed that it would make the mountain safer. 2018 – The Nepal Supreme Court finally ruled that the ban was discriminatory and it was dropped in March 2018. 2018, May – SUCCESS! Photo Credit: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters In April 2018, a month before his fifth attempt, Xia told Agence France-Presse that climbing Everest was his dream. “I have to realise it,” he said. “It also represents a personal challenge, a challenge of fate.” On Monday 14th May, Xia finally reached the peak of Mount Everest. “Boyu finally won his 40-year-long battle for Mount Everest,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, the managing director at Imagine Treks, who accompanied the Chinese climber, told the Himalayan Times. Other Aamputees who have climbed Everest? Xia is the second double amputee to climb the summit after the New Zealander, Mark Inglis, who reached the peak from the Tibetan side in 2006. Santiago Quintero, who had half of each foot amputated during a climb in south America, also reached the peak in 2013. Congratulations Xia Boyu! Your determination and perseverance are an inspiration to us all! Feature photo: rockandice.com / courtesy of Xia Boyu Do you have a cool story to share with us? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org