In Samara I turn east. The snow masses are melting and huge puddles are forming. Some are 300 meters long and up to 20 centimeters deep and I hardly make any progress. Only from Buguruslan it gets a little better and I manage 230 km.
The next day I drive to Belebel and let the route planner send me on a road towards Ufa, which gets worse and worse and the mud deeper and deeper. After 30 kilometers a car comes towards me and the driver tells me that it is still 70 kilometers to the main road and it will get much worse. Without a tractor the passage would not be possible. I turn around and 5 hours later I am back in Belebel. During the day it thaws and at night it is bitterly cold. I try to pitch my tent, but fail because the snow is so slushy that it is impossible to fix a peg in it.
After so much went wrong in Russia so far, I have already reached a daily average of 190 kilometers. If I want to be in Vladivostok in time, before my visa expires, I finally have to step on the gas. I pass Ufa, the city where I made my first world record in 2017. I still drive until dark and pitch my tent on the frozen ground.
The next day I reach the Ural Mountains. I am glad to be able to climb finally again. It goes up and down and I manage a little more than 200 kilometers on this day.
The morning starts with a strong tailwind, which also pushes me up the counter climbs with 30 kilometers. In the evening, I reach the M5 after 230 kilometers and go there to a trucker restaurant. I have a delicious dish with chicken and soon realize that this was a mistake. In Russia, the restaurants pre-cook the dishes and then warm them in the microwave. In the morning I feel nauseous and have a headache. When I go to the front desk, I almost collapse. So I stay here and spend the day in bed.
The next day I feel better, but still with stomach cramps. I ride the 80 kilometers to Chelyabinsk, where I have already searched via Instagram for a good bike store. A recommendation leads me to a store where Denis, the owner is already waiting for me. The mud rides of the last weeks have done a lot to my bike. All screws and bearings are eroded. The bottom bracket, the wheel bearings, the headset and parts of the gearshift need to be replaced. In Chelyabinsk I have a fan community where word has spread that I am there.
In the Urals I have already crossed the border to Asia and here in Chelyabinsk Siberia begins.