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KC Deane Discovers Sci-Fi Lines in China’s Gobi Desert
Posted on July 17, 2015

Total Recall—This is a shot of me riding the first day in the Gobi, another example of the varying and incredible landscape.

Eddie Bauer dual-sport athlete KC Deane has journeyed to some otherworldly locations, but his recent trip to China’s Gobi Desert to film with the Fastfokus crew was straight out of a sci-fi movie set. Total Recall sand, Tatooine landscapes, and Blade Runner travel underscored full-on, full-face freeride biking in a culture so foreign that it feels alien even without the geological oddities. After sorting out the security specifics of accessing unblocked social media in China, Deane sent us this incredible photo gallery of his journey through the wormhole of space and time. —LYA Editor

Images and Captions by KC Deane

Beijing—The jet lag begins here.

Beijing—The jet lag begins here.

Tatooine—After catching a few flights, I woke up to the 777 touching down in Beijing. Confused from jet lag, I stumbled off the plane and made the switch to domestic flights. I caught the last flight to Northern China, where I was planning on heading to the Gobi Desert just a few hundred miles south of Mongolia. Upon touching down yet again, I met our guide, who called himself “Jack.” Thankfully, he scooped me up at 2 AM in a pounding rainstorm and took me into the city of Urmuqi, which was my first stop. Maybe it was the jet lag, or maybe it was the rain, but I felt like I was back in 1982 from a scene in Blade Runner. The following morning we headed north to the Gobi Desert. Still suffering from severe jet lag, I passed out in the back of a van bound to pick up the Fastfokus film crew and awoke to this sight. Once again I was severely confused, but seeing this as the first thing after waking up in a massive city was truly spectacular. I had never seen a landscape or architecture quite like this before. It felt like I was dreaming.

Tatooine—After catching a few flights, I woke up to the 777 touching down in Beijing. Confused from jet lag, I stumbled off the plane and made the switch to domestic flights. I caught the last flight to Northern China, where I was planning on heading to the Gobi Desert just a few hundred miles south of Mongolia. Upon touching down yet again, I met our guide, who called himself “Jack.” Thankfully, he scooped me up at 2 AM in a pounding rainstorm and took me into the city of Urmuqi, which was my first stop.

Maybe it was the jet lag, or maybe it was the rain, but I felt like I was back in 1982 from a scene in Blade Runner. The following morning we headed north to the Gobi Desert. Still suffering from severe jet lag, I passed out in the back of a van bound to pick up the Fastfokus film crew and awoke to this sight. Once again I was severely confused, but seeing this as the first thing after waking up in a massive city was truly spectacular. I had never seen a landscape or architecture quite like this before. It felt like I was dreaming.

Mr. Wu—Once in China you need a dialed crew to get you around. There is very little to no English spoken in China, especially in the far north. Mr. Wu was one of the drivers who kept us on track and would drive us pretty much anywhere.

Mr. Wu—Once in China you need a dialed crew to get you around. There is very little to no English spoken in China, especially in the far north. Mr. Wu was one of the drivers who kept us on track and would drive us pretty much anywhere.

Mr. Ma—Mr. Ma was our other driver. He was the support and drove the van. which held all the gear, including my bike and the film gear. Our two drivers were awesome because even though they were there solely as our drivers, they were so stoked to be a part of freeride mountain biking that they were out there with shovels, digging jumps or doing whatever we needed to have done. They were hands-on.

Mr. Ma—Mr. Ma was our other driver. He was the support and drove the van. which held all the gear, including my bike and the film gear. Our two drivers were awesome because even though they were there solely as our drivers, they were so stoked to be a part of freeride mountain biking that they were out there with shovels, digging jumps or doing whatever we needed to have done. They were hands-on.

Wu Goes—The saying for the trip was “Wu knows, Wu goes” because he knew we needed to get deep into the Gobi and was willing to drive us anywhere. There are remote mountain roads everywhere that are pretty sketchy at times with washouts. Regardless, Wu always tried to get us as far as he could. This is a shot of Wu checking to see if he can shuttle me for some sunset filming.

Wu Goes—The saying for the trip was “Wu knows, Wu goes” because he knew we needed to get deep into the Gobi and was willing to drive us anywhere. There are remote mountain roads everywhere that are pretty sketchy at times with washouts. Regardless, Wu always tried to get us as far as he could. This is a shot of Wu checking to see if he can shuttle me for some sunset filming.

Damien—The idea of the trip was to go freeride mountain biking in the Gobi Desert. Damien Vergez, the mastermind and filmmaker behind the trip, started Fastfokus films three years ago. He produces a TV series called “MTB Heroes,” which will air this fall on Netflix, Apple TV and select TV stations in 30 countries around the world. Hailing from France, he’s one of the best filmmakers I’ve had the pleasure to work with.

Damien—The idea of the trip was to go freeride mountain biking in the Gobi Desert. Damien Vergez, the mastermind and filmmaker behind the trip, started Fastfokus films three years ago. He produces a TV series called “MTB Heroes,” which will air this fall on Netflix, Apple TV and select TV stations in 30 countries around the world. Hailing from France, he’s one of the best filmmakers I’ve had the pleasure to work with.

Dunes—The landscape varies a lot in the Gobi. This is one example, just sand dunes for as far as the eye can see stretching from town.

Dunes—The landscape varies a lot in the Gobi. This is one example, just sand dunes for as far as the eye can see stretching from town.

Total Recall—This is a shot of me riding the first day in the Gobi, another example of the varying and incredible landscape.

Total Recall—This is a shot of me riding the first day in the Gobi, another example of the varying and incredible landscape.

Mars—There were many times when I felt like I was in an extremely foreign world, or even on a foreign planet. This was one of them. The haze seen here in the photo is not actually smog or pollution, but sand from high winds causing a massive sandstorm. We saw three large sandstorms while we were there and they almost blocked out the sun. Then, as the sand began to settle over the next 24 hours, it created this amazing fog that made you feel as if you were on Mars.

Mars—There were many times when I felt like I was in an extremely foreign world, or even on a foreign planet. This was one of them. The haze seen here in the photo is not actually smog or pollution, but sand from high winds causing a massive sandstorm. We saw three large sandstorms while we were there and they almost blocked out the sun. Then, as the sand began to settle over the next 24 hours, it created this amazing fog that made you feel as if you were on Mars.

Raisin Farmer—Despite being the hottest place on the planet, the Gobi actually has a fair amount of water snaking through it in the north. The area makes China a huge producer of grapes and melons. The northern part of China is one of the largest producers of raisins in the world. Most of the farmers looked like the people in this photo. They spent the day picking grapes and taking them to large drying buildings.

Raisin Farmer—Despite being the hottest place on the planet, the Gobi actually has a fair amount of water snaking through it in the north. The area makes China a huge producer of grapes and melons. The northern part of China is one of the largest producers of raisins in the world. Most of the farmers looked like the people in this photo. They spent the day picking grapes and taking them to large drying buildings.

Motion—To accompany the scenery here, the temperatures were also pretty intense. When we went to go find lines and areas to film, daily air temperatures were between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and the ground temperature would spike as high as 150. The ground would get so hot that during the middle of the day, you could hard-boil an egg in under 5 minutes. Not a bad place to put the new Eddie Bauer Motion line to the test. It was incredible having gear to help regulate your temperature. Being in such high heat, every little thing you could do helped you throughout the day.

Motion—To accompany the scenery here, the temperatures were also pretty intense. When we went to go find lines and areas to film, daily air temperatures were between 110 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and the ground temperature would spike as high as 150. The ground would get so hot that during the middle of the day, you could hard-boil an egg in under 5 minutes. Not a bad place to put the new Eddie Bauer Motion line to the test. It was incredible having gear to help regulate your temperature. Being in such high heat, every little thing you could do helped you throughout the day.

Bazaar—This open-air market was pretty characteristic of markets in every town. This one in the city of Urumqi was amazing. We went on a Sunday, when it was the busiest, to check it out. Unlike North America and Southern China, people come here for almost everything, from meat, to lunch, to getting new clothes. The zone here was vibrant and busy, even in the 115-degree midday heat.

Bazaar—This open-air market was pretty characteristic of markets in every town. This one in the city of Urumqi was amazing. We went on a Sunday, when it was the busiest, to check it out. Unlike North America and Southern China, people come here for almost everything, from meat, to lunch, to getting new clothes. The zone here was vibrant and busy, even in the 115-degree midday heat.

Bazaar Meat Market—This was one of the areas where you could go and buy any slab of meat you wanted. It was just a short walk from kids’ bikes, and just around the corner, you could grab lunch that more than likely came from right here.

Bazaar Meat Market—This was one of the areas where you could go and buy any slab of meat you wanted. It was just a short walk from kids’ bikes, and just around the corner, you could grab lunch that more than likely came from right here.

Parking Attendant—The people of the bazaar.

Parking Attendant—The people of the bazaar.

Dunes 35mm—Being able to go and explore the sand dunes was a very cool experience. Every time you crest a giant dune, the only thing you can see is more sand. Could only imagine getting lost out here for a day.

Dunes 35mm—Being able to go and explore the sand dunes was a very cool experience. Every time you crest a giant dune, the only thing you can see is more sand. Could only imagine getting lost out here for a day.

Camels Crew—This was the mode of transportation for exploring the sand dunes. The guy in front was our guide for the whole trip, who called himself “Jack” for his English-speaking friends.

Camels Crew—This was the mode of transportation for exploring the sand dunes. The guy in front was our guide for the whole trip, who called himself “Jack” for his English-speaking friends.

Camels and Dunes—A sci-fi landscape with a link to the past.

Camels and Dunes—A sci-fi landscape with a link to the past.

Traffic—The traffic in the north of China includes a really wide variety of transportation options. Seen here, you can find everything from mopeds, to 3-wheel carts, to large truck transporters going through town and even on the freeway.

Traffic—The traffic in the north of China includes a really wide variety of transportation options. Seen here, you can find everything from mopeds, to 3-wheel carts, to large truck transporters going through town and even on the freeway.

Masters of Mopeds—Just another moped blasting through the landscape.

Masters of Mopeds—Just another moped blasting through the landscape.

The Claw—Seen walking through a dry creek bed, Darren (The Claw) Berrecloth showed up for the last three days of the trip, as he was joining Fastfokus on the next two-week trip in China after I left. Darren is one of the most legendary mountain bikers on earth, and is still one of the top freeriders in the world. Being with him here in China was great, not just because of his skill on a bike, but because the first time he set foot in the Gobi was eight years ago, so he has such a broad knowledge of the area.

The Claw—Seen walking through a dry creek bed, Darren (The Claw) Berrecloth showed up for the last three days of the trip, as he was joining Fastfokus on the next two-week trip in China after I left. Darren is one of the most legendary mountain bikers on earth, and is still one of the top freeriders in the world. Being with him here in China was great, not just because of his skill on a bike, but because the first time he set foot in the Gobi was eight years ago, so he has such a broad knowledge of the area.

KC and the Claw—This was the last run I did in China with Darren. When I was presented with the opportunity to ride in the Gobi, I really had no clue what to expect. But in the end, I found it to be one of the best trips I’ve ever done. From exploring the landscape, to the food, to meeting the people—it felt like there was something new every minute of the day. I’m already looking forward to the day I can go back.

KC and the Claw—This was the last run I did in China with Darren. When I was presented with the opportunity to ride in the Gobi, I really had no clue what to expect. But in the end, I found it to be one of the best trips I’ve ever done. From exploring the landscape, to the food, to meeting the people—it felt like there was something new every minute of the day. I’m already looking forward to the day I can go back.

Check out the super-technical Quantum  tee KC Deane rocked in China’s 120-degree heat at eddiebauer.com.

 

Author: - Friday, July 17th, 2015
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