Vladimir took us through another exit from the campsite. It had a very steep muddy section. I made my way through best I could but not the right way, putting my right foot down. Vladimir told me off for that. He really wanted me to improve my riding skills and ensure I would keep my right foot (which controls the back brake, for non riders in here!) on the peg. - “I don’t want you to go on your travels around the world not riding properly” he told me some time before. I feared I was becoming some sort of "project" for him, make me into a descent off-road rider. When I told him, with his usual big smile, he denied... I had my suspicions though! The excursion up the mountain was stunning. It was hard going for me, to start with, but we kept in formation. I was right behind Vladimir, who, despite riding standing up on his foot pegs, continued to have that supernatural power of seeing behind him what I was doing at any time! How does he do that!? At first, I started slowly but soon got bored of slow and managed to go faster and faster. (PS: if photos like these don't make you want go to the Altai, I give up!!!! And these are taken with my crap 50 quids camera! ) The bike performed so well on lose gravel, stones or anything, that I grew more and more confident. We managed to get to the 1st step up the mountain through narrow treacherous mountains tracks. The last climb involved a very (very!) steep trail that would be hard to achieve, due to the lack of oxygen. Anton told me he managed once with Vladimir but they had to take the air filters out. Vladimir, Andrey and Alistair decided to try the climb, but their bikes died half way through and they had to turn back. I felt comfortable with the way my bike behaved on any sort of terrain and performed reasonably well, although, I know that Vladimir was looking for the easiest ways off-road to get through. There was still lots of mud around. Later on, Vladimir told me, with his usual big smile, that I had done very well that day. That was a big compliment coming from “Action man" himself!