Friday, January 27, 2006

Day 147 - cycling from Tiger Leaping Gorge to Zhongdian / Xianggelila / Shangri-la

Start: Qiaotou (Tiger Leaping Gorge town), Yunnan, China
End: Zhongdian, China (Yunnan, still)
Distance: 104 km
Time: 7'51"
Avg: 13.2 k/h
Max: 48 k/h
Total: 8953km
Total riding days: 98
Riding hours: 0930 - 1845

A beast of a climb out of Qiaotou, approx 45 km takes you to an ill-defined pass which I reckon is probably a couple of hundred metres higher than Zhongdian. That would make it around 1700 metres climbing in 45 km. That would pretty much tally with how the legs felt. Be warned, there is little or nothing available on the road until Xiao Zhongdian, around 65 km after Qiaotou. I had 2 bananas and 2 tangerines. Result: bonked (see discussion here). Also not much water up here, at least in winter (dry season).

Checked into a hotel after 45 minutes of looking; 10 minutes later found a place that was much nicer (and cheaper - 10 yuan compared to 15 yuan). The people at Place A were good enough to give me my money back.

Zhongdian used to be a rough-and-ready sort of Tibetan frontier kind of place. Now they are trying to make it all glitzy and tourist-happy; to that end they have renamed the town Xianggelila, which is Chinese for Shangri-La. Thankfully there are still some old roadsigns with its proper name, Zhongdian.

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