Friday, March 31, 2006

Day 210 - biking from Shiqu to Xiwu

Start: Shiqu, Sichuan, China
End: Xiwu (aka Xiewu), Qinghai province, China
Distance: 97 km
Time: 8'38"
Avg: 11.2 k/h
Max: 45 k/h
Total: 10,190 km
Total riding days: 121
Riding hours: 0945 - 1930

It was a day of three halves, all of them brutal. Apart maybe from the last one, though that was only a quarter, really.

First up, a mini-pass with a small patch of astroturf at the top, about one foot square, just big enough to tea up from. Shame I forgot my clubs.

Then a long haul across a wind-swept plain and up a broad river valley, most of it on a rough road. There might be a better, parallel road on the south side of the valley, but I couldn't find it.

Stretches of the road were lined, literally lined, with dead dogs.

I can think of four possible explanations.

i) A plague of some sort.
ii) A cull.
iii) An unusually cold winter.
iv) Asmund has been through recently wielding his double-edged light sabre.

The second half ended at the top of a monster pass that just went on and on and on and felt much higher and harder than Que Er Shan at 5050 metres; disappointingly, the sign at the top said only 4700 metres, and called this the An Ba La pass.

Zonked at the An Ba La pass, the Sichuan-Qinghai border

The third half, which was really only a quarter, took me 22 km down from the pass into Qinghai province and to Xiwu, in 45 minutes, on a perfect new road. Half an hour earlier and I would have beaten the sun. As it was, the sun was just dipping and it was a cold old road.

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