End: Nachitai, Qinghai, China
Distance: 95 km
Avg: 16.6 k/h
Max: 48.5 k/h
Total: 10,907 km
Total riding days: 130
Riding hours: 1130 - 1915
Yesterday's ride left me in no hurry to make an early start. Kick-off was further delayed by a pair of wildlife photographers on a one-year secondment to the Kekexili Nature Reserve, whose headquarters is by some distance the grandest building in the hut-strip that is Budongquan.
Rather than head out into the cold of the plateau, they wisely reasoned that I constituted exotic wildlife, and spent the morning sticking lenses up my nose instead.
Thereafter, the deal was this: 20 km flattish uphill to the pass, then descend, descend, descend all the way to Golmud. This is the Qing-Zang Gonglu, the Qinghai-Tibet highway, paved and in perfect condition.
Too tired to eat last night, I began the day with empty legs and the 20 km to the pass were slow and tortuous. A flat rear tyre didn't help. I couldn't find a hole; the tube just seemed to have given up and split along a seam.
The Kunlun Shankou (pass) is signed as 4767 metres.
In Nachitai, the guesthouse was full; I found a bed in the Kunlun Mountain Spring mineral water bottling plant, which I will tell you all about another time.