Posts Tagged ‘Erchu’

Day 226. 72km. Erchu – Geka

Posted: December 24, 2015 in China, Cycling
Tags: , , ,

Today the sun shone, the road was immaculate, and I climbed into the heavens. A 1100m climb and a 1650m drop. These mountains are big!

High mountains

High mountains

The climb followed the valley to the north, which meant I had no wind – or tailwind. The road climbed, rising higher and higher over the river a long way below. Higher peaks poked over the horizon, and even rugged snow-capped peaks in the distance.

Farm

Farm

Temple in the sun

Temple in the sun

Temple in the distance

Temple in the distance

The drop was enormous, and quite steep as I followed a fast flowing river. The headwind kept my speed in check. I am in the last village before the now infamous ‘bad road’. Everyone shakes their head in disbelief that I intend to cycle it. I have been told it is 40km to the summit. I am now at 2500m, and I suspect the summit is at about 4500m. It is going to be a hard day tomorrow – a hard day in beautiful sunny weather.

Some twists and turns

Some twists and turns


‘That road is impossible!’
‘The road to Shangri La is back where you have come from.’
I get warnings of people indicating a near vertical climb on rocks and through mud. This is sounding worrying. Following the insider tip from my hotel manager.

View from my abode

View from my abode

The main road from Daocheng to Shangri La is a mudbath. I spent 12 hours in a bus on it from Daocheng to Shangri La and 12 hours back. 300km in 12 hours. The valley is very beautiful with some massive, massive climbs.

Shangri La was my well-earned rest and recreation. I ate western food to my heart’s content, and hung out in cafes, sipping tea as the sun shone in through the window. I was forced to stay there for 4 days waiting for my visa extension. I’m glad I was forced. ☺

Me and my cat

Me and my cat

The alternate road to Shangri La so far is great. The perfect, brand new road meant that I hardly noticed climbing over the 4500m high pass (despite the standard headwind). I am staying in a Tibetan family’s house. The main room is amazing. All vanished wood, from floor to walls to ceiling, there are three massive pillars along the centre line of the room. The wood stove takes an important place on one side, with an ornate Tibetan painted carving on the wall behind.

I watched on in curiosity as various activities were carried out, including separating cream from milk. What a different life they lead.

Separating the milk

Separating the milk

Another 4500m

Another 4500m