Posts Tagged ‘Kara Balta’


No photos today. Just a hot straight, boring road along the plains to Bishkek. Now its time for a well earned rest, staying at the touring cyclists’ hangout – the AT Guesthouse.


I come out of the tunnel at around 3200m and start my descent. I pull up at the first curve and my jaw drops. It’s incredible. Jagged, rich red mammoth mountains, rising at almost impossible angles. The road winds its way out of sight, and far, far below – almost out of eye-sight – between the two mountain precipices – it appears. That is where I’m going.

The road down to Bishkek

The road down to Bishkek

Climbing up steep passes, 4km/h is the norm. If it is steeper, it is still 4km/h. This pass was 1000m in about 10km, and so it was much quicker to climb than the other pass (which took 60km to climb its 2000+ metres). Also, it was quite satisfying, as you could see the whole climb from the beginning – winding its way up the steep wall of mountains. Sitting at the top, I could follow the curves with my eye, reliving every pedal-stroke.

The view back over yurt valley

The view back over yurt valley

The potholed, unventilated tunnel, is well known amongst cyclists. Some sneak through it (although it is not allowed). I was quite happy to take a lift through it, to emerge all ready to descend at the other end.

The road down to Bishkek

The road down to Bishkek

The road down to Bishkek

The road down to Bishkek

The descent was not too rapid as there was a gale-force wind howling up the valley, which abated when I reached the plain. And, my, the plains were hot. Any plans of pushing on to Bishkek were abandoned as I sat, looking outside at the heat, from an air-conditioned service station.