Posts Tagged ‘Karakol’


Karakol meant late nights for me, and people that speak my language (so interesting conversations). Late nights meant a late start today, and a stress-free amble towards the Kazakhstan border.

The steep climb

The steep climb

I soon realised I would not make it before 18:00 when the border closes, so I took my time, and was able choose a camp for the last time in Krygyzstan high horse and yurt country. I had my last Kyrgyz yurt invitation, where I was given fresh milk, bread and honey, and my last view out over Kyrgyzstan.

View from my campsite

View from my campsite

Day 175. 0km. Karakol

Posted: November 1, 2015 in Cycling, Kyrgyzstan
Tags: , ,

“Chu, chu, chu!” This horse-speak for ‘go’. My horse wasn’t going anywhere, and the horseman guide indicated that I should hit the horse even harder with the stick he had given me. Finally we ambled along, up the valley, walled with stunning red rock faces, all the way to the hot-springs. A relaxing day off in Karakol.

Up the valley

Up the valley

The red valley

The red valley

Up the valley

Up the valley

Trying to go fast

Trying to go fast


Summary of today? Well, I made it alive, for which I am grateful. I have a lovely soft bed to sleep in, for which I am grateful. I had a cool night out on the town, inclusive dancing and music. And I am in Karakol. I have seen the YouTube clip ‘The Road from Karakol’ so many hundred of times. And now I am here – and really am stoked.

Entrance to Karakol

Entrance to Karakol

It is a shame that I have only seen the magic stretch of Issykul shoreline in the grey rain. I can imagine that the sandy beaches would be dazzling, and clear water might look blue with a bit of sun.

Issykul

Issykul

The last 30km into Karakol was dangerous – such maniac drivers.
I cycle concentrated.
My eyes are fixed to the road. When can I give the next pedal-stroke? Can I accelerate, or bump over the next pothole or mound of bitumen?
My ears are pricked. I hear a car. From in front? Behind? How far? What speed? What is the driver’s asshole factor (volume of motor and tyre noise)? I hear a horn. This means I am to steer straight for the soft sand on the side of the road. A horn means ‘I am coming through, and running over everything in my path.’ A horn is used in one of three circumstances:
1. I am approaching you (the cyclist) from behind, and another car is overtaking me. There is not enough space for everyone, so, you should head into the sand.
2. A car is coming from the opposite direction. There is not enough space for everyone, so you should head into the sand.
3. I am a complete wanker, and, even though there is no other car within hundreds of metres, I hate cyclists in general, and so you should head into the sand.
I made it to Karakol. Several people I have cycled with have been hit in Kyrgyzstan. I can see why.

While cycling through the undulating landscape, the mind wanders, and ponders some weird things. I have a question for readers of my blog. Can you explain the following? When the road leaves the lake shore, it undulates over the plains leading from the mountains to the lake. Crossing these plains, the road passes over little streams and rivers running from the mountains to the lake. Over and over again, I find myself climbing to the top of an undulation, crossing a stream, and then descending again. Why, oh why, are the streams running along the top of the undulations, and not the bottom?
Well, there. That is what keeps my mind occupied on these long trips. ☺


The world is a different place when you are well. The climbs are not long, the heat is not stifling, and the views are lovely. I skirted the Toktogul lake from on high, admiring its blue waters with a backdrop of rugged, dry, chalky mountains.

Toktogul lake

Toktogul lake

As Will had warned me, the road was not flat. I’m not sure why, but the road constantly went into the hills behind the lake, rising and falling, but affording beautiful views. By myself, I went at my own speed, and started at my own time – 6am. I have confirmed that I am a morning person. ☺

Morning

Morning


Will gets his nourishment from chocolate, chips and energy drinks. Oh. And eggs. Fruit is a big no-no, and most other healthy things. But I am the one with diahorrea – again. I have lost all shame. Emergency toilet stops on the side of the road with no place to hide from the traffic – no worries. I can shit anywhere – and do.

The view over the dam

The view over the dam

Today was up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down. We climbed above the dam wall, and then skirted the dam between 100 and 200m above the water. All in the blazing sun. It was beautiful, but, feeling sick, it seemed relentless – every 12% climb followed by a 12% drop.

Roadside restaurants popped up at 17km and then again at 55km. With no shade, we pushed on until about 4 to the one at 55km, at which point I flopped into the sofa, took some antibiotics, slept, and visited the toilet.

View from the toilet

View from the toilet

Tomorrow is another rest day. Kim and Will left – being on a tight schedule, but not before demolishing 8 eggs each.

8 eggs each

8 eggs each