Thursday, July 16, 2009
This morning we used the last of our fuel,but it didn't matter as we had nothing left to cook. We rode downhill and then the sound of passing traffic came into range. Came around a corner and rode back up on asphalt. We were back on the main road between Osh and Bishkek. Both of us agreed it was the hardest thing we had ever done. For me it was the river crossing, for Markus it was taking the bike down the glacier. We ate 2 main courses and a loaf of bread each in the first restaurant we found. We were still a long way from our destination, Bishkek. If fact we were still closer to Osh. And although we were back on asphalt, the adventure was far from over. We still had two passes to climb before reaching the capital and these would be the highest passes I've ever crossed by bicycle. Theres something really special about cycling over passes like this. At first they seem almost impossible as you stare up at the snow peaked inhospitable terrain ahead. You may be able to make out a line of pylons as they rise over the mountains. You scan the region trying to see which route your road will take you. As you get closer, you may be able to see distant trucks crawling over the landscape. If their is a strong smell off the brakes of the oncoming trucks, you know you have a while to go before you get over the upcoming pass. You stand on the pedals; rocking the bike left and right as the temperature continues to drop. The sight of an radio mast, the increase in wind speed, the sound of a truck making a gear change are all signs that the summit is close. From the top you see whats on offer for tomorrow. Even if the view isn't spectacular,its worth taking a photo because of the effort it took. You put on a jacket and free wheel down that road with the brake levers firmly held....... Ah who am I kidding? Its my left arm that is hurting more than my legs. And the reason for this is because I'm spending more time holding onto the back of slow moving trucks, than I spend pedalling up the mountainside.