Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday- The Day After the 5000m pass

We have arrived in Gyantse yesterday afternoon after the first 4 days of cycling, with 3 nights camping. Where to begin I am not really sure. The first 2 days of cycling were mostly flat, and it was hot during the day so we could cycle in shorts and t shirts. We covered around 50km on day 1 and 2. The third day we did 75km and things started to get steep. Long hills, with army trucks whizzing by.

However yesterday was what it was leading up to. Our first 5000 m pass. Everyone was very nervous and to make matters worse it was all dirt track that in many places was muddy. We started at 9am and the first 13km was the lead up. Then we were into it. It was 13km up from 3900m to 5000m. It took me just under 2 hours ( slow by any standard- but can not get enough air and so steep). I have never done anything so difficult in my life. Breathing was hard,peddling was hard. On the way the scenery was spectacular and I herded sheep, goats and yak on my bike to clear a path. But was I glad to see the summit. When I got there I burst into tears it was so hard. It was freezing at the top and we waited for the rest of the group. Then it was downhill for 13km, and 20km into town.

By the the time we arrived into town my body was seriously shutting down. It rained on the way in and I was covered in mud. Thankfully it was a hotel for the next 2 days, so warm showers and bed was heaven.

Total km count to date is 250. Today was spent recovering,visiting a monastery and getting laundry done. Tomorrow we leave for Shigatze a 90km ride. We stay there for 2 nights and then it gets serious. We have 5 more passes like yesterday to make..Lessons learned are, everyone has to go at their own pace and music helps.

Everyone in the group is holding up well, although the 2 Bike Friday riders both had a fall on the muddy down hill track- nothing serious.

The scenery is spectacular, and as we climbed higher whole villages of people would come out of their fields and houses to greet us and look at this strange group of people riding up the mountain. That is a really amazing thing to experience.

More to come...


Erika said...

Hi Monique, congratulations on making it through that first part. Love hearing your updates and please stay safe. Love Erika xo

neeltje said...

no one promised it would be easy ;-)

keep all the spirits up high, good luck on your next heavy part,
thinking of you
with love from Holland, Roen & Nel

neeltje said...



Bears held in cages for bile extraction- a cruel and unneccessary prctise

Bear in cage