Published: May 4th 2008May 2nd 2008
Ark beside my camp
Just before I set off from camp
What a crappy nights sleep I had again last night. I have made a deciscion to camp only when necessary or in places where it wil be a worthwhile experience ,for example in a great scenic spot or beside a river. Roadside camping is a bitch, so noisy and dodgy feeling. I think I slept for about 2hours last night.
So with a sleepy head on I brewed myself s double shot frappalattomochachino, or the closest thing I had, a double sachet nescafe 3 in 1, and packed up my tent and loaed up Ark. I had a quick camp shower using my water bottle and set off for Dongmen for a nice breakfast. I left just before 7am and the wether was great for cycling, warm, with a cool breeze and some mist on the mountains. All the local hill tribe farmers were just starting their working day, using tecniques that they and their anscestors have been using for generations to farm the land. Not long after leaving camp I met another group of Chinese cyclists heading the other way. They were headed from the border town and gave me a reliable distance to Dongmen using their cycle computers. Only 8km. Sweet. I'm not sure what it is with Chinese people, nay Asian people, but they are completely retarded at giving directions or judging distances. I apologise for stereotyping, but I am speaking from experience. If you are Asian and are good with directions, rest assured that you are a gifted individual! Through experience, its not uncommon to ask someone how far is XXXX only to be told '20km or so'. Then after riing another 30-40 Km you ask another person the same question and are met with the standard 'oh about 20km or so...'. Also today I asked a group of taxi drivers which of the roads at a crossroads I should take for a town that was 30km away. They all agreed I take the left turn, when in actual fact, as I realised after cyling 5km down the wrong road, I should have taken the right turn. These are guys who make a living out of driving around the area. Jeez!
After I arrived in Dongmen, I decided the fare on offer was a bit skanky and there wasn't anything that was really going to give me the carbs I needed for todays cycle, so I bought some bananas to save myself from the bonk. The bonk is a point you reach when you can't cycle anymore as you have used all your energy supplies and the fire has gone out. This is the point I reached today at 50km, before I had had breakfast. This was a total schoolboy error , I should have had breakfast in Dongmen. So I stopped in this little town and ate a hearty meal and rested for about an hour. before I set off again. This was another stupid mistake as it was now midday and the sun was pumping out at about 30 odd degrees C. When I asked how far the next town was I was met with the ubiquitous '20km or so...' and I foolishly believed it. I thought, ok, only 20kms, lots of time no problem, I can get there in an hour, another 70km day, not bad. The next part of the road turned out to be pretty hilly and the sun was so hot, I felt like I was riding through the Sahara after dropping an E. On top of this, my new cycling shorts became so wet that they began tearing away at my sexy buns, turning my lovely curves into a bloody mess. And I mean bloody in the adjective form, not the expletive form here. I spent the last 10km of the day walking like John Wayne uphill and speeding downhill like a giddy kid. Once I reached my destination, I dropped my bike to the ground, lay down on the concrete slab outside a little grocery store and ordered a cold beer from the girl who was working there. It felt like I was lying on a goosedown chaise' lounge waiting for my butler to bring me a glass of dom perrignon, when actually I was pretty much lying on the dirty ground waiting for my 20 pence beer. I felt great, I had battled through and made it to my destination. My short lived feeling of Nirvana was quickly sent spinning into disarray however when the shop worker informed me there were no rooms in town for me to stay at, contrary to what the direction retarded taxi drivers had told me earlier. The sun was all but down and I didnt want to camp again as I was sure I was on the verge of sun stroke ( i was pissing treacle and I was as red as santas hat - ironic since I was at my reddist point the day before leaving commie China..). The young lady told me I could go to another town down another road but it was 20km away. It meant backtracking but I decided to bite the bullet and arranged for a tractor to take me and the Ark the 20kms to the guest house. After I got to the hotel I was so happy to discover I had my own bathroom, tv and a fan all for 2 quid. I lay down on my bed, sore, burned, and content that I had got through today. I learned from my mistakes, I'm not going to try to do distances that I might not manage, to end up miserable and ruining this experience. Next time I will err on the side of caution and stay in the earlier town if I feel too tired. I lay down on my bed, and started to think about what I would have for dinner, when the thoughts suddenly turned into a dream and I was sleeping like a baby. The day was over.
trip distance 101km
time on bike 8hours 44 minutes
avg speed 11.54 km/h!!!!
max speed 47 km/h