(A mix of travel notes and comments added later)
10-09-2014 - Wednesday
First thought: It's 95km but flat'ish and after a good night's sleep in a hotel bed! See what I think about that later!
Later: It was as written up in the notes except instead of 95km it was more like 90km to the edge of town and a trundle into the Hotel.
The countryside was flat, with distant mountains, so it was up to the road to provide interest. We passed through quite a few villages, some old, some recent developments. Almost without exception the kids yell out "Hello" although constantly responding gave the throat, and my Tibet cough, a hard time. Unless they were close to the road I just waved in response after a while.
In one village an old guy came out of a side road on a motorbike and, realising he couldn't go forward, just stopped, parked completely across our side of the road. Luckily the bunch I was riding with managed to avoid him without an accident but it was close.
Notable that all the villages have camera surveillance.
The flat road meant we were averaging 25-30km/h which gave the support crew a shock. They'd set up to get lunch ready about 40km out of town but we were there before 11:00. Having just had a full breakfast at 8:30 nobody was hungry so lunch was deferred. Where we stopped a convoy of Land Rover cars, Range Rover and Evoque, pulled in (presume for the Loo!). Must have been someone important as had police escort. Perhaps they were inspecting the new development, middle of nowhere and you see earthmovers sculpting a mountain into something else (no idea what).
Was great to ride & chat with B again. Riding across the roof of the world talking about life, quantum physics, psychology and more was a unique experience!
Bas had tasked the lead group to find a lunch spot. They settled on a new concrete layby next to a school, some shops and a construction site. Interesting to watch the construction workers making bricks, aggregate mix into a mould & laid out by hand, and then they came and looked at the crazy cyclists.
A 2 stroke tractor putt-putt-putted up towing a trailer full of small school children. I reckon the ages were maybe 3-5? They were as curious about us as we were with them. Lunch was great, lemon squash drink, noodle soup and hand cut tent made (more accurate than homemade in this context) sliced potato chips!
Some of the views after lunch were spectacular, summer harvest featured.
On the approach to Xigaze there was a massive new road bridge arching up over the (also new) railway;
- First thought: 'Damn a hill'!
- Second thought: Oh, it's not finished so will have to ride the muddy diversion onto the old bridge.
Muddy it was with a mud/clay surface churned up by traffic and bumpier than it needed to be until I realised had not unlocked my front suspension! The bike now looks like it has been somewhere as gained a nice splattering of mud but I was really glad I had fixed that mudguard!
Closer to the city an overhead gantry was photographing every vehicle movement. Saw this on the outskirts of several larger towns.
After a re-group on the outskirts of town we rode into Xigaze following the bus like ducklings chasing their mum. The hotel is flash, large rooms and a endless corridor with sensor lights that come on as you walk along. Our room was at the far end and it was hard not to hum the Get Smart theme while walking down the corridor…
A few of us went for a wander around the ‘new town’ around our hotel. It didn’t take long to get over that as the area was all new bland buildings and deserted streets. There’s an intention to develop a major tourist centre here but hard to see what the attraction might be. I found another look-a-like car, not a BMW X3!
The restaurant buffet dinner was ok (not as good as camp food!) with lots of choice but, like many buffets, not very hot.
I dared to try the hotel laundry service, an exercise in mime and filling out the Chinese/English form. Hard to decide if bike shorts are underwear or shorts! I hope it comes back or will be completing the ride in thermals and swim shorts as that's all I have left!
Quote of the day:
Me: Nice Peloton leading B!” (as I passed her to get this photo from the front of the peloton)
B: “I was just riding, didn’t even realise they were there!”
Xigaze hotel bed altitude 3839.000 meters
Post 9. Resting in Xigaze (Shigaze)