Shit. This time, I was pushing my luck to far. And my bicycle. Two hours ago I was in a lovely city with hotels, supermarkets and flat roads. The thought of a night at a hotel wasn’t appaling too much.
I just left Kunming after lunch and was so happy to be back cycling. I didn’t want to stay at a hotel when I could camp. Get the whole feeling of being on tour.
Now I am in the middle of the mountains. Well… technically not the middle yet. For the middle I was missing another 5k or so. But I am 12k in. Far enough to feel like I was in the middle. Hard 12km. Beautiful 12km. Or, beautiful 9Km (3km were a busy G-road where I was either be run over by trucks or fall into the ditch if I didn’t keep my frontwheel perfectly straight).
And it’s getting dark – that’s the optimistic view. Actually it was almost dark. The paved road ahead is covered in rocks from a recent rock slide. My front wheel about to loose grip but at least I am cycling – and not leaning forward, pushing my bike as before. And some time after this.
During the sections that are nice to cycle, I get my noodles out and eat them like a cracker. It’s dinnertime, I need energy and I want to keep going.
So, almost dark – even for the optimistic – I get my headlamp out – which isn’t as bright as I remembered it to be. Sh… I turn it off. Whatever’s left of the battery life I will use to suss out my campsite and set my tent. But there is no campsite. Still. I remind myself I still have energy left. I can still do it. I started late with the cycling this day. So it wasn’t like I did 80k already. Actually, I left Fumin thinking, I would like to do at least 50k today and camp. But… To my left it goes down, to my right it goes up. The two flat tent-sized pieces of land I spotted where the entrance to a public toilet and a garbage site. Not appealing. The sky is getting darker and darker – it feels like it’s completely dark already but I know it will get pitchdark soon.
A truck is coming up behind me – I would love to stop it and ask for a ride, but the way his engine is working hard on the uphill, it probably won’t be able to keep driving if stopped. So on I go. My phone is out of battery by now but it doesn’t really matter as there is only one road anyw….
Oh – Sh…. the road devides into two sections. Should I go up or down? Time for a rest, while the very last bit of light slips away and the night sky with countless stars appears. I admire it while waiting for my phone to suck energy from the battery pack.
I still have energy. I can keep going. And I still have food and water left. I peptalk myself. Feeling devastated and stuck won’t help me anyway, so I might as well keep my spirits up. If needed I’d just cycle (and push) through the night. 55K to Jiashizhen. A city big enough to have a hotel to sleep all day. At my current average that’s just a bit more than 11hrs and chances are I find a campsite before.
And this is the moment, where I can hear it, waiting for my phone and calculating the time until I reach my destination in my head. Is it really coming out of my direction? I turn around and see the headlights of a car! Oh yeah! Smiling, I wave my hand in the way you do in Asia to stop a car, and it stops. I ask for help, for a lift. Hoping. Even if they would take me 10k I would be happy. Then it would be only 9hrs to my next destination and rest.
Long story short – my new friend tried to talk his boss into letting my camp at their construction site and ended up calling two work mates that gave me a lift back to Fumin while he was giving me advice for an alternative route. The road ahead was apparently closed for construction – which is why they were there.
Oh, and in case you are wondering:
#436 is ordering insane shoes from Taobao#438 are awesome, 24hrs Spas with party-dinner-buffets (not dinner-party-buffet, it really way party-dinner)– you will learn more about that later in this blog. Promise!