Monday, June 21, 2010

China (Sichuan)

26 April 2010 / Shangri La to Camp Site @Km 62 / 66km / Total 5768km
When we left Shangri-La, it was snowing and very cold. We had to cycle approx. 30km gentle uphill and when we arrived at the top, we stopped at a nice and warm police check-point. We were offered Yak-butter tea and tsampa. We had our wet feet and socks dried at the warm stove and finally did a total of 66km and found a nice place for camping.
Leaving Shangri La 

On the road again

 Getting ready for some Yak butter tea

Preparing Yak butter tea

Camp site

27 April 2010 / KM 62 to KM114 / 52km / Total 5820km
Today we climbed for the first time a pass with more than 4000m altitude. Luckily the weather was beautiful and it was realy nice, but the last few hundered meters were very hard. I had to stopped several times to get enough breath and I had to slow down as much as possible.
Beautiful weather whilst climbing first time higher than 4000m.a.s.L

28 April 2010 / KM 114 to KM192 / 78km / Total 5898km
So far the hardest day ever. Soon after we left camp, the road went from asphalt to unpaved and later turned into mud. During quite some time we had to push the bicycles through the heavy mud. After reaching the top of the pass we had only a small downhill and the climb stared again. This time we escaped just by minutes from a heavy snow storm. Anyway, when we reached the camposite after 1,5 hours riding downhill on a unpaved road in the night, we very happy that our friends, Chris and Christoph already had the fire going and the dinner was ready as well.

Pushing the bicycles trough the mud

Climbing over 4000m.a.s.L

At the top


29 April 2010 / KM 192 to Xiangcheng / 30km / Total 5928 km
Today we had a beautiful and easy ride through a very nice valley with loads of Tibetan style houses. We spent some time for lunch and when we rode into Xiangcheng, we decided to stay in a Hotel tonight in order to wash our clothes, have a shower and rest our legs for the next days climbs.

 Get some hot water on the road from the locals

Easy cycling today

Village kid

30 April 2010 / Xiangcheng to KM 265 / 43km / Total 5971 km
We knew that today we would have to climb only. We decided to climb to an altitude of approx 3200m a.s.L and then take the pass to Sangdui the next day. We planned to meet Chris Strongman and Christoph again Sangdui.

Camp site on the way to Sangdui


01 May 2010 / KM 265 to Sangdui / 44km / Total 6015 km
We did it , we passed the 6000km today. In Sangdui we again Chris Strongman and Christoph. We checked into a nice guesthouse and had a good, strong meal. In Sangdui we saw for the first time the locals selling Himalayan Viagra. (kind of worm which they sell to the chinese).

 On top of the pass 4708m a.s.l.

 Christoph and Strongman having dinner

Woman in Sangdui

Street vendors in Sangdui

02 May 2010 /Sangdui to KM 391 / 84km / Total 6099km
Nice ride over 2 mountains and a nice lake inbetween. We met again the 2 guys at lunch time and after 84 km we put our tent's on a beautiful river bank. We had some very special but tasty soup for dinner in a near by restaurant.
lunch time

One more done

Very cold on top of pass

 camp site before arriving in Litang

Typical dinner 

03 May 2010 /KM 391 to Litang / 40km / Total 6139km
We had an easy ride today, we had first a gentle climb and the all the way down to Litang which is one of the highest cities in the world. Approx. 4000m a.s.l. We checked in at the Potala-Inn Guesthouse. Nothing special but seems to be the only choice in town.
 Yak skull


04/05 May 2010 /Litang rest days / 0km / Total 6139km
We spent 2 rest days in Litang. We had our bikes and clothes washed and we did some maintenance on the bikes. We visited the birth place of the 7th Dalai Lama and also the local Monastery. Litang seems full of local peoples selling kind of a worm which is used for Chinese medicine. (Kind of Viagra).


06 May 2010 /Litang to Workerscamp/ 30km / Total 6169km
Today I had my first real dog attack in Tibet. While riding uphill out of Litang, passing the Police Check-point, suddenly 3 dogs (luckily not very big ones) attacked me. One of the dog bit 2 times my front bag and then wanted to bite me into my feet. I could get out of the click pedal and with a strong kick to his head, the dog fell over and let go. The 2 other dogs finally stopped and I found myself without breath at 4000m a.s.l and this all uphill. For the night we stayed at a workers camp, but slept in our tent.

Somewhere between Litang and Kanding

07 May 2010 / Workerscamp to Yajiang / 50km / Total 6219km
We had an easy ride today; we had first a gentle up and down and the final climb over a pass with 4659m altitude. On the way down to Yajiang (some 30km downhill) we met a lot of Chinese cyclist all of them on the way from Chengdu to Lhasa. We reached Yajiang at approx. 14:00 and went straight for lunch. It took us until 17:30 to find a place to spend the night.
Hotel room

8/9 May 2010 / Yajiang rest day / 0km / Total 6219km
We decided to have a rest day in Yajiang. We had some tough climbing done in the last days and will have some more climbing to do.

10. May 2010 / Yajiang to Checkpoint / 40km / Total 6259km
At 7:00 we left Yajiang and we had to climb a total of 50km today, we had first a gentle up from 2500m to 3500m and then final climb over a pass with 4412m altitude. We did some good progress but around 14:00 and after 41km it started to rain. Luckily we were just in front of a check point and decided to wait here at the warm stove until the rain stops. Unfortunately the rain turned into snow and we decided to spent the night here at the check point. The guys were so friendly to let us pitch our tent in the car shelter and gave us some nice dinner.
 Check-point where we spent the night

 11. May 2010 / Checkpoint to Xinduqiao / 50km / Total 6309 km
We woke up this morning and it was freezing cold. It had snowed all the night and the landscape around us was all white. The guys from the Checkpoint invited us for breakfast (noodles and tsampa) and around 9 we left the place. We reached the top of the pass (4412m) after a 1,5 hour climb and made it for lunch into Xindugiao. The rain started again and after lunch we decided to stay here for the night.

On top of another pass

Monicas prayer flags

12. May 2010 / Xinduqiao to Kanding / 80km / Total 6389km
We made breakfast in the kitchen of the Hotel by ourselves (Toast and coffee). At around 8 we were on the road and started our 43km climb towards the pass. Again we met a lot of Chinese cyclist all on the way to Lhasa. We reached the top of the pass at 14:00 and the rest was nice downhill (on the recently new paved road) into Kanding. We stayed at a guesthosue  run by a Tibetan family.  The room was very nice, and clean.

Our last big pass before arriving in Chengdu 

We made it to the top

And now its all downhill

13. May 2010 / Kanding to Luding / 50km / Total 6439km
We had a late start today because we slept so well in that place with the electro blankets. Around 10 we left Kanding and made it to Luding some 50km down the valley. We checked into a Hotel and started to wash our clothes and dried the tent which still was wet from the last time we used it in the snow.
Monica trapped into Yaks

14. May 2010 / Luding  to Ya an / 114km / Total 6553 km
Today we had to climb our last pass including go through a tunnel of 4.5km lenght. All the way we met a lot of chinese cyclist on their way from Chengdu to Lhasa.

Chinese cyclist on the way from Chengdu to Lhasa

15 to 27 May 2010 / Chengdu / 0km / Total 6553 km
We were stuck in Chengdu for nearly 2 weeks due to the paper work for the permit to go into Tibet. Most of the time we spent with sleeping, eating, internet and of course the visit of the famous Pandas.
Panda in Chengdu

Chengdu seems to have Pandas everywhere

China (Yunnan 2nd part)

08 and 09 April 2010 / Hong Kong to Dali / 0km / Total 5134km
At 03:30 in the morning we took the Bus from Hong Kong to the Chinese Border and then with a Taxi we continued to Shenzen Airport. Our flight from Shenzen to Kunming was 1,5 Hour and around 10:00 we arrived at the bicycle shop to pick up our bikes. With the bus we went back to Dali where we had stored all our luggage during our stay in Hong Kong. We also went to Xiaguan to buy 2 new front panniers for my bicycle because the ones I bought in Kunming (i.e. for 30 Euros) did not lasted 1 day.

Proud owner of a new pair of front paniers

 Downhill somewhere between Lijang and Shangri-La

10 April 2010 / Dali to Eryuan / 50km / Total 5228km
We left Dali after an early breakfast with Alejandro. A Chinese Cyclist we met in Dali.  He will travel with us to Lijang. We had an easy way today, all the way flat and with strong tail wind. We arrived for lunch in Eryuan which is famous for its hot-springs. We checked in at a Hotel with a big pool for 80Y and spent the afternoon with bathing, reading and sleeping.

On the way to Dali

11 April 2010 / Eryuan to Baihanchan / 98km / Total 5326km
Easy ride today from the hot springs to the bottom of a pass which we have to climb tomorrow in order to reach Lijang.

Roadside chinese worker!

12 April 2010 / Baihanchan to Lijang / 48km / Total 5374km
The so far most beautiful climb we had so far. We had very nice weather and the road ( closed for trucks and big vehicles) was just awesome. At the top (2800m) we could even see the snow mountains.

13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20 April 2010 / Lijang / 98km / Total 5472km
We stayed the first few nights in Lijang old town, but then moved to a small place called Suhe were we stayed in a beautful small Guesthouse ( called NOMAD). We had several meetings with Hutch and the Groupe in order to prepare our trip to Tibet. We also went with some Cyclist to Weihan Lake for camping. It was a very nice ride although we had to climb a pass all on dirt road for more than 24km and 3200m. We also went for a 2 day hike to the Tiger Leaping Gorge, which just was awesome.

Arrived in Lijang

Lake Weihan (3200 m.a.s.l.)

Camping at Weihan Lake

21 April 2010 / Lijang to Tiger Leaping Gorge / 83km / Total 5555km
We met Chris, Christoph at 09:00 just outside Lijang. The came with the Groupe ( Hutch and several Chinese cyclist) to say good by to us. We rode with Chris and Christoph until the entrance of the Tiger Leaping Gorge. After some coffee, we were looking for a Hotel whilst Chris and Christoph are riding through then Gorge and take an alternative route to Shangri La.
Tiger Leaping Gorge

Crossing the river at the end of tiger leaping gorge

22 April 2010 / Tiger Leaping Gorge to Xiazohongdian / 64km / Total 5619km
We laft the Gorge at around 8:30 and did the first 20 km without any problem. At around lunchtime it started to rain and we stopped at a House and asked for hot water. We had an Ovomaltine, put our rain gear on and off we went until the top of the plateau which is at some 3300 m. It was quite foggy and the rain did not stopped until we reached a small Guesthouse in Xiazohongdian. They had a very nice fire place and we left all our wet clothes and shoes overnight under the stove for drying.
One of the few rainy days

23 April 2010 / Xiazohongdian to Shangri La / 83km / Total 5702km
The whole ride we had rain and it was quite cold. But the landscape has changed completely. We are now riding on a plateau at 3300m a.s.L. We saw for the first time some big Yaks. We found a small Guesthouse in the old town with a nice fire place. We had our clothes washed and did some reading and internet in the afternoon.
Taking out the engine on the road!

24 /25 April 2010 / Shangri La /rest days / 0km / Total 5702km
We spent 2 days in Shangri-La. Most of the time the weather was not nice at all and the sun we hardly ever saw. We met Chris , Christoph and Hannah in Shangri_La. We will ride with them together until Litang.

Shangri La

Nice Tibetan restaurant in Shangri La (with Christoph and Hannah)