Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Pre-Lhasa
The stress of the past 24 hours has been immense. While the plane ride to Hong Kong and Chengdu were incident free, my arrival at Sim’s Guesthouse brought a bombshell: trouble in Tibet. For the past six months the journey I had been planning was accessible to cyclists. Today, it appears, it is not.
Apparently two [...]

Distance – 20kms
Β
Max Alt – 3600m
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Riding Time – 1 hour

Lhasa is spectacular, including the flight in where you weave through massive valleys. In the three or four hours I had been in Lhasa I managed to get the bike box on to a rickshaw (didn’t thrill the driver but I was coming [...]

Distance – 110kms
Max Altutide – 4300m
Riding Time – 4.5 hours
Wanted to have a solid hit out today before starting the trip proper and certainly achieved that. I chose Ganden Monastery for three reasons:

It looked spectacular, set high on the side of a mountain
It was about the right distance
It has a nasty climb and rose to [...]

Distance – 90kms
Max Alt – 3600m
Riding time – 4 hours

The first real day on the road. Being relatively
short, and on paved, flat roads, I set of at 11am
rather than the preferred early start. Before leaving I visited the Jokhang Temple in the Barkhor, and was confronted with absolute pandemonium with pilgrims everywhere. [...]

Distance – 85kms
Max Altitude – 4810m
Riding time – 6 hours

Zero sleep last night – who said camping was peaceful. The barking of dogs was incessant and a few times I could hear their breathing right outside my tent. I tried not to breathe, but they knew I was there.
Woke up this morning to two nice [...]

Distance – 110kms
Max Altitude – 5040m
Riding time – 6 hrs 15 minutes
I have never come so close to crying on a bike.
But more on that later.
If the dogs the night before had robbed me of sleep, the management, guests and tradesman at the `Clean Hotel’ (it’s actual name) more than matched them. They shouted, sang, [...]

Distance – 100kms
Max Altitude – 4000m
Riding time – 4 hours
One of the most enjoyable days I have ever had on a bike. In stark contrast to yesterday, the road was paved, the terrain flat and the wind barely noticeable. The first 40kms in particular were a dream: people sifting barley in the fields, horses and [...]

Rest Day

After 5 days and 500kms today was scheduled for a rest day. Shigatse is also the last civilisation between here and Kathmandu so I was keen to stock up on food, get laundry up to date and enjoy conversation with other English speakers. In the morning I came across an intense pool game on [...]

Distance – 140kms
Riding time – 7 hours 40 minutes
Max Altitude – 4550m
An epic from start to finish – one of the most satisfying days I have had on the bike. Left Shigatse at 9am and began the slow pedal uphill and upwind. The scenery was extremely barren, and remained so for the whole day, with [...]

Distance – 100kms
Max Altitude – 5300m
Riding Time – 6 hours

And I thought yesterday was tough. Six hours of riding, nearly 1500m of vertical and a trip high peak altitude of 5300m. I left at 8.30am hoping to get breakfast in Lhatse, but nothing was open. Shortly after Lhatse I went through my first serious checkpoint, [...]