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Day 64 - In Osh
September 25th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, Kyrgyzstan

Ugh. Slow internet. Internet that doesn’t work…

But finally I have found an internet cafe with decent internet. Once again, the photos are uploades, but I don’t have the time to put them into posts. But do check them out in the Photo Gallery section.

Right then, tomorrow I head for Tajikistan. At least 3000m altitude gain, 220km to cover. I have 5 days left on my Kyrgyz visa. It will be a mission, but it will be done. I doubt my ability to be able to do any updates for up to 15 days as I cycle the Pamir Highway from Osh (Kyrgyzstan) to Dushanbe (Tajikistan). But you can be assured that there will be some major adventure to read about once I do get to Dushanbe.

By the way, thank you all for your great encouraging comments on the site. They are really appreciated, and I am torn up not to be able to answer to all of them. I am looking forward to getting to Uzbekistan, where I can take it a little easier and spend more time on the website. At the moment, the highlands of Tajikistan (altitude 4000m plus) are on my mind and with cold weather approaching, it makes me all the more keen to get through the big mountains as soon as possible!

If you need something to mull over while I hoof it over ‘the roof of the world’, then take a look at this post and let me know if you know the answer.

Till my next post…

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Day 63 - From Jalalabat to Osh (English Summary)
September 24th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, Kyrgyzstan

Distance / 距離: 119.51km
Time / 時間: 7h 20m
Average speed / 平均速度: 16.3km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2914.2km

English summary: Feeling the pressure of my Kyrgyz visa end date (in 6 days time) I pushed for Osh and actully made it. Stoked.

かなり急いでいます。タジキスタンのビザ期間は5日間前に始まりました。キルギスにいてOKな期間はあとわずか6日間。しかし一応今日の目的は達成できました。長い一日でしたが、オシュに到着できました。

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Day 62 - From the foot of Kaldama Ashuu Pass to just before Jalalabat
September 23rd, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, Kyrgyzstan

Distance / 距離: 102.59km
Time / 時間: 6h 53m
Average speed / 平均速度: 14.9km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2794.7km

Once again amazed at the strength of this bicycle. Absolutely bombing it down the pass at between 30 to 40 km/h, hitting some fairly chunky rocks, and not a scratch…the suspension really comes into play in these situations. There have been many times on the trip so far that I am certain I would have bent a rim or broken a spoke if it had not been for the suspension. Also, even though the bike has abou 35kg of gear strapped to it, you’d never know it. It is extremely nimble, and the disc brakes are a real bonus too - you stop when you want to stop.

As for surroundings, I feel as though I have dropped into another country all together. Lush valleys with apple trees, walnut trees, and then wide valleys with sunflower plantations.

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Day 61 - From just past Kazarman to the foot of Kaldama Ashuu Pass (Englis Summary)
September 22nd, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, Kyrgyzstan

Distance / 距離: 34.31km
Time / 時間: 3h 45m
Average speed / 平均速度: 9.1km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2692.1km

English Summary: Stopped early at a good campsite at the foot of the zig zags. But more importantly, time for you mathematicians to put your thinking caps on. The question of the day is, can you work out the gradient of a road using the variables ‘velocity’ and ‘altitude gain’. Example: I am cycling at a speed of 5km/h, and I am gaining altitude at a speed of 8 metres per minute. What is the gradient of the road I am on? I thought it had something to do with the amount of fies buzzing around my head divided by pie….mmmmm, pie…

登る、登る!峠まであと700mのところにテントを午後4時に張りました。まだまだ乗る時間がありましたが、登る途中にテントの場所があるかどうかわかりませんでした。となりの農民によると狼がたまにいるから食べられるかもしれませんよ!

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Day 60 - Dodomol to just past Kazarman
September 21st, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, Kyrgyzstan

Distance / 距離: 76.80km
Time / 時間: 6h 01m
Average speed / 平均速度: 12.7km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2657.8km

My hopes for a nice long dowhill to Kazarman were dashed with a big fat pass in the middle. This did give me reason however to continue to marvel at the incredible piece of engineering that is this bike that I am riding on. The roads here are appalling. Very rocky, very bumpy. However, no matter how hard I ride the bike down these steep steep passes, the bike just laps it up. I am quite convinced that it is most entirely indestructable…

I sleep with no tent tonight. Just because.

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Day 59 - Jangi-Talap to just before Dodomol (English Summary)
September 20th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, Kyrgyzstan

Distance / 距離: 59.79km
Time / 時間: 5h 38m
Average speed / 平均速度: 10.6km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2580.8km

English Summary:Big 2800m pass with gravel road with big stones made for a big effort today. Sheesh, why do I choose these roads? (Because flat sealed roads are no fun!)

標高2800mの峠が今日のハイライトでした。ハイライトというか・・・道路が砂利道で手入れがほとんどないようでした。特にきついのは、水が流れたあとのところです。要するに、大きな石しか残らず、急なのぼり坂に、大きな石の上に自転車に乗ろうとするととても難しいわけです。何回もこけました・・・

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Day 58 - From Naryn to Jangi-Talap
September 19th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, Kyrgyzstan

Distance / 距離: 99.75km
Time / 時間: 5h 48m
Average speed / 平均速度: 17.2km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2521km

Generally downhill alll day, but a stiff headwind slowed progress slightly. Rain in the middle of the day made today the first day with rain since the downpour in Korea. This is a very dry place. I am amazed at the change in landscape here. The foothills seem to be made of dry mud, creating a miniature version of the mountains behind.

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I am alive and in Naryn…
September 18th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories

after an epic seven days to get here that included diahorrea, near starvation at the hands of Kyrgyzstan pasta (made in the pits of pasta hell), no roads, roads but no bridges, and dodgy information. I will try to get all the action updated today, but may not be able to get all the juicy pics up due to slow internet. Tomorrow I head to Osh, hopefully along more civilized roads!

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Day 55 - Archali to Tash Bashat
September 16th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, Kyrgyzstan

Distance / 距離: 78.49km
Time / 時間: 6h 33m
Average speed / 平均速度: 11.9km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2387km

Downhill? Despite the fact that the river I was following was flowing in the same direction as I was cycling, I spent most of the day slogging it up an incredulously steep road that went up and down to avoid the many bluffs that the river had carved into the valley. The river had gone from meyandering wide river to a narrow deep gorge, forcing the road sometimes 150m or so up from the river.

It was here in this gorge that I really began to sense the change in season. The trees had a definite tinge of yellow to them. Tajikistan with its 4600m passes came to mind. With this little wee adventure over the last week, my arrival in Tajikistan is sure to be much later than I had expected. Hopefully this won’t mean too many hassles with snowy roads…

Back to the present, today’s breakfast was dry pasta. Lunch was…well, lunch wasn’t, actually. At around 11am, I was invited in for tea and a small snack by a farming family, but apart from that and the last quater of the jar of Nutella, nothing. I’m not sure what has got me to Tash Bashat, but I think it was the rumour of a well stocked store. Tash Bashat would become the first place that I could buy food in about 6 days of travel.

Actually, I lie. In Eki-Naryn, a small town about 5km before Tash Bashat, I was able to buy some potatoes from a farmer who happened to be digging them up just as I was passing by. After some bartering, he agreed to sell eight medium sized potatoes to me for ten som. He originally wanted fourty.

Unfortuately Tash Bahshat did not have the cheese and butter that I so dearly wanted to go with my spuds, but at the small store I was able to buy some cheap fizzy cordial, three eggs, six carrots, and some chocolate. The chocolate by the way just wasn’t worth it. Cocoa flavoured lard is how I would describe it. Another Kyrgyzstan taste disaster.

Armed with these ingredients plus a fruit tomato that I was given by a woman as I passed, I made the most delicious vegetable soup/gruel I have ever tasted. Seasoning was thanks to that great Kazakhstan soup mix that I still have a mass stock of. For the first time in seven days, I ate my fill. An immense sense of satisfaction is floating around my head right now. Maybe I can manage this backcountry cycling thing after all…

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Day 54 - Downhill at last (English Summary)
September 15th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories, Kyrgyzstan

Distance / 距離: 62.46km
Time / 時間: 4h 38m
Average speed / 平均速度: 13.5km/h
Distance to date / 今日までの積算距離: 2308km

English Summary: Dry pasta for breakfast, lunch and tea made for another tough day physically, but oh man, check out the scenery (in the Photo Gallery). Just massive. Quite definitely makes all that hard work worth it.

今日はやっと回りの景色を楽しむことができました。ここからナリン町まではくだりばっかりだからある意味でリラクスできていました。そして確かに景色が圧倒的でした。壮大な高原の両脇に5000m級の山々が高原から真上に突き破る。高原に馬、牛、羊が共に暮らす。そして所々キルギスの野民が住むテント(ユルタ)があります。

しかし下りといっても、速度はそこまで早く出せませんでした。道路は4区ではないと通れないような道だったし、ほとんどの橋が流されていましたので何回も川に入ってわたらないと行けませんでした。その上、まだ体が食べ物不足で弱っています。今日の朝、昼、晩、3食はすべて生の(ゆでていない)パスタです。ゆでると本当に食べられなくなります。そこまでまずいです。味的なものはスープの粉です。お湯に入れて、オリブオイルを足すと以外においしい。

今現在食べたくてたまらないもの:一番は日本を出発する直前に、日本の親(高校のときにホームステーしたところのお母さんとお父さん)と一緒に食べたお寿司です。二番目はなぜかジャガイモ(チーズたっぷり)。三番目は日本のお母さんの料理(何でもおいしい)。

実は、謝りたいことがあります。僕が日本にいる間、なかなか納得できなかったのは、日本人の食べものに対するこだわりでした。テレビの電源を入れると必ずどこかのチャネルに料理に関する番組がやっていました。そこまでこだわらなくてもいいから!と僕がよく思っていました。しかし、わかってきたのは、そのこだわりは世界一おいしい食べ物につながっています。日本料理は間違いなく最高です。安いものでも、何でもおいしいからです。どうぞ、ご自由にこだわりつづけてください、日本。

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