The first five days have been a challenge and not in the cycling sense. Whilst I have been over the might Khamba La and the Karo La pass, the first of the five 5,000 metre passes it has been in the support vehicle.
After a fantastic ride out of Lasha, following the river up through the valley I fell slain to the stomach bug. Not able to make it from my tent to pick up my bike from the truck with out ducking into the tent loo let alone up the pass, it was in tears that I had to sit in the back of the 4×4.
The black ribbon of the Khamba La pass revealed itself as it wound up the open baron brown basin. All 23 kilometres could be seen from start to end. The fastest up of our group was in 2 hours 15 mins, while many crawled up dealing with the enormity of it and the reduction of air. A triple ring was the key on the day.
The fluttering prayer flags and dressed up yaks was a sight to climb for. As was the sight of Nazin Kang Sa (7252m) protruding its white peak above the horizon over Yamdrok Tso bright blue lake.
Day 3 of riding; I again hoped to be on the bike and ride my first 5,000 metre pass but the bugs in my tummy had a party the night before and it was not going to happen. As the icy winds closed in on the rest of the group and the numbers jumping in the support vehicle I questioned the difficulty of this trip. It wasn’t for the faint hearted. This was an expedition.
So bad, I was taken on to a hotel and after two days in warmth and sanitation, rehydrating using my Maxifuel Viper Active I felt good enough to ride. Tiny children, ingrained in mud yelled ‘hello’ on the side while the only obstacles to manoeuvre was horse and cart as farming life hummed around me.
A bridge under re-construction meant a river crossing. My feet were already blocks of ice, so instead of getting wet I tried to negotiate hitching a lift across on a horse while putting my bike on the cart. The farmer was having none of it. A kind orange truck driver, usually beeping us off the road, threw me and my bike in the front cab and delivered me dry to the other side.
Now it’s on to The North Face Everest Base Camp.