Went for walkabout this morning into the local market. All kinds of things for sale from local household items to clothes to Buddhist prayer wheels. Bought a big Yak bell, some old coins, and other sundries.
Awoke to clear blue sky, 3 degrees. Had brekkie and took off around 9am. Warmed up quickly to low 20’s.
95km ride. Start altitude about 4043m. Max 49.6. Cal 2913.
Lost 77m and gained 42m. Tibetan flat.
What a night. Hail and high winds, flapping, buffeting and clawing at the tents, it felt like we were at risk to blow away. Dawn brought -1 degree, frost and a cloudless azure blue sky. Completely still. Ate breakfast outside in the sun.
OMG we had a high altitude Tibetan flash mob at breakfast!
The last team to do the trip, only 3/17 made the pass on yesterday’s epic ride but we all made it!!
5 degrees at start of day, peaked at about 12.
Started a bit later this morning. Coffee at 730. While organizing, breaking down camp and getting ready I decided not to ride today – my URTI has settled a bit in my chest. Perry and Farid kept me company. We rode with Dorje in the jeep listening to tunes. Stopping every few km to shout encouragement to the riders.
1300m elevation climbed – 23km.
Peak altitude 4800m (effectively at the top of Mt. Blanc).
At the top there were hugs and tears. Farid brought out the prayer flag and we all signed our prayers on it and then hung it with the thousands of other prayer flags.
Started at 10c and peaked about 17c, partly cloudy.
For those of you with an itinerary THROW it out! This is Ox’s show now. WOOHOO.
We did 85km today, average speed 21km. Ride was Tibetan flat – so we lost about 119m of elevation and then gained it back and added a bit more cause why not? We are at nearly 3600m. Mike was awesome – he pulled the last 40km so that Dale, Dave and I could draft; heaven given the incredible head wind that came up after lunch. We followed the river downstream and then upstream. Th mountains were glorious in the distance. Calories burned: 2611.
Partly Cloudy, 18 degrees.
Snow on the surrounding mountains.
We bought a Bodum French Press in Kathmandu, and some Himalayan Java – so i woke the boys to a nice cup of java.
Post breakfast we went for a great ride – about 15k, past the Palace – just to limber up, and make sure that all the parts of the bike were as needed, adjusted, seat (family jewels) etc. Farid, master of the selfie, took a brilliant photo – you will notice Dave isn’t in it….that is because he ran the red light much to the dismay of the traffic cop!
Partly cloudy, started at about 12 degrees but was 20 or so by the time the sun hit us full on.
Today we went to the Potala Palace, former location of the Tibetan government, and former winter residence of the Dalai Lama. It is 13 stories from the 130m Red Hill, and has more than 1000 rooms; more than 1000 steps to get to the top. The building started in the 7th century and was dramatically expanded in the 17th century.
It is an incredibly important Buddhist site. The local Tibetan people start walking around the Palace at about 430am and walk around the palace three times (about 30 min per lap) before breakfast. Many Tibetans come to worship and provide offering of butter (important for reincarnation) and money.
We had telephone calls at 1 am and 350 am, and a door knock at 4 am to be sure we were up and on our way to the Chengdu airport. We got checked in and then noticed my name in lights on the big billboard – turns out there was a lithium battery left in one of the checked bags (not allowed anymore). Smooth flight and this time we landed in Lhasa! We were met by our guide Dorje. All the luggage arrived and away we went .The airport is about 60 km from town – very modern road, some high rises (unexpected).
What a day today.
Up and at it early, getting packed up. Picked up for the airport at 9. Was overweight so owed some money. Had a good back and forth with the agent and the final cost came down to 330USD cash, which disappeared into a wallet…….just saying.
Great views from the plane. 8000M peaks clearly seen above the clouds! We circled and circled Lhasa and eventually flew another two hrs to Chengdu. Unable to land in Lhasa as it’s a visual approach and there were too many clouds.
On the ground in China a Brit turned to us and said why did we land here and not there? Apparently hungover and missed the whole ordeal with no idea why we were in Chengdu.
Air China looked after us. Put us up in a hotel and fed a buffet style dinner of many spicy largely unidentifiable food. Good beer. Bed. Woke up at 4am to try to fly black to Lhasa.