– ODO- 13815 – 13910km
– Location- Down by the River, Gil Bazaar, Nepal
– Weather- 21-36
I’ve had a challenging morning. Last night I met a fellow cyclist called Scott and spent almost an hour talking by the side of the road. As we parted the clouds began to build and I decided to camp then and there. I slept lightly as monkeys shook the trees and ocasional rounds of drizzle threatened the clouds would break. They never broke but as I felt the first rays of sun come through the mosquito net I climbed reluctantly out and continued the 1000m climb to the my final pass in Nepal.
The climb wound up the mountain side with newly finished curves of smooth asphalt. I settled in and reached the summit elated. Soon the spell was broken on the decent. Sweeping round the corners and breaking hard I heard the tell tail ping if a spoke breaking, followed by the rhythmic rubbing of the warped wheel against the frame. I rolled onto the verge and emptied out my bags. In an attempt to save weight while I was in Turkey I’d ditched the two specialised tools you need to take off the back cogs. Any other spoke can be changed with out even removing the wheel. but – of course – the culprit today was on the drive side of the rear wheel. Here the spokes are shorter, steeper and take more load so are more prone to break first. All I could do was tighten the opposing spokes and continue on, taking the corners with a little less vigor.
I hit the flats and the sun hit me back. 32 then 33 then 34 degrees on my watch. I followed the road blindly. Weaving through roadworks of soft sand. A strong headwind pulling the prayer flags against their bamboo poles. Finally a hotel comes into view and I pull off to dry off and have lunch. I look at my watch 85km, not bad. Then I look at the map. Instead of heading east towards Lao I’d spent the last half of the morning heading south towards the Indian border. What a waste. Now I have to decide if I retrace my steps – the most demoralising thing on a tour – or risk cutting north east on sandy village roads. Neither option is appealing.