29 November 2011
Quite a ride today. I've had a heads up to expect three biggish climbs. When I cross a little blip of a climb early on, I'm uncertain whether it counts. I'm right to assume it doesn't.
The first climb kicks off at around 24km and takes me up 500m or so over the next six or seven kilometres. Fortunately, I've just taken on both water and Coke from a roadside truck stop staffed by a friendly lady.
Pretty much all of the elevation gain is lost in the descent. Then up again, for a very similar climb to the first. I feel this one a bit more, due to being further in. During this climb, I make it through 1000km on the bike from Kunming.
Descend again. Fortunately, I don't lose all my gains before the third climb begins, and it consequently feels very manageable. I top out the final climb on an anonymous bend in the road. I just know the remaining 13km are going to take me to the end. I chamber the round, and pull the trigger. My speed barely falls beneath 30km/h until I roll into Mengla traffic.
I'm a wee bit familiar with Mengla after passing through on last year's trip to Laos with my sister. I elect to get past the town centre so I can roll easily out of town tomorrow. The first hotel I stop at refuses to take me, but this works out in my favour as they send me round the corner to a business hotel that has in-room internet access. Bonus.
My last supper doesn't quite go as planned. All the Dai restaurants I find are dark and pokey, and I want to eat outside. I approach an outdoor stall that I'm expecting to sell fried rice and barbecue, but it's selling mala tang - a kind of DIY soup that's notorious for being unsafe to eat. Still, it's edible and they have cold Harbin Beer. Part of me wants to continue to be contrary and go for dessert at Dico's, a home grown KFC knock-off that I've never eaten at, but I can't bring myself to do it.
98km, 18.2km/h, 5hr24min, 1040km