13 April 2011
When is this climb going to end? I'm ascending a pass by bicycle over the Gaoligongshan range in western Yunnan. It feels like I've been doing it forever.
The day's ride began in Luzhang 鲁掌, at around 1750m in elevation. The sun's out, the UV strong, and there's the ethereal blend of bright light and cool mountain air. Except I'm not feeling it. I'm producing enough heat to power a small town. It's steep, and I'm down in my lowest few gears. My head's throbbing in my bike helmet, Explosions In The Sky instrumentals wander in through my headphones. I see the road over the pass far in the distance, and much higher up. I could fly off the planet.
A twig in the road moves. Is it a worm? Giant twig worms crawling all over the road. Slimy. And all in my mind.
The surface is in good repair, traffic is light. After 32km of nearly all uphill, the surface turns to cobblestones. The summit follows after 6km on the rough stuff. It's cold and windy at 3100m.