– The adventures of a solo round the world cyclist –

Day 584 (Nepal Day 10)

I have completely wrecked my body through nine hours of intense physical exercise. It started at 7.15am when I clipped my left rear Ortlieb pannier to my bike, donned three layers and a pair of gloves, and started cycling out of Taplejung. I was surprised to discover that what I thought of as Taplejung was only a minor part of the actual settlememt. The road took me past what might be considered the busy centre of town. Pretty quickly the bitumen road gave way to a rocky, dusty/muddy track and I resigned myself to the thought that I might not be able to reach my target: Pathibhara Devi Temple. I didn’t really mind as I thought that any time spent exploring this amazing land is time well spent. As I rode on, the ever-present peak of Pathibhara continued to grow larger and I began to think I was in for a chance of making it.

I rode hard for about four hours, reaching the end of the road just before midday. I smashed down six bananas, locked up my bike, then set out on foot. It took about two hours to hike speedily to the top. It hurt me to push myself so hard, both physically (I got nausea and a pounding headache) and mentally (I really began to wonder why I bother putting myself through this kind of trauma), but the higher I got the less relevant these woes became, for my mind became filled with wonder at the magnificent view. Such a magical land. I didn’t have much time at the top though. I raced around filming, devoured a bunch of apples and biscuits, sat still for a few moment to appreciate where I was, then began the descent. I basically jogged down the mountain. I was feeling really fit and tough until I saw one of the most impressive physical feats I’ve ever seen. Entering the track ahead of me after a rest break was a young man carrying an old man by the strength of his head. In Nepal, a common way of carrying heavy loads is on the back with a carry strap around a spot just above the forehead. The strap that ran around this guy’s head dropped down his back and wrapped around the arse of the old man, who was consequently held in a low piggy-back position. While this was impressive in itself, what was more impressive was that he charged down the rocky slope ahead of me at such a speed that it took all of my effort just to keep up.

Once I reached my bike, I smashed down some more food, then jumped on the bike and bolted. Suspension would have been nice. My feet got bounced off the pedals so many times, but I managed to enjoy a bit of a downhill ride down the rocky track. I rode so hard and fast that I was actually faster than 4WDs making their way down. It was so fun. I made it home shortly after the sun dipped behind the mountains. The descent had taken three hours. So many muscles are sore right now. From Taplejung to the temple, I climbed 2,352m!

Quick break

Accommodation $ Guesthouse
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 15,353km

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