Best. Ride. Ever.
Six of us rode out just after 8:00am near the Bike Station (shop) in central Kathmandu. We took a meandering route out of town, through the back streets in order to avoid traffic. Only hitting Ring Road briefly, we quickly made our way into the suburbs, where greenery grows up between the houses. The further out we went, the less processed the goods are that people carry on their backs. In town it’s more about bricks, flour, etc. Out of town, it’s sand and large rocks, corn cobs.
The weather was cooperating with us, mid-70’s and partly sunny. It was looking good. Then Nick’s pedal and crank fell off. Whoops. A few of us with tools immediately whipped them out to assist (ha ha. Tool.) Diana’s was bigger and fancier. Crank secured, we pushed on. Next, Nick’s shifter for his rear gear cluster froze. Again, toolsets emerged, and we disassembled the shifter. Then we lost a screw. We couldn’t fix the problem, so Nick was reduced to three gears, all in front.
We drifted out through the countryside, climbing gradually, the rice paddies and villages falling behind, the air getting more moist as we pushed up into the cloud layer.
Then came the Really Long Big Climb. About half-way through we stopped for a pic.
At the very top, after a mean series of switch-backs, we crested the shoulder of the mountain (foothill?) and looked over…at nothing. The valley below us was swirling misty clouds and Dr. Suess trees occasionally revealing stepped landscape hundreds of feet below, and the occasional village or cluster of houses.
From this point we endeavored to begin a balloon circuit to come back to this point. Of we went! Our first excitement was coming across a rockslide with a water feature through the middle.
It was awesome!
Next, we really ran into a deal-breaker. A landslide had taken out about 200 meters of trail. Ryan tried hiking across with his bike, but just got bogged down. We had to turn back. Time for tea!
Nepali tea is pretty awesome. Sweet, milky and hot, it seems just the thing needed in the clouds. Nick’s crank fell off again.
Revitalized, we explored finding an alternate route back down into the valley. We made another insane climb up to a restaurant under construction and saw our way down. Wayyyy down. We went down a gully/path, and at times we had to walk our bikes, since the rear kept sliding and fishtailing across the sheer rock face. It was super fun.
We stopped in at a Buddhist temple for a peek and then back into town.
Our ride ended and we were exhausted. It was great fun!