Now that I scouted out the new route a little I found the local swimming hole in the smaller "clean river" (not sure of it's proper name)
. The river that runs through town looks clean, but some factory dumped a load of Cadmium in it this past January and many people suffered for it: http://www.china.org.cn/environment/2012-02/07/content_24570302.htm
The rest of the pictures were from an evening ride through the series of villages beginning with the village right behind the East wall of our college then extending many kilometers out in the countryside dotted by small steep karst mountains. I only rode for about and hour and took pictures in three different villages.
Sorry for the lack of writing but there is not much to write about, except personal crap which few want to hear. I dedicate this entry to the photos which I have selected carefully for your enjoyment. All the photos were taken in the vicinity of Yizhou.
Most of these pictures were taken with my little Canon sd-1300 pocket camera which gives decent results for it's size
. Keep in mind that I only publish about 1/4 of the pictures I take. For me to publish a picture it either has to have an interesting subject or just be a cool artistic composition, I am getting stricter about posting too many snapshots as I have been guilty of, in the not so distant, past.
Sunday morning I was invited to a 10K on/off road bike race from hell. Before the race started I had to endure hundreds of people wanting me to pose with them and take pictures, after 15 minutes I was getting tired of it all, but it's nice to be a celebrity. We did a slower paced group ride around the city for 30 minutes prior to the 10 K race.. Over 200 bicyclists were there, most were serious "Sporto" types and well trained. I thought I was well-trained. I thought wrong!
Yes I know 10k is nothing on a bike. I forgot to add that the race starts with a one mile uphill climb of 500 feet, which kicked my butt for the rest of the race. Then it goes up and down smaller hills for another 2 k before an even steeper mountain on a rough gravel road in the deadly heat nearly finished several of us off. Most of us had to push the bikes up part of the incline due to 15 % grade or more steepness
. So then we are on a very rocky and muddy dirt track through cobra country, with bikes flying by me as I slowed down for the rougher sections since I am riding on street tires. The bike slid out from under me a couple times but I didn't go down due to my skills of "foot planting", the final 4 k was smaller hills but I was able to speed up to 45 km on a few occasions which carried me up the other sides. But the final hill was a killer, only 1/2 k in length but at an 18 percent grade I dropped it down into my lowest gear and managed to pedal up the bitch although I was completely exhausted and signs of heat stroke were quickly coming on. At the finish line I was greeted by hundreds of spectators given the fact that I was one of the oldest and by far the heaviest rider in the race. Out of 200 riders I finished somewhere below the middle of the pack not sure how bad I did but I wasn't last!.
These riders were GOOD. I merely thought I was good. I prefer flat land although the hills are an excellent work out. After the race I felt sick and didn't want to talk to anyone. I was dizzy. So I carried my bike up my 4 flights of stairs and sat under the cold running shower for 15 minutes and managed to pull my way out of heat exhaustion
. Got dressed again and went back so as not to let my team down. I guess the fact that I woke up at 8:30 with little water or food put me at a disadvantage. Before the race we did a group ride around the city so I had about 10 k of easy riding just before the race. The fact remains: I am not in the same league as these young Chinese bike racers. But thats ok... A great time was had by all and I fully plan to join in the next race.
Enjoy the pictures!
Spent the week touring the area, expanding my territory, learning more about this place. The first pics were during a ride I took North of town a few days ago with members of the local "Giant" team ("Giant" is a popular, well-made, Taiwanese, bike company). I can hang with these two riders on the flat land ok, but they kill me in the hills. Fat people + hills = slow and no fun. Of course I am much faster going down the hills due to my weight! I get going "Scary Fast" around here, and keep my brakes in perfect condition. On this day of riding I was researching back routes toward the big city of Guilin a mere 260 KMs away. I want to ride there but no one around here wants to join. My lack of Chinese keeps me from going solo for multi-day trips for the time being, but I'm sure to get over this very soon. I am learning words and phrases useful to the long distance rider in China.