Hair-raising Headwinds

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Qi Hang Hotel

Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Thursday, January 27, 2011

Amazingly we both slept really well in the vile room, probably due to 9 consecutive gruelling days. We got out of there as quickly as possible, munching a few pineapple biscuits in lieu of breakfast. (We were still pretty full up from all the pigs leg the night before anyway!) The first 16 miles were boring, but pretty straight forward. After that it all started to go uphill, and therefore downhill in our estimations. A garage at 18 miles was the only sign of life on the highway and a chance to buy more biscuits and cupcakes to keep us going until we could find some proper food. The sun came out at this point, which always cheers us up and makes the scenery much more interesting.
Just after that however, we were suddenly struck by the strongest headwind we have ever encountered. I think we were in some kind of wind tunnel, but the next 6 miles (all uphill!) were horrific. When we reached the top, after having to stop several times, the wind was so strong it was actually impossible to ride. We had to push the bikes, and at one point I could not even do that, and had to wait for the shelter of a big lorry.
We were completely broken, when at last we saw our favourite sign ‘long descent’!!! Some idiot had decided to be really precise about how far it was and from a distance 8.2km looked like 82 and we got VERY excited.8.2km down was pretty good, but the headwind meant that instead of 22mph we were just doing 10mph and actually having to pedal at some points.
Reaching the bottom, we came to a large town Huize and decided to stop as with the headwind, we would never make 57miles before dark. We quickly found a ridiculously cheap and lovely hotel, and decieded to just dump the bags there and head off into town to enjoy the sunshine and get the bikes fixed. (Mikey’s is in a terrible state since he fell in the tunnel – two broken spokes at the back and the front completely buckled.)
Town was brilliant fun. We had some more amazing street snacks (a bit like a potato rosti) and sat in the square with a load of old men who were smoking and watching the world go by. When we turned up, they turned their attention to staring at us. When Mikey got out the phrase book to ask a policeman where a bike shop was at least 20 of them crowded round to have a nose. I really wanted to take a photo they looked so funny. The policeman took us over the road to a man with loads of tools. He was desperate to have a go and grabbed a spanner. We had to cycle off quikly before he could do anything as we just wanted to buy a new wheel!
Eventually we did find a bike shop and I really wish we hadn’t. The guy was totally incompetent. He said he could fix the two broken spokes which normally takes about 10 minutes. He took 2 hours and in the process broke another spoke himself, punctured the tyre, took the back axle apart and lost a bit, and when he eventually finished the gears had broken. Aaahhhhgggg!!!  We got back to the hotel in a real state, and are now worried about how Mikey will get to Kunming (at an altitude of 2000m) without his full set of gears.
Back at the hotel the entire lobby was in darkness – no electricity. I blinded the girl at the desk with my head torch trying to find out what was going on while Mikey climbed the 7 flights of stairs to our room. We both did a lot of shouting and a few minutes later the power came on. Phew! We’ve now had an amazing hot shower, watched Federer lose the semi-final of the Australian Open and are feeling a lot better. Just hoping for no wind tomorrow!

A headwind fraught 37 miles
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Jojo on

What a gruelling time you have been having - i hope very much the sun will come out tomorrow and bikes get fixes and it's plain sailing. I don't know about turning this adenture into a book I think it should be made into a film!

All love Jojo and Christpher

Mum and Dad on

Wow you have certainly been challenged and done so well.Really hope you reach Kunming by weekend and the bike holds out.Then you can have a good rest ,Thinking of you lots Speak soonxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Elizabeth&Olaf on

You guys are legends! Seriously - what you guys are doing/have done is beyond insane but we are so impressed! All very suburban here compared to your adventures, G has day off so have been swimming with Olaf which was jolly nice and you have inspired George to go off for a nice big cycle..well 17k! He is training for the triathlon he is going to do! With the usual suspects I think
Anyway lots of love from all us here in cosy williams road!!

triciagick on

Just exhausting reading your blog - let alone actually doing all those things - such stamina and you must be seriously fit once again. Thought I'd just let you see the lovely Grace - she just keeps on smiling - lovely. Hope you managed to carry on with the Australian Open and watched Murray sneak through to the final - hopefully you'll be watching that from Kunming on Sunday. Take care you wonderful pair xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Jojo on

Are you guys getting the train from Kunming to Vietnam? I think you could do with the break!

Spigaroo on

Amazing lads! Real adventures that I'm sure you'll look back on as something of a highlight when you're somewhere warmer again. Vietnam will come as a relief, I think, after all that. All very boring and routine here - exlcuded a kid for three days yesterday for sexual assault which was pretty stressful and odd. Off to Hampshire in a few hours for bobble's mum's 60th. Will have a drink together for you lads. Take care of yourselves Xxx

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