mental. mountains.

8th April 2006 – mental. mountains.

so without the need to cycle across london to get to work for the last two years my cycling has been limited to the few weeks back at my parents house at christmas – while enjoyable it’s cold and pissing wet. however i have recently discovered that the mountain biking scene in china is alive and kicking. this is probably to do with the fact that all the bikes and components are half price here. oh god more stuff to spend money on.

so the old trail From Anhui to Zhejiang is a mountain pass used as a trade route for centuries between these 2 provinces. to get there 7 of us left shanghai friday night, 4 hours later we reached jixi for a night in a hotel, up at 6.30 for glutinous rice and boiled eggs, another 3 hours in the bus and we arrived at huihangudao (i’ve forgotten what that means already) and then we started the climb, in the rain, up the side of a mountain. no more roads.

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it took around 6 hours to reach the end of the path including a huge lunch, near the top of the mountain, hidden among the trees was a very basic youth hostel type thing. no hot water, but it did have a massive TV. which i can’t quite work out how it got there. the rooms seemed nice, though unfortunately our guide didn’t book one so we ended up sleeping on the floor or the meat store. i lucked out and got the most comfortable blanket and plastic sheet.

up early for some more glutinous rice, boiled eggs and pickled cabbage. mmm. like every other meal, they all spoke chinese and i listened pointlessly. another hour of pushing and carrying our bikes and we reached the top. the sun came out and it was all worth while. yup wow. you can only walk here. and it takes 2 days. now i’m far away from home i thought.

it was at this point i remembered i no longer have travel insurance, but then considering the facts, how much is it going to cost to have two farmers carry me home on a bamboo stretcher. and with that thought came hours of hills. down hill. steps, rocks, tracks, roads, drops and stunning scenery, brilliant, all it’s missing is a chair lift at the bottom.

to view all the pictures that ayuan (our guide) took, take look at the ‘prodigy mountain biking‘ site

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