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Let´s go on excursion!!!!

– ¡¡Let´s go on excursion!! – jumping around the room of the pension we were staying for the last 5 days (the first two to rest, the other 3 waiting for the good weather to come and let us continue the journey).

We had chosen the joke of excursion to see in a funny way what we had in front of us, and to take the mental strenght which are those that can not fail in complicated times.

-¡¡Let´s go on excursion!! – I continued jumping and screaming with a little girl´s voice while we were dressing the winter clothes for cycling.

Aitor also jumped making rounds on the floor.

-Yes, yes, the sky is clear. Today is the day, let´s go, let´s go!!

The owner of the pension seemed to be the least happy of all. He appeared in the yard bleary eyed and half smiling, ready to heat up some water to fill the huge red thermus to provide us hot water for the whole day.

– Niet, siboña niet, rajmat. Siboña… ¡¡peribalt!! (No today no, thanks. Today… the pass!!)

– Yes siboña pagoda haraso. (Yes, today the weather is good)- he said showing us a beautifull smile in his face when he saw our excitement and joy.

After the breakfas and some last minute shopping at the bazaar, we left expecting a full day climbing. According to the locals we had 30kms to ascend 2.000 meters until the top of the pass. They informed us that the road was closed, blocked by the snow but we wanted to try and see with our own eyes. Not only because we would save around 300kms, or because we would forget about the trucks, the traffic and dust… but because the adventure, the challenge that it was for us. For the locals, it was just crazy.

Almost everyone we met crossed the hands telling us that the road was closed and that it was extremely cold. We started climbing from the very begining and sometimes the slopes were steep. We crossed only two small villages and after 10kms we arrived at the police check post where we were told to take care because, no cars were taking this road and on the top was very cold. After that, nobody else told us anything which was a relief.

We climbed for few kms more through a narrow valley, after that without any sing of asphalt the long zig-zag up started wich was making us to gain altidude. There was not any snow on the road when we had ridden 17kms which made us feel brave.

 

 

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A little later, some hunters taking lunch at the side of the road invited us to have tea an dried figs. The did not know if the pass was open or closed but they told us to hurry up because for around 4p.m. it would get very, very cold.

After that stop everything began to change. Snow appeared on the road and, as we were ascending more and more appered to the point that we could not pedal anymore. The wheels slipt constantly and we lost the balance, so there was not other possibility than to push.

The good thing was that there was a car trace which had passed a while ago and had pressed the snow so, following it´s trace the effort was the half.

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We kept going looking with one eye the road and the other one the sky because, it was getting dark and seemed that the storm was coming.

The climb was not tough only because the steep slopes but because we followed the car trace with the bicycle but, our feets had to open a way on the snow. We were making 2 or 3 kms per hour.

In the town all the people was agree that the road until the pass was 30kms long, but the singal of 30kms we had left behind and we keept ascending and watching up the hillside still going up.

– Have you seen it? while ago we left behind the stick indicating the 30kms and still looks like the road keeps climbing….why do people talk without knowing?

– Yes, well… now don´t get ungry with them – Aitor answered me – Come on, we have to find a shelter for the night. Look at the sky, seems it going to snow. It´s late and today we are not going to make it until the pass.

When the situation gets really difficult, I notice that waves or unger come and go inside of me, like in an ocean. I´m climbing up, pushing, sweating and frozen, giving all my power but quiet and suddenly, a thought crosses and… I want to kill everybody who told us there were 30kms!!, I want to pull the bike off the cliff!! (when the pedal hits my shin).

At other times I see Aitor in the same situation when the bicycle gets blocked in the snow and have to lift it to bring it to the trace…. By gestures from the distance anyone would say he is praying but, I know he is cursing, furious as me before.

A ruined house on the right side of the road still with a roof made us to breath at ease, not only because the were safe of the weather, because we know that for today was enough of pushing and we could stop and to take a rest finally.

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We were really tired, exhausted by the effort to move forward with such thick layer of snow, pushing, lifting up the bikes, pulling them the steep slopes. The fact that it was perhaps the most nasty place we had sleep so far (by the mud, animal drop and some trash) was not important because we wanted to relax and be safe.

Surprisingly at night, when we went out to urinate, the sky above us was totally clear and full of stars.

The next day we suffered a lot because although the summit was only 5kms far, the snow layer was very thick and the slopes were so steep.

Once on the top, there was not time for celebrations as gray clouds since the morning had covered the sky again, then a strong and chilly wind showed us that we could not avoid the storm. So it was, it started snowing and the wind got stronger so, we could not stop to rest because we would get totally cold in a minute.

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We really believed the hardest part was over, but did not, just had transformed the hardness as we started to descent.

On this side, there was much more snow. In addition, we arrived to one intersection where the traces of the car took left and on the right side appeared another road withouth any trace. In the conditions we were it was difficult even to take out the map from the front pannier, open it and to decided which road to take, knowing that we were deciding to get lost in those mountains in that weather or to go down to inhabited areas again. We decided to turn right where there was not any trace, this time opening the way by ourselves was… complicated, tough, tired.

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In some curves because of the quantity of snow we got stuck having to desmount and push the bicycle again. The blizzard made us to be in a big tension making me so stress which I could only get rid of by concentrating in the breath and the next step.

-We are doing well, we are doing well, step to step. – Aitor repeated like a mantra in almost all the road down.

– Look at there!! one village!!- he shouted me smiling 20 kms after the summit.

We could see some kms bellow one small village. In a minute, when we saw that, all the body got relaxed, from face to feet.

That day we spent with a family that, when they saw us coming down from the pass, exhausted, with the feet and shoes totally wet and with that blizzard, approached to us and they invited us to their home to have tea and food, to rest, to sleep and to feel warm and safe.

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The next day totally mentally and phisicaly recovered, with all our clothes dry and warm, we told good bye to them and left to keep going on.

What a excursion!!

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One comment on “Let´s go on excursion!!!!

  1. Well done you 2. Love to get your updates and follow you all the time. All the best for 2013 and safe riding.
    You sure have some interesting stories and have seen some wonderful places. Not always an easy ride as well.
    Take care

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