sexta-feira, 5 de fevereiro de 2010

Lhasa / Kathmandu - 8th Day

Camping (4490m) - Shekar (4390m) - Pang La Pass (5290m) - Camping

Once again the wind whipped me when I was coming down from Gyatsola Pass, yesterday afternoon. The altitude, the wide and high plateaus and the mountain ranges, the dryness and the constant presence of the sun, make the perfect scenario to happen the everyday afternoon strong gusts.

The downhill was always programmed for the afternoon, so I could consider myself fortunate to have the gusts against me during the easiest section. Although, the exhaustion of my body and mind was getting worst by the day and even worst at the end of each day… in some moments this situation drove me mad because I was not able to enjoy, in a relaxed way, the downhill and the landscape…I assumed, wrongly, that the downhill was always the prize for the incredible effort I was doing to climb the steeply slopes. ..but this kind of thoughts didn’t last more than a few minutes… I knew that this was part of the tray and on arrival I always got the same wonderful feeling…even after the long ride, I was always pleased to have the opportunity to live this intense experience.

In the morning of the 8th day, I jumped out of the tent and I couldn’t resist to the wonderful scenario that was again right in front of my eyes: a cleared atmosphere, the strong and warm colors of the mountains, the green colors of some farm fields, the contrast produced by the shadows and the first sun beams and, again, the amazing dark blue of the Tibetan sky… I couldn’t resist…I spent more than an hour taking pictures and recording this beautiful moment.

On the 8th day I would, finally, say farewell to the pavement road! After the Qomolongma Natural Park checkpoint I would have to ride the bike more than 100km in a bumpy road to reach the Everest Base Camp. My level of enthusiasm suddenly boosts up forgetting all my tiredness!

The bumpy road to Pang La was made of sharp turns, a pronounced zigzag going up the hill to make one life’s easier. At the beginning I had 1000m to climb and tens of kilometers ahead to ride. By then this came to be the hardest section I had since I left Lhasa.

While I was ascending the steeply hill the scenario was getting incredibly beautiful…I was getting higher, leaving the valleys below and suddenly it was like the mountains and the wide landscapes were uncovered. Believe me…this was the day I really felt that I was in the very heart of Tibet!

When I finally got to Pang La Pass it was like I had two stages that unexpectedly were opened right in front of my eyes, revealing probably two of the most amazing and extraordinary landscapes ever made by our planet! one side I could see the open Tibet with the warm colors, the mountains and some white peaks…in the other side, a open sea of small mountains growing up progressively to form the highest range in the world…the majestic Himalayas!!...all my emotions and my tiredness made an explosive mixture… I couldn't avoid and some tears came out from my eyes.

However Pang La was not the highest point I could achive by mountain bike. Right beside the road was a narrow trail going up through a ridge to the very top of small hill covered by gravel and by dark red soil. It was more than 100m to get to the top but I couldn’t resist…I was having the chance to beat my altitude record…and…by bike!

Nearly 4:30pm I had to leave this amazing place. It was not easy but the temperature was dropping down quickly and, again, the wind was getting stronger. One of the highest and longest downhill was just waiting for me! A moment of fun was just round the corner! So, I prepared myself and stepped forward at great speed! In one of the dozens turns I was not able to control the bike and the unexpected came to happen…for the first time I tasted the ground :-)! Fortunately on that curve the speed was not high enough to injured me badly.

My 8th day was a big and wonderful day…

Heading up!

Almost there...
My first view of Himalayas :-)

At 5390m!

Heading down! :-)

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