Friday, August 11, 2006

Near Kok-Moynok Bir

Jet lag had me sleep past sunrise & eventually be woken by the heating up of the tent when the Sun hit it. It wasn't until 10am that I got going. Nevertheless it was a quick day with a tailwind throughout.

I was happy that the gradient was never high as I found that the granny sprocket on my crankset was worn out & was 'grabbing' the chain. It was usable but made a lot of noise which was so annoying as the service that the bike had received in Bishkek fixed all the other 'bad' sounds that it had been making. I didn't notice this before I changed chain in Bishkek as it had stretched. Nor did I notice it while cycling in Bishkek as I only use it when going up hills. I didn't want to go back to town to get a new one as I wouldn't be able to get back in time to meet Nick. I'll see how bad it gets during the day on Sunday. Perhaps if I leave it as is & the chain stretches, the problem will go away until I next change the chain.

For the first part of the day the road ran East-West with hills to the North, which form the border with (or at least close to it) Kazakstan. Further away to the South snowy peaks within the Ala-Too range could just be made out through the summer haze. The land immediately beside the road was flat & covered with wheat & corn fields & fruit orchards. I was dying to get back into the mountains. In the afternoon the road dipped South & started to rise. The Chuy river which irritated the plain became rougher & narrower, being constrained by the tight valley that it had cut.

Gorges look nice but are difficult to find campsites in. Where the valley widened there was a thick covering of high grass. As ever my eagle eyes spotted a promising side road that lead to a suitable spot that was out of sight of the highway but unfortunately not sheltered from the sound of the passing traffic, which was quite a lot.

I cycled 102 km in 6 hours & 23 minutes
Total so far 9423 km in 138 days
GPS Coordinates of end point - N 42°31.543, E 75°49.314

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