Day 13- Last day in Tibet
First of all, we are so pleased to see that we have surpassed the campaign goal! Thank You
For the last few days we have been trying to find out the distance between the Nepal’s border town Kodari and Kathmandu. We had to plan our approach to Kathmandu carefully, because the Ambassador of Israel in Nepal decided to join us on his bike for the last leg to Kathmandu to show solidarity for our support for Tevel . After hearing that the distance is about 250 km, we decided to push hard and cross the border a day earlier than our initial itinerary. We got up early this morning to a rather cold room. But the pressure to start early and try to reach the border kept us on our toes. By 9 am we were on our bikes, it was very cold and we started our first climb. We had two mountains passes to ride through: one over 5150 meters plus another at a height of 5050 meters. It was 30 km of never ending climb, but it was nice and gradual and by the time that we had reached the top of the second pass we actually felt pretty good. When we started to descend a head wind slowed us down, half an hour later we could see our driver waving at us to stop for a quick lunch. Flying down from 5000 meters to a much lower altitude of 1500 meters sound like great fun, but in reality the strong wind started shredding my wheel poster and by the time I arrived to the Nepalese border town my rear wheel was completely exposed. As we went through the last check point it started to rain. We said our goodbyes to the driver and the lovely tour guide Pasang, as he really did his best to make us feel as good as he can. The entry to the country was chaotic. We stopped at a small hotel but since it didn’t have hot water we decided to continue to the Last Resort, another 15 km on muddy, broken, sandy roads. We finally arrived and enjoyed a hot shower and a good clean up. Later on we found out that it’s only 150 km to Kathmandu, but thought we better be early than late, since we are not use to cycling with an Israeli Ambassador or executive directors of the charity we support.
Day 11: Leaving the Everest Base Camp
While touring Everest Base Camp,I spoke to our guide Pasang trying to build up a plan of this hard track in order to avoid riding it all in a single day. Unfortunately, he told us there is no place to sleep between Rongbuk and Old Tingri, therefore all we could do was to rest as much as we can before this day. We woke up the next day to discover that the weather was windy and freezing cold. After a quick breakfast we put on all the warm clothes we had, and said goodbye to the cold and uncomfortable guest house, we were on our way to begin the demanding ride.
The first leg of our 70 km unpaved road was a 15 km back track on the same road we came on two days before, and it was a bumpy ride all the way like in Osho Leela. Then we began to climb while facing a strong head wind, gravel, sand, and a steep climb. At some point the wind became so strong we couldn’t stay on the bikes. It felt like mother-nature is pushing us to way beyond our limit. When we saw a Jeep from a distance we were thrilled. We sat inside the jeep where the wind was blowing, almost in rage. “What do I need all of this for”, we thought. Staying in the jeep was the smart way to go. As we were sitting comfortably in the Jeep, our generous driver decided to help out a stranded Russian tourist bus that got stuck in the glacier. After this adventure we kept going. We went through ice glaciers, a small river, deep sand dunes, facing a new obstacle with each step we took. I was extremely tired, and my body shook incessantly. We went through the Pang La Pass for 5100 meters and started descending. Slowly the head wind turned into a tail wind, and we reached a big valley. The track in the last 20 km looked in good condition and we thought that finally we would enjoy a comfortable ride in the valley. Unfortunately, the sand was very deep and we were constantly sinking in it. We got lost again, and when we finally found the main road we were discouraged to see a river in front of us. A sheep herder pointed to us of where it’s best to cross. After crossing the river we went through a slow and painful ride until we reached the "friendship highway”. I was so glad I almost kissed the ground. We were finally done with these hellish unpaved roads! Only 1km left until we reach the hotel, and Daniel blasted off. I was totally drained, and just pushed through with the little power I had left. Thank God this day is over.
Riding a glacier
Update from Day 9: The hardships of unpaved roads
Today was supposed to be an easy day, only 41 km. But I’m not sure about this easy day in the Tibetan dictionary. We left quite late, around 11am, to a sunny blue sky and warmer weather than we are used. But then after few KM this unpaved road turned into a sea of rocks, never ending bumps, high gravel and sand. On top of all that – the strong head wind. Then we started climbing to the final altitude of 5000 meter. We were cycling in a very slow pace, few times I almost fell of my bike. The sun was cooking my head and slowly my body started turning into jelly. As I became more and more exhausted I just melted into the bicycle seat, and then my seat start sliding down. We kept readjusting it, the seat kept dropping down. Daniel and I plan to fix it, otherwise I will have to complete this Everest challenge riding standing up, as quitting this challenge is not a possibility. The last section of the ride was steep up hill and I was praying for it to be over. When we arrived to Rongbuk monastery guest house we were so glad. We met a group of motor bikers coming from Kathmandu to Lhasa, they thought we are mad. Maybe they were right. Tomorrow we are going to climb to Everest Base Camp, but next day it’s 70 grueling km of unpaved unwelcoming vengeful track to deal with.
A view of the Everest
Update from Day 7: Lhatse to Tingri 80km Gyamtso La Pass the highest Pass in Tibet 5247 meters
When we arrived yesterday afternoon to Lhatse, to the “Tibet peasant hotel”, after a relatively easy day, we managed to get all our clothes washed and had a lovely hot shower. When talking to our guide I had realized that the next few days to come are going to be very hard and demanding.
Today as we prepared for our departure Daniel said that he is not feeling very well-stomach problem. Still he got ready and around 10am we hit the road. When I saw the police station on the exit from the town, with a few cars waiting to be checked, I shouted to Daniel to keep going.
We continued our climb and Daniel had noticed that the poster on my rear wheel was damaged by the wind, so he just suggested to take it off, so I did. Now I have only one poster on the other side of the wheel. We went on riding for another 10 minutes. It’s a long climb of 1200 meter with very strong head wind. Daniel suddenly said:" I’m not feeling very well. I think I like to stop !!" I was shocked, I did try to encourage him, but I felt I’m getting nowhere. So I asked him: “Do you want me to call the back up vehicle?” He answered: “Yes.” I have called and arranged the back up vehicle, but deep in my heart I was still hoping that he will continue with me as we were still moving. But then he said: “I’m going to wait for the jeep here.” I was so sad, but just said my goodbyes, there was no time to waste, its a big mountain to climb, very strong head wind and my best cycling friend is out of action. Now it’s all rest on my shoulders.The climb was gradual and I just kept pushing, somehow it felt like my body got aclimatized to the altitude and the time zone difference. The higher I climbed the more I had to breathe, but even trying to drink while climbing was difficult. The last 300 meter was a bit hard and a lot steeper, but surprislingly I had reached the Gyamtso La Pass, the highest in Tibet – 5247 meters. Although today was the highest pass, the roads were in good condition and paved. I was most of the time very comfortable to ride. Tomorrow it’s completely different ball game with most of the climb is on an unpaved road, full of dust and stones. So we have to see how it will all end. Happy Days and thanks for everyones support!
Chinese admirers at the top