Pt. 3 – Sluggish start

The day broke and everyone woke up, shattered from the previous days of wet riding. Sleeping at 3800m didn’t aid the situation any. Abu (the trip’s lead guide), having taken stock of the day’s route from the previous day’s viewpoint, decided it best to scrap an attempt to make the pass and camp beneath Yala Shan. Too snowy and wet, the original route would likely prove  treacherous.

Instead Abu hatched a solid backup plan. We would ride to a nearby monastery, do a quick cultural tour, then descend down to a nearby field for a pasta picnic.

I lead the front group out, but before long discovered I’d led everyone 5km down the wrong road. Backtrack. The real route would put us along the highway to Bamei before turning onto a concrete road that gradually wound its way upward.

At the intended destination, we were greeted with a monastery where people had a chance to walk around and take in the full Tibetan Buddhist vibes. We then descended down, where the group would splinter. Half, unenthused by riding the highway up opted to pack in and ride the bus to the picnic spot. Myself and two others got caught up in a battle of deflation, when one of the rider’s sidewalls split open and began to bleed tube milk profusely. Whoops! We had to swap a tube in, and missed our chance at catching the bus ride. 

Regardless, my two ride accomplices were more than happy to ride the last few kms of pavement down to the picnic. A fire-cooked meal and a few hours basting in the sun seemed to be just the ticket to turn the group’s spirits around.

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