Ever since the first day cycling when, like an idiot, I let myself get so dehydrated that I blacked out briefly on the side of the road, I’ve tried to convince myself that these unplanned and generally unwanted moments are “all part of the adventure.”
This week, I have to say, has been packed full of such moments.
Like when I arrived in Danba after cycling for 90km, sweaty and muddy, to find that there was no water.
Wet wipe ‘shower’? All part of the adventure.
Or when I set out from no-water Danba to discover this was the ‘road’.
Pushing my bike for 4km in 15cm deep sludge? All part of the adventure.
Or when I emerge, sludge-covered, onto a nicely sealed road only to find, 2km later, that the road had completely collapsed into the river.
Spending a few hours heaving my bike and bags in alternate trips up a slippery hill through spiky plants? All part of the adventure.
Or when I tumble back down to the road and cycle for about ten kilometres before being informed that the road is impassable due to a giant landslide.
Waiting at a police checkpoint in the freezing cold for five hours while a digger arrives? All part of the adventure.
Or when I set off the next morning (after still no water for showering), and ride for an hour before reaching this.
Pushing bike up and down a rocky hillside goat path? All part of the adventure.
Or when my chain unlatches on a road covered in landslides.
Scrambling around the road looking for these tiny pieces while glancing up at the looming, loose rocks? All part of the adventure.
Or when my headlamps battery runs out just as I head into a creepy dark tunnel.
Riding through slimy darkness with freezing water dripping onto my back? All part of the adventure.
Or when I reached a small town and checked into this weird guesthouse set up for tourists,
Only to have the police come at night and tell me I can’t stay in this town.
Five phone conversations with an English speaking policewoman who tells me I must go to the nearest big city as foreigners aren’t allowed to stay in small towns? All part of the adventure.
Or when I decided that if I’m not allowed to stay in small town guesthouses then I’ll camp instead.
Camping at an altitude of 3500m with a temperature of around 1 degree? All part of the adventure.
Or when I wake up from my igloo only to discover that in my haste at stealthily hiding my bike in the trees I have managed to snap the derailleur, rendering the bike completely unrideable.
Standing on the side of the road in the freezing cold trying to hitch a ride for myself, a broken bike and a pile of bags to the nearest town? All part of the adventure.
Or when I ride my vaguely fixed bike with its now five and a half gears for 130km over hills and grasslands, only to have the wind pick up to an insane headwind for my last ten kilometres, slowing my progress to snail pace.
Inching across grasslands with absolutely no shelter from the wind? All part of the adventure.
Or when I finally arrive in town that evening, exhausted, to find that there is absolutely no accommodation due to a public holiday.
Sleeping in a windy attic mahjong room with in a bed with unwashed bedding for an exorbitant price? All part of the adventure.
Well, at least it’s never boring…