With my head light flickering with the last of its battery, I continue to pedal into the night in the mountains. The glistening snow and clear cold starry night illuminate my way as I head up through the mountains just east of Tibet.
As my light freezes over and losses its battery, I spot an abandoned cabin. Warm, dry and comfortable, I close my eyes and rest. As the morning sun lifts its head over the mountains, I awake and head out to continue up through the hills, three 4000plus meters passes lay ahead.
As I wind my way up over the second of the third 4000plus meter pass, I begin to cry. These are not the first tears to fall onto Pandemic The Magic Bicycle, however these tears are different. At each turn, the glaciated view and snow peaked mountain blurs my vision with tears, sweat and wonder. I am just east of Tibet and the Himalayan Mountains and I am crying.
Two years ago when I traded my well read adventure touring book for a new bicycle and my first bicycle tour, I truly didn’t believe that any of this was possible. But I did know I was going to try to pedal from the bike shop in England through Wales to Ireland. Almost 2 years later, I am pedaling through the mountains on a 60 kilometer climb at altitude just east of Tibet.
The few tears I am shedding are from a place of surprise and amazement as to what apparently is possible. I stop at the crest of the second mountain pass of 4200metres to take some photos. A group of Tibetan Buddhist monks are eating lunch and wave me over to join them. My water bottle sprung a hole a few hours ago and most of my water was lost, my breakfast, the last of my dried noodles a distant memory. The mountains are far too alluring for me to be all that concerned about being thirsty and hungry for after all, the road will take care of you.
I sit among my Tibetan Buddhist monk friend in amazement and gratitude of what is possible and enjoy a hearty lunch of yak cheese, boiled eggs, red bull, orange drink, flat Tibetan bread, pepper and herb hot paste, pieces of raw pork and salty milk tea. My new monk friends insist that yak cheese will help me throughout my journey, perhaps they are right. While full of gratitude and lacking sufficient room for my lungs due to how full my happy tummy is I say the biggest thank-you ever and part ways and continue through the pass.
The magic continues as I crest the third 4300 meter pass and come across a place of prayer. The beautiful chilly tranquil breeze is replaced by the flapping of thousands of prayer flags. I sit quietly on the top of the mountain, smile, and while peering down at a 30 kilometer decent down into a valley and the predominantly Tibetan town of Deqen, I finally realize that this is all indeed possible.