Back In The Game

As my fingers solidify tightly around the handle bars, the muddy dirt road turns to slippery ice. Pandemics tires spin in the frigid wind like a hamster on a wheel at an Alaskan kite flying contest. The ferocious breeze, ice and ridiculous mountain conditions prevail.

I slip down from Pandemic The Magic Bicycle mid fall. I stand and lean over the handle bars, bend down into the growling wind, cover my head in my jacket and push my way to the top of the 4300 meters mountain pass. Hail and ice pelt my reddening face rendering it battered with bruises, scratches and wind burn. The Himalaya weather abruptly shifts. The hail lifts, the wind begins to sleep, the road thaws and returns to asphalt. I effortlessly topple over the top of the pass and she is back in the game!
Later that day…holy good god, what is that??? A jagged tooth frothing psychotic dog the size of a cow is running right at me. This heartless Hitler hound is out for blood and clearly has enormous psychological issues. No amount of water bottle swinging or please don’t bite me prayers are going to stop this Lucifer reincarnate four legged psychopath. I launch off Pandemic, (pro-tip always bring a magic bicycle to a dog fight), I hike up my be the adventure panties and stand in the middle of the road and I let out a GRRRRR that only the Marlboro man could be proud of. My dry altitude chain smokers sounding GRRRRR hardly has any effect as Lucifer takes a chomp of the pannier. A nomadic motorcycle angel and a van full of concerned Chinese tourists stop. With a convoy of vehicular protection, I pedal out of town unharmed and she is back in the game!

About 2 Hours Later… I am chilling out on the side of the road, I am eating and drinking. A man on a motorcycle stops. I smile and say Tashi Deali (hello), he just stares at me and turns off the engine. He seems odd. The Tibetan folks on this road are wonderful, kind and full of smiles. This potential bad apple is none of the above. My instincts get worried, that he is up to no good. I quickly gather up my snacks and pedal away. About 5 minutes down the road, I realize that I left so quickly that I forgot my mittens. I pedal back to get them. The bad apple has taken my mittens which at over 4000metres is a huge disaster. I sit back, rub my face which is bruised from this morning’s hail assault and sort it out. Ahh Haa! I dig out my big red fuzzy socks that have always made me happy, pull them onto my hands, keep pedaling and she is back in the game!!!

Still Later On That Very Same Day…The sky growls with a familiar sound of icy congestion. I am pedaling over another 4700 meters pass. As the setting sun pulls the temperature to below freezing, hail, snow and wind rear their head once again. The open Tibetan grass lands at this altitude are void of shelter. However, a beautiful stupa of prayer flags at the top of the pass makes for a wonderful camp spot in which to wait out the storm. As the wind howls, the hail stings my eyes and my frosty fingers stiffen. My little tent holds strong as the wind wipes hail from all directions. After a cold night, the warm sun lifts from the hills, the tranquil day begins a new in this Tibetan region. A long sunny cascading descent into Yushu, Qinghai Province, China wakes me faster than a morning coffee and she is back in the game!!!

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Skalatitude..."When humans and nature are living in harmony there is magic and beauty everywhere"
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