On This Day 13th-January-2012

This week’s on this day post comes from the 13th-January-2012, and I’m in China, having a hard time in the mountains. But I’m not the only cyclist. There’s also a rabbit and a nasty accident.

Friday 13th January 2012, Yuanjiang to Mojiang. 49 miles.

Well, I think today’s ride must rank among one of the hardest I’ve ever had! I spent the first 26 miles of the day going uphill!

Looking down a valley
It’s rather hilly around here

While plodding up that first 26 miles, I came across three other cyclists. (more idiots!) They were students heading home for the Chinese New Year. They had also come from Kunming but had left a few days before me. One of them even carried his pet rabbit in a cage on the back of his bike! He said there was nobody to look after it, so he brought it with him! I’d already been cycling up this hill for two hours and asked them how much further there was to go. 13km, the one with the rabbit replied. I wished them luck and went on my way. Even though I was carrying a bigger load and was cycling slowly, I was still faster than them!

Dangerous Roads

It started to rain earlier, so I stopped under a tree to put my waterproofs on. While I was there phaffing about, the student cyclists caught me up and stopped for another chat. I think, like me, they use any excuse to stop and take a break from the hills! As we all huddled under the tree, a motorbike went past us. The motorbike pulled up a hundred or so metres ahead of us to put their coat on. As the rider stood next to his bike, putting his jacket on, a lorry came round the corner. Lost the back end and careered into the motorbike and the man standing next to it! The bike went under the truck, and the man got hit, sending him flying into the trees! I couldn’t see him when he landed, nor did I wish to! He was behind a big rock! Luckily, plenty of other people were around helping, along with the Chinese cyclists.

People by oranges
Friendly faces selling some lovely oranges
I Hope Everything Was Okay

I decided that there wasn’t much I could do, so I carried on up the hill, leaving the bike under the lorry and cries of pain coming from behind the rock! Needless to say, I was very cautious going around corners. The roads had become very slippery with the rain! And if a lorry was coming in the opposite direction, I’d be ultra-cautious!

I eventually reached the top of this hill. Maybe I should start calling them mountains now! Anyway, as I was saying, I got the top after five hours of peddling! And I think that when the student told me it was 13km to the top, he may have meant 30km! The ride up was made even worse when I passed through a small village. I caught sight of some men dragging a pig out of a sty. They laid it down on the ground, with the poor thing squealing away. They then cut its throat and left it to bleed to death! Not a pleasant sight!

Finally, At The Top

Now at the top of my mountain, I was looking forward to freewheeling downhill for a while. It didn’t last long! After about two miles, the road levelled out before once again climbing!

Later on in the day, I bumped into the three students and asked after the biker. They said that he was okay and not badly hurt. I do hope so. He did go flying through the air for quite a way! It was like something you’d see in a film! I also asked them how much further it was to the next town. About 3km, they said. This time I took it with a pinch of salt, and just as well, it was more like 20km! If I bump into them tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll bother asking them how much further things are!

Youths on bikes
The Chinese students heading home for the Chinese New Year

I had a lot of trouble finding a room tonight! I’m not too sure if it’s because of the weekend or because it’s coming up to the Chinese New Year! Or maybe I just smelt a little too ripe!! I’d tried five hotels before eventually finding the one I’m in!

I’m not too sure what I had for dinner tonight! It might have been eel, pike, or maybe even snake, although I don’t think so. I can only say it was very bony, and there wasn’t much meat. It wasn’t very enjoyable! The first meal out of all my travels that I’ve not enjoyed!

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