Friday 28 February 2014

Rest day

Defender! I want mine here too. 

We're chatting about what we see out the windows which is funny as we're from 3 of the most developed countries in the world. We stopped for gas too. The shut off is when it drips on your feet. 

No luggage, no bike, but a mocha with whipped cream and a bike on the cup makes a happy Kate. 

Apparently it's been cold and snowy on Thorong La.  The guys here are downplaying the cold and say we'll be totally fine. They say even if people look well dressed with North Face gear, the locals only afford the knock offs which have completely uncertain insulation and such, so it might not be that bad yet they can still be unprepared without good gear.  Apparently the guy who perished was also told not to go because he only had jeans too but he didn't listen... So is the word from a bike rider here who's friend is in Nepal army. 

Then massage time!

Nepalese tea

They drink tea with milk and sugar. It's delicious.  The best analogy I can make is we have macaroni and cheese in a box, and Italians have pasta. Same thing, but one is in morse code, and one is in HD 3d hifi surround sound. It's a world of difference. So delicious. 

Beautiful morning

We're sneaky and know Kate and Jeff are now here, but Gerry and I decided not to pull a BC Bike Race style razing on them ala Geoff Clark style. We're giving ourselves kindness points for this ; )

Beautiful morning, should be a clear day. I'm going to either not ride or ride really light to take in a couple sights after 3 days of pretty good efforts. Even if Cory, Yuki, Aayman were riding easy yesterday, easy for them isn't a walk in the park for me, and I suspect Rob felt the same. 

Back to basics

I sleep with two sweaters, long underwear and a toque every night as central heat doesn't exist here. The plus side is the toque helps keep the ear plugs in to deafen the sounds of the barking dogs.

Our hotel room is an exercise in space management. After 3 mins the hot water actually comes in hot. All the plugs but one are too loose to hold our chargers. It's smart to keep a Petzl headlight with you at all times as there are frequent blackouts. 

The best part is Gerrry and I just laugh, it's so basic but we're as happy as can be. It's just pure entertainment. 

Thursday 27 February 2014

Sanitation engineering, riding groups not getting any slower!

Aloo paratha is like a potato pancake. The stuff on it really has some kick. Bhaji is the other dish. Rice, peas, beans and spice. I'm in heaven. 

This is my morning attempt at sanitation engineering. I don't really want the water and mud here flung into my facial orifi or onto my bottles. 

Cory, Rob, Yuki, Ayman and I went for a ride up to the local heli pad, ripped a nice downhill from there, then into town for shop work and getting SIM cards. 

Aayman on a clear day!

Yuki at the heli pad. 

Beauty dry singletrack downhills. 

Riding stairs and ledge around a monestary. 

Beautiful monestary. 

Traffic.  I think this is one of these things where guide books would tell you don't rent cars, and don't ride bikes in traffic. I find it better to bike than take cabs. Faster. We're faster than traffic off the line so we can get clean shots and cleaner air after the police controlled corners.  It feels like a peloton with people moving around you, and following Aayman is the best way to go. 

Back to Thamel. 

Back to bike shop. 


We ate at Electric Pagoda which had fusion acid jazz and Nepalese live music. 

Ate the mixed platter. 

Walked in Thamel. 

Took a taxi that took the scenic route home. When we finally saw gravel piles and people huddled by burning garbage at the side of the road, instead of the concern that might give you about being in the wrong part of town, we knew we were close to home. It's also entirely normal for taxis to swerve into oncoming traffic then back to avoid potholes or stray dogs. The cars at a the most under powered shit boxes I've ever seen, but with no weight they swerve decently well. I'd guess my 1 cylinder 650cc motorcycle has more power than 90% of taxis here. 

Wednesday 26 February 2014

Loving Kathmandu!

My new vocabulary for the day was our breakfast foods. Sambar is the yellow veg and bean curry with a light but very nice heat. Wada is the little donut looking thing with an orange type curry paste. The white stuff is like a midpoint between cottage cheese, yogurt and sour cream. Then the world wide French word omelette to complete the deal. Corn flakes have nothing on sambar and wada. 

We ate with Wendy from Colorado and Yuki from Japan both who got in last night. Everyone is so excited to be here, it's such a fun vibe that builds. 

Group ride into Shivapuri national park with Thomas and Keevy as navigators, Ger and I, then Wendy from Colorado and Yuki. Beautiful climbs and jeep roads for a few hours, tea, return down a walking path, mild frontal encounter with a scooter (dog was barking at me on a downhill, I went right, but they drive on the left here. Oops. I just have burned in my head from Alana that the dogs have rabies and I don't want to die; scooters no problem.  Little kids were having rope barriers across the road for both us and locals. Funny. 

Climb up to park. 

Park gate with a couple of English schools taking kids in at same time. Teacher from Bolivia, kids from half the countries on earth, all perfect English. 

This guy asked every one of us if we had a bike and what our sex was. I thought those were fairly obvious. We still had to fill out details, and with bikes park entrance was $9.50 per person. 

Ger cracking the Belgians and Yuki. 

Hard work. 

Thomas + terraces. Lots of vertical here. 

Milk tea stop. The tea is delicious. 

Mini goats. 

Kathmandu views. 

90 minute massage is an absolute steal of a deal, Thai and deep tissue. Holy cow I feel great. With great breakfasts, biking and lounging I'm in heaven. 

Note to selves:  when you break up from group and have to locate each other by cell phone, saying "I'm by the motorcycle shop, there's a power line with 100 wires and a mini market" is a reference of no utility as that's every corner in the city. 

Kathmandu group dinner

Gerry and Thomas had a Nepalese staple - momo.  Momo is awesome. 

After we went to a dive down an alley the guys who have been here longer knew about. We wouldn't have found it on our own down behind the corrugated metal alley. Dinner and drinks was $3 but I chipped in $5 on the group tab as making change seemed hard. Someone all ordered thungba. It's fermented millet and buckwheat in a wood cask that you pour hot water in and drink through a crimped straw so the millet doesn't come up. 

The cask is pretty big. 

If you're into fermented millet, it can't be beat. I can get most things down, but this wasn't working for me, so I had an Everest beer.  The thungba has kind of a sharp taste to it.  As you drink it you refill the water and keep going. I couldn't even drain mine once.  Those bubbles aren't really sitting on top, they spontaneously release from the depths of the brew. It smells a bit sour. 

Chicken curry with rice was a lot easier on the taste buds.  

Riding with the Nepalese friends

These chick peas had spice, spice, onions and spice. It's an awesome way to start the day. If there's anything I like, it's spices and chick peas. There's basically no preservatives here. 

Our hotel. 

Symbolism I don't get, but looks nice. 

Here's Gerry taking in the local "road" riding scene. 

Half today's group. 

#1 and #4 riders in Nepal. Flyweights! Look at those calves and waist size!

Terraces. Belgians. 

Little trail maintenance. 

Finished the downhill over to the left. 

This is Aayman. He's the #4 local guy. He's a good example of why we aren't going to win a climbing race in their country. I could probably snap him on the flats over a bit of time, but not right away as he's a good drafter. So he has power, and he's the bigger guy! Ajay is smaller and is the national champ. He's the one with the tiny ankles in that riding picture up above.  Aayman is 48kg and Ajay is 47kg. With their power and such small bodies, watching them climb is like magic. They're so friendly, the shop is awesome place to hang out, they're helpful to is too and are such good hosts, we're just in heaven. 

Happy riders. We tested each other a bit on an interval before this picture.