Day 26. Thursday, August 24. Bakhchakalan to Bukhara. 159km, with 351m of climbing.
Jokes about last night’s party enlivened our breakfast this morning, in spite of our sleep deprivation and the early hour. Testament perhaps to the sort of people who do long rides like ours. We find ways to cope with conditions beyond our control.
Starting today’s ride early – at 5.30am, in the light but before sunrise – was a simple strategy to make the most of the only few cool hours of the day. Lars, one of our strongest riders but laid low by a virus, and I had an even simpler one: take the van for the full route today. We both knew we had to give our bodies a break.
Along the way we were full of admiration for all our riders as we passed them in the comfort of our van. It was already hot by the time we arrived at our hotel in Bukhara in mid-morning; and around 40C when Anton and Nick arrived at 1pm, as the first riders to finish, covering the 159km in just over 7 ½ hours.
Tomorrow, we’ve a rest day here in Bukhara, a town half the size of Samarkand but with almost as illustrious a Silk Roads history. I’m eager to join the rest of our group sight-seeing tomorrow morning. So, I spent the late morning and all afternoon on the usual bike, body, blog and equipment tour chores – apart from a very therapeutic hour in the hands of Faroza, a masseuse at the hotel. She greatly eased my sore right shoulder, front and back, and other body parts feeling the strain of 2,000km of riding and one spill.