Day 12. Thursday, August 10. Jalal-Abad to Osh. 142km, with 1,009m of climbing.
We knew this morning would be a doddle – gently downhill for some 50km, punctuated by a minor pass with some 250m of climbing to the summit before freewheeled down to lunch.
I missed a bit of drama along the way, tho. In one small town the traffic was jammed up, so Lacy from New York City, said to Terry from Oz and me: “Follow me. I know about traffic.” Miraculously the traffic began to clear. But it was only over dinner with our four Danes (Soren and Nina, and Lars and Jette) that we found out what was going on ahead of us. Some 40 horses were trotting down the main road through the town, with apparently no human in control of them.
We knew the afternoon would be harder than the morning – more towns, more traffic and much more heat. For some of us, tho, it turned out to be even harder. Our lunch spot had some plants with wickedly small but sharp thorns. The crew told us to check our tyres before we set off. We all did. But for many of the uninitiated among us who didn’t know thorns could be so small the afternoon became a torture of serial flat tyres.
By 30km after lunch, I was out of tubes – and in no mood, even if I could find shade, to try to patch the ones I had. So I was very grateful when our support van came along and I hopped in with my disabled bike.
Bailing out at the 100km mark of the day’s ride had two delightful upsides: I was out of the high heat and heavy traffic –
– and I got to our hotel in Osh just in time to have a long WhatsApp video chat with Lynn before she went to bed. I was particularly keen to hear how the dress rehearsals for her current show, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, had gone – the opening night is this Saturday.
This is the first show of Lynn’s I will have missed in 47 years of marriage. She is being wonderful about that, and very supportive of my bike adventure. Thankfully, I had the forethought to order opening night flowers for her before I left home, rather than risk not having a good enough connection to do so on the road.