Humpy… Bumpy… Kyrgyzstan
Many people told me its impossible to cycle the road between Uch-Korgon and Daroot, which consist mostly of steep hills and mountain passes. The biggest problems will not be the inclines, it is the road itself. After a dozen people said it was impossible, I started planning another route, but when I came to the turnoff, I automatically turned to the right and down a narrow dusty street… Im gonna give it a try!!
I crossed over an old, half broken down bridge which took me to the right side of the river. This road was still nice with a few small villages along the road with friendly locals greeting as I cycle past. Some kids on bicycles joined me for a few hundred meters smiling, waving and gazing at this enormous bicycle thats crossing through their Kyrgyzstan village.
The beautiful, black and smooth tar road ended and so did the villages. There was still the occasional guy riding his donkey towards the mountains. The road turned to gravel, with the occasional car passing every hour. The fast flowing bright blue river was on my left, which will be my water source the next few days. No need to boil or add tablets, just fill the bottle and drink!
The road got steeper and the gravel was slowly turning into small rocks. By now there was no traffic passing from either direction and I loved this. I was now on my own, no distractions, listen to the river on my left, stare up the mountains and search for the eagles that is gliding between the cliffs.
By 4pm the temperature started to plummet and knew finding a place to camp will be my main goal the next hour. This area was perfect for camping with numerous spots, but was still planning to cycle until 5pm, using as much daylight as possible. I cycled over the last big climb for the day and then went down a one kilometer hill into a small valley. In the distance was a house, jeep and a boom which I presumed was probably another checkpoint.
There was nobody there and two wheels from the Jeep was flat. I was the only one out there and have not seen anyone for hours. Loved it! The house was not locked, so I decided not to pitch the tent and use the house as my shelter for the night. The room I was in was about 5m x 3m, lots of plastic windows, warm and lots of space to unpack my bags and prepare a warm meal.
I cooked a nice dinner, read a book and fell asleep with the sound of the fast flowing river across the road.
I woke up just after 1am and there was lights approaching. I looked outside and saw a truck about 500meters away, driving straight towards my little shed. The truck parked in front of my door, two guys climbed out and tried to open the door. I closed it from the inside, so got up and opened it up for them. You would be able to see me if you glanced through one of the windows. These guys were surprised to see me, but they had the same idea as I did, to sleep there. We tried to communicate, but it was useless. You could smell the strong smell of Vodca in their breaths, which made communication even more difficult. The only thing I could make out was that Im going to get killed… by something out there. Wolves, people, a river monster, well I don’t know exactly what.
The next morning the two guys drove off at around 7am, so I grabbed something to eat and made a cup of coffee. I enjoyed the coffee outside, looking at the mountains, the river and starting to prepare myself mentally for the day, as I had the idea the road would get much worse than the previous day.
The views were improving with every single peddle! Huge mountains, fast flowing bright blue river and more eagles sweeping through the sky. It was a beautiful sunny day, which was perfect for cycling into the mountains! The cycle started off difficult from the get go, with more rocky roads. At least I could still manage to cycle, even if it was at 5 – 8 km/h. The inclines got steeper and the road got worse. At some point I told myself to stop saying “it cant get much worse than this”… because every time im proven wrong. At 10 km into the day, things got to a point that I have never experienced (No truck, car or motorcycle will be able to drive here). I could not cycle more than 30 m before being stopped dead by rocks or lost my balance. A few times I stopped so quickly, that I bounced forward hitting my manhood against the frame or handlebar.
The road got so bad, when my bicycle jumped around, I kept losing balance and there was no way to start cycling again on this inclines. This was where the walking or rather pushing started. I wondered what layed ahead, as I was now walking more than cycling. My arms started to pain as if I was in the gym for three hours. I would take a small 20 second break after every 50 m (if I could get to 50 m). Then it became every 30 m, 20 m, 10 m and then struggled 5 m with every push. This was getting to another level of hard and was now climbing a mountain with a bicycle loaded with 50 kg of baggage.
There was places where the mountain gave in, like a avalanche, but sand and rocks. Most places I could squeeze past, but one time the road was completely covered until where the rocks fell down the edge and into the river. This was a tough and dodgy crossing. Soft rocks and sand moving as I walked across and while doing this, there was more rocks rolling down the hill.
One time I had to stop and it was like sheep or cattle running over the road. You sit, wait while everyone cross the road and then continue. On this narrow, rocky road it was rocks rolling down the mountain. I stopped as the rocks rolled past me, about 5 meters in front of the bike and had to wait almost five minutes until this stopped. I just smiled and continued.
I crossed over a dodgy bridge and the road ahead was so something I hoped I would not get to. I saw this particular part of the road from a distance and at that point was lucky as it was on the other side of the river. Well, now it was time to face it! Rocks bigger than my head ( all of them) and some as big as I am.
From that point I managed 500 meters in an hour and 1 kilometer the next. I could not push the bike anymore, so start taking off the bags, carry them up and then try to get the bike up. Carrying the bags up was difficult by itself. I was digging deep and used most of my resources. This maze of rocks had no end. Whenever I get the bicycle to the bags I would rest for two minutes and continue. This was the last bit of this pass and the rocks was everywhere. You would not think this is actually a road where people once drove.
So, after this 1,5 kilometer things got better, but only by a small margin and still had to carry the bags, followed by the bike. This was the only way up, so there was no other option.
Finally, after hours of struggling and extremely exhaustion, I saw the road flattening out. I screamed in joy and cycled down into the lush green valley. There was a house in the distance with smoke rising from its chimney, but decided to cycled past. I wanted to take a small break but I was thinking of cycling three kilometers more. And then… The road stopped again. Rocks everywhere and the road was barely visible, so I turned back towards the house, with the plan of trying to find out something about the road ahead.
A guy came out when the dogs started to bark as he threw then with stones to make them quiet. He invited me into their house for some cay. It was extremely warm in the house, or rather one small room, where they prepare food, eat, sleep and watch TV… Yea TV, I still don’t know where the electricity comes from. It was about 30 degrees in there with at least a hundred flies scrambling in all directions as you move, most of them ending up on the little girl sitting in the corner looking at the bearded stranger. He gave me tea, followed with some food!!! I was extremely hungry at this point as I did not take long breaks during the day. I wanted to cover as much ground as possible. So, I chowed some pasta, bread and some type of jam…. And more cay.
After that I headed off, going straight towards Daroot. I already made up my mind to pitch camp and continue the next day. It was just after 16:00 which meant it will be dark soon and there is a nice big piece of flat grass which will be perfect to pitch the tent.
As I was planning my next day, I had no idea what the weather had in mind for the coming days!
Cheers for now