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I'm older now and still running against the wind.
Bob Seger

After 25 days and 600 miles across the gravel pit of Tibet, "roof of the world," astride a mountain bike devoid of pity, I am ready to be in Nepal. On foot! The saddle has ground my backside into blistered blisters, painful in every way. No wonder a popular sporting magazine rated this the toughest organized bike ride on the planet! They forgot to mention this in the brochure.

But there is one more phase to complete before I arrive in Kathmandu, and am finally free of the now dreaded cold, headwinds, and dust (macho for a maybe a week). I poise my Litespeed on the edge of Tibet, gaze out toward infinity for a long while, then take a deep breath and launch myself into Nepal. What lies ahead is 9000 feet of curvaceous descent, back down to the land of oxygen, asphalt, and the sweetest warmth in the world. Two days of downhill, which means no peddling! All I have to do is hang on!

Finally, after 600 miles of potholes and gale force headwinds, I groan into Kathmandu, one time adventure capital of the world and watering hole for outlaws and Indiana Jones archetypes. I slam on the brakes one final time, dismount, then stand there momentarily and pretend I am not perishing. Weary, wobbly, tattered, ill with bowel complaints, and 15 pounds lighter, I hobble over to the nearest kiosk (never far away in Kathmandu) and purchase the only thing Western I can find. I then check into a local hostel, sprawl across the bed, and feast on the dry corn flakes, chasing them with warm Coca-Cola (don't even think about using ice here), manna from heaven after a month of Tibetan porridge and pancakes. I opt for some serious isolation and relaxation, having had my fill of adventure and company for awhile. (next photo)



© Danny Kimberlin 2015