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a dream turns into reality...

written in : lhasa (CHINA) on : 2005-10-29 17:47:03.0 kilometer: 11500

this is my second attempt to send news from lhasa as at the first time there was a total collapse of electricity in town. what a great feeling as i saw on 23th of october 2005 the potala palace for the first time - after 6 month on the road by bicycle. in the end it had been 2200 kilometers of gravel road, when i rolled on asfalt in shigatse.
especially the first days after leaving kashgar were quite difficult. i had diarrhoe, coughing and felt very, very weak for these reasons. in order to reach xaldulla i had to conquer two high 5000m passes. especially the second one was hard work, i was totally exhausted, i was not able to cycle but to push the bike up the whole way, stopping every 30 meters to rest. in the village xaldulla i had one day rest, and then things were getting better.
but even better was the fact that i met 2 cyclists - dror and silva - 3 days later. we then cycled together for 8 days. on 27th of september i passed the 1000 km marker. from there it were just 60 km to ali, capital of western tibet. it was really unbelievable reaching such a town in the middle of nowhere after 800 km of gravel road, and having then all opportunities to eat and buy food as much as you like! in ali i met peter and cameron again, who i started together from islamabad. we just stayed for 2 days as it was still a long way to lhasa.
what a great feeling of cycling on asfalt! but just for 78 km, after that the road turned into horrible gravel and sand road again. in namru i ate momos, tsampa and buttertea for the first on this journey - typicyl tibetan food. mount kailash i was just passing by on this tour. but there were really great sights to the holy mounaint for buddhists, hindus and boen religions.
the road stayed very bad., with stones, sand and corrugations all the time! at km marker 1400 i had a tyre explosion on my back wheel. without a spare my journey would have been over. but from that one i have no spare tyre any more. the schwalbe XR on the front wheel is still "original" since the start 6 months ago, but has now quite a lot damages. also my bicycle pump is fucked up.the fixing of the ortlieb backpannels are also damaged. for this reason i had to empty the bags on time to fix it. it seems to be that during this i lost 3 rolls of slidefilms, really a pity!
it was a nice experience while i was cycling together with andrea and a guy from hawai played on his harmonica for her birthday on one of the passes on the way.
in saga we had the opportunity of good food and markets after a long time. the road was now getting better and better, still gravel road but less corrugations. before reaching the friendship highway (FSHW) we almost met friendly tibetans, no one of them demanded money or something else. unfortunately this changed after reaching FSHW, which connects nepal and lhasa. the road between lhatse and shigatse is currently under construction, which means that we had a lot of dust, also because there is also much more traffic than in western tibet.
in shigatse gravel road stopped, and we had asfalt until lhasa! during the following 3 days the weather was cloudy and rainy, even snow was falling. but we had luck. i heard from rob, another cyclist, that he had snow conditions between saga and lhatse for 3 days! this means he had to push the bike the passe up and down, because it was extremely slipppy.
on earyl afternoo of 23rd of october my heart was beating fast - i saw the potala palaca for the first time! i really made it to cycle all the way from kashi to lhasa. it took me 46 days in total. peter, cameron and rob are 3 cyclists, who also made it all the way trough tibet.
at the moment the tachometer shows 11500 kilometers since leaving vienna 193 days ago. my next destination will be the eastern parts of tibet. i hope to reach yunnan in about one month. tashi delek from franz karl

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