Sat Sept 28 â€“ The Shanghai Welcome!
Joshua’sÂ way of welcoming u to Shanghai is.. ‘Come try out this bike!’ Thanks to JoyRider, Selina BoeyÂ who is based in Shanghai, she kindly loan me her cyclocross whileÂ JoshuaÂ helped me get the mountain bike shoes and new cleats. After much effort and failed terribly to clip in, we changed it to his old cleats and by now, left thigh muscle was achingâ€¦ I finally did it!
Joshua next bright idea – let’s go test out the gears and bike. Sure, in this Shanghai traffic? It all looks so easy for the local to merge with each other from different direction. No choice, have to learn the trick quick if I want to live another day to tell this story!
That night met up with Selina for dinner at Grandma’s Home Restaurant which serves one of the best Shanghai ‘value for money’ meal followed by a trip to the Italian gelato ice cream! Â Yes, there goes my plan to lose weight for this trip…. but at least I am still alive!
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Sun Sept 29 â€“ China Orient Express
I found myself cycling behind Joshua with an unfamiliar bike, desperately trying to use the cleats at every stop, balancing a heavy pannier packed with stuff for the 3 days cycling trip, nervously merging in between the local cyclists, pedestrians and traffic as we made our way to the train station! Â Took an hour to ride 11.4k, breaking all the traffic rules along the way, u can imagine how happy I was to see the train station even though I know it will be a 27 hour ‘prison’ train journey to Kai Li.
Thanks to Joshuaâ€™s effort, he managed to reserve a cabin for me to share with 3 snoring strangers while he was able to get a hard bed in another carriage Â – 3 beds on top of each other like a club sandwich; this was better than the cheapest carriage where everyone was packed in like sardineâ€¦ not to mention the body smell one will be sharing!
Mon Sept 30 â€“ Kai Li, China
I surprise myself that I actually enjoyed the ‘Orient Expressing’ slowly into â€˜Middleâ€™ china. Â I imagine Kai Li to be ‘one eye sees all’ village since the nearest airport is 100k away and the logistic of having two bikes will not make it easy to take the plane.
Managed 3 movies, scan thru a magazine, and had a good sleep too! I must be growing up after all, nah, more likely recovering from the trauma riding experience in Shanghai.
Georg Yang met us upon arrival and so thankful that I got a lift to the hotel. I was wrong about Kai Li! Â It’s a vibrant city and the ladies were very fashionable – China style!
That night Georg took us for dinner – local spicy river fish outside the city and visited a cultural centre on the way back.
Tues Oct 1st â€“ China National Day
Tour De QianDongNan â€“ 1st day
I had one of the best ride as the weather was simply perfect – 23C. The climbs were challenging, good roads and scenery simply awesome.
After 95k we reached our Nan Gong camp site next to the Wong Mi River – an opportunity to dip into river for a cold treatment for tired legs as well as to clean up after the ride!
I happily went to retire in my tent, which was rather comfortableâ€¦ by evening it was freezing to get out of the tent to go toilet which was quite a distance!
Wed Oct 2 – Day two of event
Breakfast was specially cooked by cyclist Chef ‘Clay Pot’ who runs a restaurant back in Kai Li. It was so good that I requested for his recipe! He was an impressive strong rider along with teacher Pan and our Rock & Roll Joshua. Â These three riders were the stars of this event!
Morning was cold 13C n a climb at the start does not help. The weather later turned hot – 36C, making the climbs challenging, riding over landslides of rocks and stony surfaces was nerve ‘rocking’ yet the scenery made it all worthwhile!
After 82k we reached Xiao Dan Jiang Rest House andÂ camping ground next to river. Joshua and I opted for bed and proper shower this time!
Dinner time i sat next to a lady cyclist who naturally spit fish bones in between her legs to the floor @ the dinner table. They must be shocked that I have the bones on the table instead!
Thurs Oct 3 â€“ Last day of the tour
92k with just one long 29.5k climb, Joshua have done this route before and warned me that it will be as tough as Genting Highlands and currently there’s some road works! Joshua took pity on me and offered me a gel to help me with this climb.
Meanwhile I was praying for no rain, no landslide rocks and no steep decent either!
Weather was perfect – 23C, riding on gravel wasn’t that bad and made it to the top feeling good! Guess those gels work wonders!
The decent was grand until there was a section of the road covered with rocks under major repair! My mind went blank for a second! Roll over or stop? Â It was too dangerous to stop on this decent so just pray andÂ literatelyÂ rock thru it! Â Waah, made it to continue this story while two mountain bikers had flats after those rocks!Â Thank God endlessly that I survived!
These three days rides were tougher than the recent Italy trip! The adrenaline flow and thrilling experience of riding in Shanghai was something I will remember for the rest of my life!Â Overall the trip was awesome, great cultural exposure and felt I went back in time!Â Only wished this area is nearer to Singapore!
The next day, took the opportunity to visit some tribe and sightseeing.
Big thank you forÂ Joshua’s help & coordination…andÂ Selinaâ€™s for her bike! Â After this trip, I am thankful and appreciate life more after seeing the real Chinese roots!
Life is worth living after all … the only disappointment is, I didn’t lose any weight at all!