Friday 30 May Lhasa to camp Day 1 85ks 4hrs 10 ride time.
Departed hotel 9:15. Light drizzle. 4 lane streets, some with cycle paths for about 8kms to the industrial centre. Group stopped outside the Potala Palace and we were moved on by the police. High police presence, 3 check points for vehicles, but we rode through. Armoured trucks with teargas cannons, armed guards in the city streets. Mixed bunch of riders, about 6 guys and 1 lady , Julia who are super athletes, iron eventers and marathoners, 2 young Danes, then our group of 5, Maria and Stewart, and HL aged 64, retired motorcycle cop from San Francisco, Jan a grandma from OZ. Stewart had to stop before lunch, with a bad hip, and get in the van. Quick ride for most of us, gently downhill with tail wind. alongside a river and through farmland. Lunch stop @ dusty paddock , old farm barn. For about an hour before lunch , had anxiously watched rain clouds creep over the high ridge toward us. 30 mins of cold light rain on us while waiting for lunch. Sun thankfully returned , hot afternoon and many of us got sunburned. Market gardens, hot houses. Pumps at the river, long pipes to irrigate. Houses, whitewashed stone and mud, colourfully patterned window sashes and doors. Similar to rural Turkish houses. Sign on post, looked a lot like the YHA sign, indicates a guest house or village??. Diesel belching trucks. 2 trucks passed that must have each had 12 tractors , stacked 2 high. Rocky cliffs on right hand side, ladders painted in white on rocks, Buddhist prayer flags right at the top. Farmhouses scattered along the way but no sizeable town. Hillside covered in scrubby blue lupins. Dung patties drying on any flat surface, walls, even an old pool table! Huge petrol stations, but no customers seen. Very smooth roads, except for some potholes. Camp site off road, on grassy flat just before the 20k climb tomorrow. Whakatane 5 group took a walk through the nearby village, derelict industrial buildings, once could have been a construction village for the huge water pipeline on the hill. At 3600 m, altitude no problem for us. Pete recovering from 5 days of tummy bug. About half the group have gut bugs.