2 June Day 4 to Gyantse 51ks ride time 3hr 30
Woke to a very cool morning but no wind! Icy sludge on the tents, quickly warmed up as sun appeared over the hills. Delicious rice porridge with chunky bits of coconut, cashews and apricots. Peanut butter toast, boiled eggs. We are eating so well. 9:15 started 200m descent over 15ks, wearing lots of layers, eyes watering. Signage on hill…is ia a peace symbol or nuclear sign? A moderate 15k up and down ride to Simi La pass 4330 m. Water pipeline @ side of road. Barren hills, no vegetation or sign of water on the surface, but occasional springs gushing up from underground, by the roadside. 2 small villages, each with a statue policeman at either end of village. One unfortunate statue had been vandalised, no hands and no crotch !. Ruins of mud villages way up in the hills and some at roadside. Crop terraces beside river. Some sort of legume, soy or peas ? Lots of barley. Riverbank was terraced, so we thought river was dammed and flow regulated . Lots of young trees planted, willows and poplars. Gradient fairly steep up to pass. Shrine at top, usual souvenir stalls and persistent ladies trying to sell prayer flags. Reached 51kph for 2 short kms from top, dam to our left side. A few ks of ups and downs and then the rapid descent of switchbacks. An early lunch 11.30am in farm paddock. We rode in the break- away group , averaging 28kph into Gyantse, 3rd largest town in Tibet. Quick shower, walk to Pelkhor Chode Monastery. Viewed many chapels, they all began to look the same, we were too tired to take it all in. Views from 7th storey of stupa were worth the climb. See photo of parabolic dish , solar energy to boil the kettle. Beds so hard that we put roll mats on top of mattress . Lovely to have luxury after 3 nights camping.