D5: 雷州→湛江 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

August 25, 2020

D5: 雷州→湛江

If I still had the calcium bridge between my tibia and fibula, I'd say that yesterday's falling over at the traffic light cracked it again. I don't have the bridge, however, and I don't have any particularly 'hot' sore spots so I'm not sure what I did. Past experience of the multiple times I fell down and managed to greenstick fracture my leg while I was learning how to walk again tells me two things: 1) it's bone pain, and 2) there's absolutely nothing I can do about it other than wait. The weight-bearing part of my leg is the metal rod that runs through the tibia's marrow channel while the slightly brittle calcium based bits around the outside of that are mostly a decorative structure that serves to hold the nerves and blood vessels in place.

Choosing to ride today versus choosing not to ride today will make no difference whatsoever in how my leg feels tomorrow; with all of the things I might want to do in Leizhou being based on the idea of walking around (with walking being particularly gimpy right now) and tomorrow already being scheduled as a rest day in Zhanjiang, I'll ride thankyouverymuch.

I slap a Diclofenac patch on my leg, take a Naproxen, carry my bike downstairs, and—while I'm waiting for the desk clerk to show up with the refund of my key deposit—decide that today is a Codeine sort of day.

At wilder points of my life (when I was in countries with far less severe penalties for drug usage) I experimented with less than exactly legal substances. However, whether we are talking my not-at-all OTC painkillers, alcohol, or other um things ... I'm a pretty responsible user of all things pharmacological. For the past few days I've been telling myself that I don't actually hurt that bad and I don't yet meet the conditions for narcotics and now that I've taken one (over 9 months since my last opiate), I'm realizing that I really was that exhausted and that sore and that tired.

Late in the evening, when I've gotten to the fancy hotel in Zhanjiang, and I'm cocooned in a soft white bed that feels like clouds look, I'll finally be sufficiently relaxed and pain free that the extended release Codeine is able to send me to the warm fuzzy place. But, for most of the day, it's just dulling the knife's edge.

My first destination point of the day is the Shaoshan Village Ancient Stage. Of the roughly two dozen potential points of interest that show up on AMap, it's best situated for being between here and there and getting me on farm roads. I also think, when I'm looking at the map, that it will take me past some breakfast options. Instead, it takes me along a Greenway by the edge of the reservoir, through some back roads that don't feel at all like I'm as close to the city as I obviously am, and out into the rice paddies without a single open food stall on my side of the street.

My breakfast is a large bottle of Coke and two packets of spicy greasy tofu. But, I'm sure once I get to the village clusters where the temples are, I'll find food then. (Spoiler: I don't.)

I've spent a substantial amount of time wandering around a historic Matsu Temple that's just a little bit before the marked historic site I was theoretically looking for, had two sweet drinks from the shop to fill an ache in my stomach that was making itself known through the painkillers, and noticing that this particular area is absolutely lousy with all kinds of cool old buildings which would be greatly improved upon by my having already eaten or my specific destination for the evening not being another 48 km yet to go.

Definitely going to have to come back to Leizhou just for the sake of coming back to Leizhou. There's a lot here.

When I reach the main road, I discover a complete lack of town. The S373 which I took north from Leizhou to Zhanjiang in 2008 and 2014 is now the Old S373 and the new one is a Fast Road [快速路] (meaning a partially limited access highway that still has level crossings and bike lanes). I cross the Fast Road and find the town of Shentang [沈塘] where I'm desperate enough for food that I go to a 麦肯基 which is like a counterfeit copy of a fake McDonald's mixed with a KFC.

I try to stay on the old S373 but only a few kilometers past the town, it crosses a bridge and devolves into a dirt track. On a day where I was less achy and tired and where I had less of a specific goal of an actually booked hotel to reach, it might be worth trying to follow as much of the old road as possible. Today, however, is not that day. (Further up the road, I will come to multiple places where the old and new roads intersect by virtue of the old road simply stopping and restarting again on the other side.)

With nothing much to see from the fast road, I make exceptionally good time heading in to Zhanjiang. A few times, I get sufficiently in the zone that my natural endorphins start to kick in and I have to slow myself down again and let myself feel pain because I've never actually checked to see how impaired my reflexes are when I'm taking medications that specifically warn that they aren't to be used when operating heavy machinery.

At my destination, the doorman makes the slightest attempt to indicate that maybe my reeking self, my farmer hat, and my bicycle don't belong in the lobby of a five star hotel but I deftly avoid him while firmly stating in a very authoritative tone of voice "I'm staying here tonight".

Other than the Covid paperwork and the inability to get the Guangdong version of the Health Code app to run on my phone, check in is reasonably smooth and hassle free. Being as my room costs over USD 100 per night, check in better be smooth and hassle free. I'm thinking that I'll use the in-room kettle to make myself some oatmeal for dinner but, instead, eat the fruit from the Welcome Basket, lie on the bed, and pass out.

Today's ride: 67 km (42 miles)
Total: 253 km (157 miles)

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