D37: 瓢里→三江 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

October 4, 2020

D37: 瓢里→三江

Autumn has arrived and it's safe to say that the chances of my using the camping hammock a second time this trip are growing ever slimmer. However, since I have it, I am refusing to send it back as Murphy's Law just about guarantees that once I send it back, I will stumble across a situation where I need it.

The lodging options after Sanjiang are pretty poor unless I want to do nearly 90 kilometers for the day. My intent when touring is to get 60 to 80 kilometers per day with a minimum of 50 and an average over the whole tour of 50. Now, obviously, because I've had a number of days this tour where I've failed to hit 50 it means that, once you add in the work days and the rest days, I've got no chance of making my desired average. This makes it that much more important that I not do any days that are less than 50. Ninety, however, 90 is enough that things will hurt bad the day after.

As a result of the knowledge that I'm going to be doing a short day, I'm spending as much time as possible going on as many little detours as possible. The road isn't being terribly cooperative in providing detours of much over 10 or 20 meters at a time but it's providing lots of them with shrines full of folk art, an old woman picking tea, and lots of little ferries across the Xun.

With perhaps 10 kilometers left to go, a group of fast riding randonneurs catches up with me and then slows down to ride with me the rest of their day. They've already done 140 kilometers and generally do 140-160 per day so despite the way in which the one guy's saddle is clearly too high and his pelvis rocks back and forth, or the way in which another guy is oddly sitting canted off to the left, I can't discuss gear with them because we have very very different styles, ideas, and ideals.

Like, part of why they are riding as a group is so that the group produces exactly one load of laundry per night and no one needs to bring a change of clothing because they only stay at hotels with washing machines. Or the leaving the hotel and being on the road by 7am.

At first, in talking with the female member of their group (who I share a room with), she is a bit surprised by how short my daily distances are, but, as she goes through some of the pictures posted to my WeChat Moments, she's astonished at the things I'm finding in countryside which she thought she was familiar with. 

While I was with them I notice myself missing a bridge, three shrines, and two ferries. And that's just what I noticed. If I'd been pootling along at my usual speeds, I might have noticed even more.

On the plus side, their kind of touring does seem to lead to being in much better physical shape. My roommate for the night is barely even winded carried her 'loaded' bike up to the third floor of the hotel. It turns out that the two panniers I choose to take upstairs with me weigh nearly as much as her entire set up but, even so, I definitely need to catch my breath when I get up to the room. (I really need to come up with a packing system that both balances weight effectively and has 'the stuff I need in the room' in one pannier that doesn't have other stuff it.)

I'd been hoping that joining their pack would mean a proper dinner for once but one of them has some family in Sanjiang and they are planning on eating at that person's home so my dinner still ends up being Chinese fast food with a bowl of rice congee on the side because there's no point in ordering multiple items when you can't finish them all.

Today's ride: 43 km (27 miles)
Total: 1,841 km (1,143 miles)

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