D57: 桐梓→九坝 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

November 1, 2020

D57: 桐梓→九坝

Well, I've figured out what the cause of the Horrible Noise was back before my chain got replaced in Meitan. Figured it out because it came back between my arriving at the less than particularly skilled bike shop in Tongzi and my starting up the first of this morning's climbs.

As someone who is not—by any stretch of the imagination—especially competent at complicated mechanicking, I really oughtn't say or think bad things about other sub-par mechanics. But fixing fiddly things isn't my job.

The Alfine hub I had on my bike on last year's Tour was supposed to get it's first oil change at ~1,000km. It didn't. Because not a single shop I stopped at was confident that they had the skills to be messing with something complicated like that. Even with Chinese language info to read up on from Shimano, they didn't want to. Fair play to them, it's also unlikely that I damaged the hub by making it wait a few thousand km extra to get that first oil change.

But when someone thinks that they're the hottest of hot shit and they do things like mess with my brakes (a problem I used to constantly have with the Panasonic bike) without telling me because they know better than me, it drives me crazy.

Not even talking the part where Things (like the gearbox) are reattached, the Dude last night couldn't figure out how to get my wheel back on.

Being as I'm the one that came up with the idea of loosening the chain tensioner, I'm reasonably sure my Noise is related to that. And, when I stop at a swim club and restaurant (that turn out to be populated entirely by people who identify as members of the county bike club) about halfway up the first climb, so it does seem to be. I've still got a periodic soft tik tik noise when riding that I won't be able to find until I can get my bike on a stand but things are now right as rain.

I'm exceptionally pleased with the percentage of today's ride that isn't walking. I also now suspect that part of my ability to ride the majority of hills in Guizhou 8 years ago comes from my having a barely two week old chain, rear cluster, and middle chainring all bought in Sichuan. Cause just having this new chain (and having it properly tensioned) is huuuge in terms of my power output.

It's a cool mizzly day that rarely becomes actual rainy enough rain for me to put my camera away (though the moisture related malfunction where it periodically flashes a warning about my nonexistent accessory being incompatible with the camera is back). 

I'm in love with the scenery and very much understanding (other than how fucking hot Chongqing gets) why this is a Summer Retreat for people from Chongqing complete with the occasional development full of 10 storey tower blocks in the middle of nowhere.

It being the off season though, when I get to the oversized village (counting the completed tower blocks it's built to accommodate perhaps 10 or 20x the population of the town it's actually a part of) where I'm planning on spending the night, I'm in for a bit of a problem.

Everything is closed.

I think the first apparent hotel where I so much as bothered to ask "are you open" was the seventh hotel I checked out. For sure the third one I'd asked the GPS to send me to but there had been some others along the way that had "Rooms for Rent" signs out front and padlocked chains on the door.

I'm openly willing to admit that I'm an asshole. At the very least, I'm not a nice person. I'm cold, I'm wet, I've already said yes to a frankly outrageous price considering that it's the off season and I know the room won't have heat, I've shown not one but two negative Covid tests, and I'm renting a room here tonight.

Don't care what the boss lady says about being afraid or unwilling. About "not daring" for an American. She isn't going to be given a choice.

I go farther into the building, still on the first floor, discover that one of the rooms with an open door is a hotel room, push my bike in, take linens out of the cupboard in that room, make the bed, turn the hot water heater on in the shower, and sit down to wait for the police to show up.

It takes about twenty or thirty minutes and it's actually two people from the Village Committee but alright. Along with taking down my phone number and giving it to the Exit and Entry Administration so that they can call me and confirm that I'm the same "foreigner on a bicycle going north" as the "foreigner on a bicycle" reported 35km to the south, it takes about 30 minutes but at the end of those 30 minutes, I've actually paid for my room and have more blankets.

I didn't even get grumpy or annoyed with anyone until they came back the second time with three more people from the Village Committee, two nurses from the hospital, and three uniformed officers and had me sit in the cold as fuck lobby filling out the Stupidest Paperwork Known to Mankind.

It's November 2020. Do you really need to be giving anyone a data sheet on "What We Know About Covid"? (Which I really wish I'd thought to keep because I think it was still identified as the Wuhan Pneumonia).

I have a negative NAT that is less than a week old. From one county to the east for fucks sake. And I've been in this province for three weeks. Which the people who talked to me on the phone are aware of! 

But, other than aggressively filling out my quarantine dates as March 14 to March 29 before signing the piece of paper that says I agree to be quarantined, I'm cooperative. I just make it very very clear that I'm being cooperative on the basis of cooperation being the right thing to do and not on the basis of them being anything other than idiots.

Today's ride: 32 km (20 miles)
Total: 2,796 km (1,736 miles)

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