D1: 西安 → 正阳 - Me China Red - CycleBlaze

March 19, 2021

D1: 西安 → 正阳

Zoom Meetings where I'm expected to speak in Chinese in front of a crowd are even worse than meat space meetings where I'm expected to speak Chinese in front of a crowd.
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Today, I had the best ever excuse for having a very early end to a cold rainy day: I had to attend a meeting.

I knew the meeting was happening. I knew the meeting was happening at 3pm. I knew there was no way that I was going to manage to attend the meeting (even remotely) at 3pm and also manage to visit the museum (that was farther away from my start point than I thought) I wanted to make my first point of interest for this year's Tour. And yet, I still decided that starting today was better than starting tomorrow.

What a lovely day to start touring
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Truly perfect weather
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Bearing in mind that the weather tomorrow is going to be just as bad as it was today, I suppose what was going on in my head was that if I let myself delay, I'll delay even more. Furthermore, while Marcus and his wife are both lovely people, three nights on anyone's couch hits a bit of a limit for me as, if I were to start working, I'd feel like a bad houseguest, but there's also my presence interrupting him from working. 

Much to my surprise, given how little time I spent on the haphazard act of packing before this trip, the only things that didn't come with me are the socks I couldn't find, the odometer I couldn't find, the multi-tool I couldn't find, and the camera battery that is currently sitting in my laptop bag. Socks have been sorted out with the gift of two pairs in one of my favorite colors (neon green) with the words "if you can read this, buy me a beer" written on the soles; an odometer has been bought; a multi-tool has been loaned to me; and a new camera battery ordered off of taobao.

Never ceases to amaze me the sheer variety of stuff being moved around China on the back of large trucks
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Anyone want to buy a large rock?
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As an endurance racer who thinks 300km self supported time trials are the bee's knees, Marcus is downright horrified by the amount of weight I'm carrying on my bike. I've got to admit, it is a bit much. There are things that I don't strictly need; things that I could easily get away with not carrying. I probably won't use the hammock and sleeping bag. I could easily get away with having only one coffee pot with me. I could wash my clothing more frequently. I don't really need to be carrying particular comfort foods like dried fruit and oatmeal when everywhere in China has stuff to eat. 

Left Marcus and Gosha's place heading north until I saw a decent spot to stop for breakfast. Because I was very much in the city and because I've got my bike and all my valuable belongings with me, "a decent spot" was defined as a sidewalk tent in an industrial/warehouse/transportation district that I somehow found myself in. Very much an unlicensed food vendor, they had the advantage of any place with walls and plumbing that I never had to let my belongings out of sight.

Ongoing underpass maintenance
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Looks like they were spraying a pebbled surface paint that probably reduces echoes
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But before they rough the surfaces up, they had to make them nice and smooth
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From there, I turned my GPS on in the direction of the Han Dynasty Terracotta Soldiers (which are a few hundred years later than the famous Terracotta Soldiers). This is a museum whose existence I found out about quite by accident. 

It all started during the process of transcribing my online map to paper, I'd found a site called "泾渭分明" (a Chinese idiom meaning "as clear as the difference between night and day" but which literally means "as clear as the distinction between the Jing and Wei Rivers") and decided, given that my job is all about language, no matter how completely boring it was bound to be, I absolutely had to go visit the real world manifestation of an idiom. Annoyingly, though, all the best routes I could find out of Xi'an meant that to get to this spot I would have to go 5km in the wrong direction and then U-turn to go back the right way. 

I prefer the insides of cities and the outsides of cities
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I do not like the spaces in between the two
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I was showing this to Marcus (in the hopes that he had a suggestion of a better way I could get there) and talking about my route planning flow when I saw (on GoogleMaps) a site that "probably wasn't going to be interesting" because "nothing that has a website ever turns out to be interesting". Only, the more I read about the site, the more interesting it looked.

Basically nothing particularly interesting on my way out of urban Xi'an. Was a little worried about why I'm getting a long slow camera shutter sound off of my camera but (although I still haven't figured out what I did or how to undo it) it didn't seem to be interfering with operations of the camera so I decided to ignore it until I was indoors. It appears that I'm taking two of each photo with a half second delay between them.

Xi'an City Walls near the Train Station
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Some rail line under construction
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Interesting only really happened when I started the daily saga of "attempting to stay at hotels like a normal person". 

Fourth and final visit
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Today's ride: 34 km (21 miles)
Total: 73 km (45 miles)

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