Oops I did it again!: (with apologies to Brittany Spears) - 石家庄→正定→石家庄 Shijiazhuang to Zhengding and back - CycleBlaze

September 13, 2003

Oops I did it again!: (with apologies to Brittany Spears)

I'm sure, to a serious cyclist, a little more than 18 miles in one day isn't all that much. But, to me, at this time, it was a whole heck of a lot. That I did it and then went back and did it AGAIN the next day is truly astonishing.

Two years later I still don't call myself a serious cyclist but I consider a ride of that nature very light activity.

Two years later I no longer refer to parts of my bike as thingywhatsis. Not only can I correctly name them in English I frequently know the Chinese words as well.

The day dawned at around sunrise. I'm convinced it must have been a beautiful sunrise because it led to a beautiful day. I wouldn't know. I was sound asleep. Despite a two hour nap after returning to Shijiazhuang the day before I still ended up sleeping over ten hours.

When I did get out of bed the world was bright and sunny and the sky was blue. The sky had not been that piercing sky blue color since shortly after the last time it rained but it had been blue every day for the last week. It was a muted soft blue. "It's a boy!" blue you might call it. But, no matter what you call it, it very definitely had been blue.

This all pervasive blueness of the sky-colored sky changed the way I look at the world. As I was bicyling northeast on ShengLi BeiDaJie I could see some buildings far off in the distance that were party obscured by haze. My first reaction was to think that the pollution must be pretty bad to make so much haze that those buildings were obscured. My second reaction was to note that these buildings were some miles distant and that there had been times when I had been unable to see all the way across the school compound due to the haze.

The Basilica of Holy Mary Mother of ... What The Hell is That Doing Here?! was where I had left it, sitting in the fields a few kilometers outside of town. It is one of those things that is so peculiar and so unlikely that I was half certain it would be gone when I came back and that my photos would turn out black. I went about a kilometer up the most promising road which ended up only taking me farther and farther away. I'm not sure how one gets there. I know some Christians in this city, when I develop my film I'll ask one of them what it is and how one gets there.

(Not only did they not know what it was, they didn't know it was there.)

I am even more certain now that the huge ditch I crossed must be man made. According to my odometer from the very start of the bridge to the very end of the bridge it is exactly 1/2 kilometer. This is too precise. Nature just isn't that precise.

This time I followed the signs which told me to take the first turning on my right if I wanted to see the sights of Zhengding city. It was a very unimpressive road. The willow trees were little baby willow trees that didn't give much shade. I could see farms, farms, farms, and more farms. I'm not sure if this is an area that they are working on reforesting or if they are just using it as a convenient place to grow trees, but many of the crops were growing near the roots of young oak trees around 5 years old.

It was a dull boring road. It was a monotonous road. The only thing this road had that made it a useful road was the kilometer markers which I was able to use to confirm that my odometer is correct. Finally I got to the left turn for Zhengding. It was an equally dull and monotonous road of little beauty. Then I saw why I wanted this road.

Oh my.

Western gate of the city walls of Zhengding.(河北省正定城)
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Just inside the southern gate of the city walls of Zhengding.The southern gate of the city walls is very impressive. So impressive and so largely grande that, lacking a wide angle lens, I completely failed to take a picture of it.(河北省正定城)
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Today's ride: 36 km (22 miles)
Total: 69 km (43 miles)

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