As you may have already guessed from my recent post – ” Whats wrong with me? “; im currently cycling through the Pamirs.
As these characters dance across the screen of my mobile phone, my body is recovering from the first leg – 2000 metres above sea level; in a Khorog hostel.
The Pamirs or Pamir Mountains is a collection of ranges in Central Asia through Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and China.
The M41 meanders through the valleys and climbing up the passes, labelled as the Pamir Highway from Dushanbe to Osh – some argue it starts in Uzbekistan.
At times it is as high as 4,000 plus metres earning the title, the Second Highest Road in the World.
Leaving london headed to Europe and to take on the world,the Pamirs wasn’t even a contemplation. Honestly, I hadn’t even heard of it. I can assure you, its a mecca for cyclist’s, as well as the motorised kind and even hitchhiker’s and wanders alike.
The thought of tackling a partially paved, gravel lane, potholed riddled path, to the roof of the world, was sickening. Yet im here right?
Put me in a hammock on the caspian sea and Levison Woods “Walking the Himilayas” in my hands. Suddenly im reading about an adventure into Asia, so close to where I am going, and the Wakhan Valley.
Lost in his tale, on a humid iron box, floating towards Kazakstahn, and it suddenly comes crashing down. The Pamirs, he‘s only bloody walked through the Pamirs! From that moment on, this familiar voice begins to chatter away.
The final nail was the mammoth of a challenge that it appeared to present. I had travelled from London, and lets just say I have a few things on my bike. Those I had met en route – to the mecca that is the Pamirs; had stressed the climbs and road conditions, that meant being heavy loaded was not an option.
Then factor in the weather. At the highest point, it snows most of the year and is incredibly cold. Oh, and climbing higher than 3,000 metres, means acclimatisation is now a real issue.
The huge numbers drawn here, fly out to one of the neighbouring airports, and a few cycle here from Turkey or even Europe. But for the majority, its the main event. That is, it ends at the Pamirs. They don’t carry on to tackle the rest of the world – or so I have found.
So here I am wondering, on one hand is this too much to attempt? On the other hand, im in the neighbourhood, and the whole idea of this fundraising adventure is to challenge myself. What’s harder than this? Dare I say, could anything else I face later on, be this difficult?
After six days, im more excited than ever to roll into the Wakhan valley, stand book in hand, and see the words lift of the page. Even more impatient, to climb to the roof of the world and breathe it all in.
What I have seen so far is like nothing I have ever beforehand, and I’m only on the approach, a third of the way in.