Goal today was get to CP1 well before the time cutoff. I tried to get up early and get on the bike by 4:30, but it was unsuccessful. It was really freakin cold. It wasn’t too bad when I went to bed, so I had stripped down to nothing and gotten into my sleeping quilt before going to sleep. I awoke in the middle of the night to find the temperature below freezing sleeping on the cold ground because my sleeping pad had completely deflated. I had left all of my really warm cloths packed on the bike outside my tent so I could get moving quickly in the morning. It was now barely warm inside my quilt, but too cold outside my quilt to warrant getting some warm cloths. I finally mustered the energy to get moving around 5 am and was on the bike by 5:30.
Once on the bike I discovered the supposedly warm gloves I had brought totally suck. They are fleece lined neoprene Glacier Glove brand ice fishing gloves. Probably fine for ice fishing. Worthless for cycling. Only way to get my hands warm was just keep moving and hope for the best. When the sun finally hit me, I felt much better.
The views today were amazing as usual. From my campsite, the route proceeded up this long gradual valley then it hit a short 2 mile steep climb over and 11,400 ft pass. There were scattered yurts and lots of horses and sheep grazing. As I had expected, I needed to push my bike up the last part of the climb. My goal had been to make the pass by 10am, which I did accomplish despite the late start. The initial portion of the decent was stunningly beautiful.
Once I got down the steeper portion of the climb the road turned really rough. There were long sections with lots of river rock as the surface and the last 20 miles before CP1 had this brutal washboard. I got to CP1 with 8 hrs begorw the cutoff which was really nice.
CP1 was at a guest house in the town of Kochkor. I was greeted by the volunteers, got my brevet card signed and had a warm meal – noodles and dumpling soup. I delayed a bit to let my devices get a charge and I was tempted to spend the night at the guest house. I looked at the rear wheel and it is supper wobbly at the hub. But I felt really good and decided to press on a bit and see if I could knock out some more miles.
I camped in the desert under the stars on my deflated mattress.