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The Day It All Went Wrong

Since our last day off (now about a week ago) we have had a grueling push to make it to Hami in time to get our visa’s extended one last time. It turns out that 4 days of battling non-stop headwinds, 130km days, 35-40 degree desert heat and dry bread and crackers for breakfast and lunch is all that it takes to crack 4 extremely tired cyclists.

Time for the first team meltdown.

Sitting under a road sign. The only shade for miles

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As we hid under an expressway bridge from the afternoon heat still being slammed by the ridiculous hot strong headwind that we had been battling for hours, a very heated discussion/argument was had. I believe that as a team we had finally found bottom.

That’s right folks, when you are living in close quarters with 3 others it’s not fun and games all the time. Of course as with any argument issues were brought up, potential solutions were listened to and we finally rode off into a beautiful desert sunset after finding some neutral ground and agreeing work on other issues.

Riding off into the sunset

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After having a very late dinner (about 11pm I think) we were yet again tasked with trying to find a place to sleep for the night and it looked like it was going to be one of those towns where prices were incredibly inflated and foreigners weren’t welcome at the cheaper hostels leaving only expensive hotels.

[Enter Jiao]

There as I stepped out of a hotel to let the others know that it was going to cost more than we wanted was a English speaking Chinese cyclist talking to Tom. It turns out that he (Jiao) was on the road a few hours behind us and he too was looking for a place to stay.

Jiao

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He immediately offered to find us cheap accommodation with him. Of course nothing is easy when you agree to help foreigners and at 12am, yet here was Jiao, Katie and myself in a tiny police station trying to convince the local police that we did not have a lot of money and were happy to stay in an “Unapproved for foreigners” hostel.

Somehow Jiao did it. He had shown up just at the right time. Had we not been stuck with another crappy day of headwinds, a team breakdown and been turned away from our initial accommodation choices, we would not have had the chance to meet Jiao.

Surely tomorrow would be better.

Having a break with our new friend Jiao

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[Since the time of writing Jiao has become a welcome guest with the BB team, become a great friend and decided to ride with us to the Kazak border before continuing on his own adventure. I will be writing more about him shortly]

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