Saturday, August 16, 2014

No photos for now, but here are some random details on the Turkmen rides

* The difference between beep, beep, beep; HOOOOonk; honk, honk; honk + hollers from the every-other work / Russian army / 18 wheeler truck that passes 
* Fresh paved vs tire grooved lumpy vs elephant skin vs smooth dirt roads vs rocky dirt
* Miles of freshly paved side road that no cars are driving on (but I am)
* Camels, wooly goats, prarie dog-like animals on the side of the road
* Lizards and birds that move faster than I do on my bike
* A small cobra snake that crawled up Canadian Bryan's bike and into his bike helmet while we sat at a Coke stop.  The owners attacked it with a hoe, getting snake blood on his panniers.
* Apparently Lada drivers are nicer than newer car drivers
* A 80km ride to lunch that takes 82 km.  Oof.
* Canal water that has a bloated, dead rat in it is still basically clean, right?
* The pleasure of an established squat, pit toilet; over dig-your-own hidey hole
* Hand-off of a bottle of cool water from a random woman in a car, right when I needed it at the end of a long hot ride
* Turkmen women's long, colorful dresses and cylindrical headdresses
* Still there are melons; still tomato and cucumber salad; mince meat kebabs
* French construction workers in Ashgabat who say they must haggle with cops who would fine them for everything. "You have a dirty car // I don't have dirty car, I just washed it // You have a dirty car - pay me."
* Military men on every street corner in Ashgabat.  White marble ministry buildings on every street.  Ministry of Fairness. Gold leaf plating on the palace. None of which you can take photos of.  No one lets you take photos of anyone; they hold up their arms in an X - no photo.
* Groupthink of day-in-day-out group riding. Pelaton riding.  Tire widths. Holding a line.  Concentrating on someone's back tire for long periods of time.  Beats fighting the headwinds alone.  
* Loneliness, desperation, inspiration from long solo riding into a hot headwind.  Dividing 120km into 30km chunks, then 10km, then 5, then - let's just make it 1 more km, so that i can make it to another one.
* Sweating in a tent at night, waiting for the air to cool down.  
* The one more morning i missed my 4:30am alarm, and woke up at 5:45am.  All other tents were packed, everyone had had breakfast, and riders were already on the road. What!  I packed in 10 min, missed breakfast, rode all angry-liek to catch up
* Gruel for breakfast; but supper = feast.
* Pull-up PR (using rafter of a shade structure at the last camp before Ashgabat.)
* Well-water bucket bath = awesome.  On the days with no water at camp, I use just 1/2 liter of water in a bowl and wet wipes to keep cleanish.