In the thick experience of movement and days, in the backroads dust and the chest pressing heat, in the hundred laughter cheek kiss embrace conversations we have, it’s there that the void gets filled, making me ride grinning at how close it was.
Not wanting or wishing or chasing something else. I’m in stationary timestopped movement liberated from hoping for a better view or a softer light or a more ragged horizon. Kyrgyzstan is stasis that I know isn’t permanent but that I can at least be present in heat and contentment.
I don’t care about the equipment, I just want it to be perfect.
I think that span, the morning snow, the frustrations of the mud slog up and past the high point, the clacking rollercoaster descent and then whooosh, silence of our big tires on green carpet doubletrack for days; I think that span snapped and adhered this place to us so here’s where we never want to have missed or ended.
Mountains and steppe, high meadow yurt camps, Silk Roads and the history of Soviet presence, Islam and horsemen and crashing cold rivers. None of the confirmed superlatives will match our wide eyed slow heartbeat wonder.
Altitude makes it so that you only have one burst for a rockpile or for a steep bit, legs twang tense up hard spin and the bike lifts but then the delicate state of your breathing spiral lofts into a wobble in an unstable trough and it’s all you can do to keep going forward.
Gliding through all greens tans blue but for the red barn flash, sounding loudly still summer silence.
I had the chance and laughs to lead the first week from New York City to Pittsburgh. My journal entry is up on the Search and State site.
(9-10 April, 2016)
This heat spell sets some of our plans back, but they were just wispy talk anyway, replaceable by any number of alternative excellent foolish ideas.
That geographic immensity is hard to contain in the imagination so it remains an abstraction, a blurred assurance that on the ground it keeps going and so might you.
I’m delighted to have a small contribution in the 10th issue of Bicycle Traveler, an on-line international magazine on bicycle touring edited by Grace Johnson. You’ll find stories on Uzbekistan and the Sahara, as well as images of Somalia, China, Cameroon and many more. My piece is a short note from Belize that first appeared on this blog.
Download the current and past issues here.
The miles wind and snake and gritty crunch, achieving a clip and breeze until the balance tips and we can feel the sweat under our pack straps telling us that winter is someone else’s thoughts now.
Thread of dirt like the path of unusually ambitious and purposeful cows through brush, the Lime Kiln Trail. Push the bikes up to a sharp crag ridge, then a short fast drop and it’s dusty and snaking through rolling brush, mountains in the distance, a scene from a dozen Westerns and we open it up.