In Japan we followed roads in the densest cities with glinting rolling boxes and chirping screens and orderly crosswalks as if from a polished wood future, roads swaying up peaks into greys greens with pavement glinting from recent or hinting rains, some roads that are hardly intact anymore, forlorn tracks between trees.
We’ll visit some sites from tour and guidebooks, mostly we’ll be breath slowing across landscapes to find less insistent beauty, the beauty in the ordinary things in their ordinary state.
Everywhere is in our imagination before we go and even after, but Japan unusually so. Landscapes outside of temporal location, in the city it’s dense quiet incandescent tidy shoulder to shoulder bullet train shoe fall spider web of communication lines vending machines shrines at the foot of glass sheen. We’ll try incompetent noodle slurp, we’ll drink beer with men with loosened collars and identical sloppy knot black ties, we’ll stand quizzically in front of blinking lights for some sort of tawdry robot show.
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.
Above, Pabongka monastery north of Lhasa. 2007. Alex and Ray cruising through Shimla, India before the start of the Himachal stage race. 2007. Luna ambassador Roz and and Irish mountain bike champ Beth helping some […]
Newspaper and television images, then the images of our lowest and high sentiments take over. Abbottabad, Pakistan is in the media today. The narrative and emotional context for Americans interleaves our September 11th staggering heartbreaking tragedy, […]
Sitting (second from left) with locals and Hassan — a Pakistani racer and training partner — up in the hills near Naran. We are taking a break during a ride before the three day Tour […]
Me and Alex Baker at the top of the Annapurna ride, 17,769 ft (5,416 m). Photo by Karen Keirnan. March, 2010.
We had arranged our Annapurna permits in Kathmandu through friends at Pilgrim’s Guest House. Once in Besisahar, we registered with the conservation folks at the start of the circuit (i.e., at the end of town). […]
Mountain biking the Annapurna Circuit.