10.04.09

Out of india

Posted in The journey journal, Uncategorized, india at 5:40 pm by Administrator

Well I thought that I’d put a quick post up to say that we are out of india and are currently enjoying the relative calm of kathmandu.
The last while in india was typically fun. The package that we were waiting for was a massive problem as most things are in india. After 4 and a half hours in teh Kanpur post office and abusing the highest managers. I managed to find out that my package was in Delhi and it would take a further 4 days to reach Kanpur where I could then pick it up. After already waiting 6 days since it reached teh country I decided to get the 7 hour cattle class train to delhi and pick it up in person and then get the train back. The process there was a realtively simple 3 hours in the foreign post office to get the package but finally I did!!!!!!! WOOHOO. I nearly danced in the post office. I am still amazed at the complete incompetence of the indian postal staff and the lack of knowledge of their own system or care that they had no idea. They were on a par with the ethiopians, and that is saying something. But by doing that I freed us up to leave the god forsaken place and so after the usual hassle and crap we got an overnight train to gorakhpur and then the bus to the border.
My little adventure to delhi enabled me to have a few conversations with some indians about their country and their lives. It seems that I’ll never know all of india because the poor people can’t speak english and seem unable to communicate in even the most primative ways outside of their own spoken language. (even in the most rural parts of europe some form of communication was possible with no common words at all but that doesn’t seem possible in india) So I’ll never learn their point of view and the rich of india are completely oblivious to the fact that the country is full of disgustingly poor and reched people. They remind me of the world per columbus, they knew the world was flat because they refused to see the evidence. I could go on for hours how india is killing itself because the rich are convinced that the technology is the way forward and waste billions on sending probes to the moon when the poor can’t even afford paper to learn to read with let alone feed themselves. More than 350 million people in india live in extreme shit, beyond anything that I’ve seen anywhere else in teh 58 countries that I’ve been too and yet the rich classes are completely oblivious to any problem. They all need to do an AA course to get out of the denial stage.
But all that is behind us now. Also below is a photo of Nic in her indian outfit that we bought. It is typical of local cut and colour and looks pretty nice on her. The looks that she got once wearing it changed from teh drooling look on a sex object to looks of that on a novelty. that was an improvement but it was still intrusive and was too little too late.
I’ll blog about our entry to Nepal and post photos of Nci in her outfit soon.

Tc and Nic

09.09.09

The Stats to Tbilisi

Posted in The journey journal, Uncategorized, tips and repairs at 8:12 am by Administrator

Countries visited = 15
Total Km = 6878.0
Total elevation gain = 51753 m
total days = 116
cycling days = 84
Highest point = 1864 masl
Days of rain = 30
Days with head wind = 36.5
Day with tail wind = 25
Injuries
-Trent = 10
-Nic = 3
-Christal = 3
-Road Kill = 1 poor little snake
Flats = 14
Repairs
- 2 chain breaks
- 1 new hub
- 2 new tyre
- 2 new sets of brakes
- 1 bag clip
Co riders = 9
Side trips = 6
Visas required = 1
Visas gained = 3
Passes 1000 m plus = 8
Passes 2000m plus = 0
Longest day = 148 km
Fastest speeds
-Tc = 68.8km/h
-Nic = 62.1km/h
Average time on bike per day = 4.5 hrs
Steepest grade
-official 11%
-unofficial 15%
Hottest day = 42 deg C in Greece
Coldest day max = 16 deg C in UK
Longest time without shower = 6 days
Days of free camping = 53
Days of hospitality accomm = 19
Wedding proposals = 2
Average km per cycling day = 81.88 km
Average km per day = 59.29 km

09.02.09

The last of Turkey

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:56 am by Administrator

So we are now in Georgia but more about that latter. For now I’ll fill in the gaps on the last few days in Turkey. Thankfullly the road along the black sea is flat pretty much all of teh way from Samsun to the border which is hundreds of Ks and thats awesome. The winds were variable but ever present. Some in front and some (yes) were behind. After trabzon and the hundreds of km of passing through hazelnut areas it was nice to pass through the tea growing regions. The terraced hills of tea are so beautiful. We dropped in and visited a mine that I worked at a bunch of years ago and apart from upgrading the road in there not much has changed. We got free Cay in Cayeli which was cool and had some nice free camping along the way. We met a polish cycle tourist near the georgia border and he gave us his map of the country which was awesome.
One thing I will say about Turky is that after 5 odd weeks the drivers of the country have really started to wear on me. Their constant use of the horn is excrutiating. They seem to have mastered 2 opperations of their vehicles only. Those are the accelerator and the horn. I mean why use indicators when you have a horn. Why use brakes when you have a horn, why use the radio when you can’t hear it over the horn, why use mirrors when everyone else (except cyclists, but they don’t matter) has a horn. They even took great pride at tooting at us while travelling through tunnels to let us know that they were there (idiots!!!) The turkish driving is pretty appauling. Not nearly as bad as the kosovans and a differewnt bad from the Australians but still bad. (I still rate the drivers of Australia in the worst 3 in the world) One Turkish example of great driving was that as we were cruising along a double highway, with not a car in sight in either direction, in good light and good road conditions we both jumped out of our skin as we heard behind us a skretch of brakes. We looked to see a car vear from the left lane across the right and hit the gutter and then roll over and slide down the road towards us. It happened about 200 m behind us and the guy couldn’t have been travelling at more than 80 kmph. I mean, how can you roll your car in perfect conditions travelling at 80. The thing that scared us was that if he had have done it 2 seconds latter he would have taken us out. The tool crawled out of the car ok and got straight on the phone to his family (bugger the police). We left when the crowd of onlookers and finger pointers blocked off the whole road and so that we knew that we’d be safe riding for a few hours.
Anyway gotta head but have fun and I’ll write about our georgia adventures (and wowo they’ve been adventuresa so far) soon.

Tc and Nic

08.12.09

Turkish delight

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:26 pm by Administrator

Just had one of those great moments where you look around you and then think to yourself, “damn, I’m happy with my life”. It was as I was sitting in the seventh story window of a very interesting club in istanbul. The band on stage was playing a punk cover version of “I kissed a Girl”. On my level and above and below were some of the hundreds of roof top bars that blanket the upper portions of every building around the Taksim square region of Istanbul. The roofs were seething with life. Below a snake of people slithered its way along the laneway between cafe tables and the harleys of the local bikie gang. The crowd of the bar bopped around me and I felt like a separate entity from the world. Looking out over a city of 15 million people and feeling part of it and not is amazing.

07.27.09

Tunnels… to love or to hate

Posted in Hints, Uncategorized at 10:14 am by Administrator

Tunnels pose such a problem for us. If there is a tunnel on the road then it is obviously helping you avoid large steep and nasty hills or long and arduous detours, which is awesome but they are so dodgy. It helps now that we are in greece and they have started using lights in teh tunnels again but we’ve been through tunnels upto 750m long that have ZERO lighting. That’s a little harsh for a bike. We don’t ride at night and so don’t really need the lights and I’m really lucky that I’d changed the batteries in my front light the day before teh long dark tunnel (at that there was no traffic at the time) or we would have been screwed. Also my little accident 2 days ago in Bulgaria happened in a tunnel where i got a front tyre flat and lost control and a bit of skin but more about that in the bulgaria sum up. Then there was the experience in Italy just before Cinque terra where we had 10 km of one way tunnels that we had to do at 40 plus km/h to avoid the on coming traffic entering the tunnels before we left them. Wow that was scary and exhausting but it did save 30 km of riding in some seriously steep terrain. I think that overall we will cope with tunnels but could quite easily live without them.
Tc

07.12.09

Slovinian Awesomeness

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:04 am by Administrator

So after my slightly scathing attack on italy I figured that I should post some positive stuff and basically its impossible to say negative stuff about slovenia.
From the second that we hit the border it was spectacular. The countriside was gorgeous and it seems that they have been handing out free house paint for years and so all the houses are beautiful. All of the industry is hidden behind nice clumps of trees and even the rubbish dump that we passed looked kinda pretty. The drivers were so far the best that I have encountered in the world and seemed be actually aware that cyclists exist and didn’t want to run us over. In fact they deliberatley tried to get out of our way all the time. Even the slight waynes world feel to the mens fashion in the countriside had a certain charm. The people were the most interested in talking to us than anywhere else so far with random strangers trying to say hello at every turn. We stayed in Ljubljana with a great couchsurfing family and they even put on a slightly less than legal fireworks show for Nic for Canada Day. Even the fact that it rained every day didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for the place and its beauty. Cycling through Slovenia comes highly recommended by us and you can even avoid riding up most of the mountains and still see lots of the country.
So thanks to Slovenia and to the people that we met Tone and his family and Andrje and everyone else.
big hugs
Tc

our routine

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:51 am by Administrator

the day usually starts with us waking between 6 and 7 but usually 6:30.
I unlock the gear and cook breaky while Nic packs the tent and bedding.
We usually hit the road between 8 and 9 and ride in the cooler morning air.
We need to stop so Nic can snack around 25 to 30 km into the day and then continue on to have lunch somewhere around the 50 or 60 km mark.
then its push to where ever we are aiming for the day with usually less sightseeing in the afternoon.
The number of hills detirmines the number of afternoon breaks.
We usually hit 80 to 100 km for the day but start looking for a camp spot around teh 80 km mark.
We try to free camp as much as possible and thats been really easy to do except along the coast.
Then we set the camp up and I cook dinner while nic does the other chores around teh camp and then we eat and chill and sleep.

06.26.09

Leaving venice

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:58 pm by Administrator

leaving venice tomorrow for Slovenia and my 50th country. running out of internet time doh!

06.17.09

how the gear is surviving after a month

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:24 pm by Administrator

The bikes seem to be holding together well after a month.
I had some troubles because I damaged my chain but thats fixed now.
The tyres and teh brake pads are wearing out fast and will need replacing by istanbul.
I’m still happy with my seat which is the one off of my specialized road bike. Nic’s seat is going ok but she is having more back end problems than me.

The keen sandals are going really well but the tan lines from them are hilarious.

Our tent has been great so far.

the sleeping mats both have holes in them and so really now are just insulators to the ground rather than matresses but we’ll hopefully be able to pick up some patches if we can find a camping store.

our stools were a great idea but they were pretty cheap and so probably won’t last much longer.

the msr stove is really good and we’ve been using unleaded petrol to power is and it is going well. It is the most widely available fuel and we use about 1 euro in fuel per week.

the tioga panniers are very waterproof but they aren’t likely to make the entire journey without problems.

The pack safety mesh that we use to lock up the bags at night is a great peice of mind and has kept the gear safe.

the bikes came with a 48 tooth big ring on the front of the bikes but I up graded it to a 50 tooth ring and I’m happy that I did as we have had the need to push the big ring a few times and its been good to get the speed when needed rather than overspinning.

06.12.09

italian maddness

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:52 am by Administrator

we’ve made it to italy. just a quick update as time is very limited on the internet. the pace of life here is so much more hectic than france. the country of france seems to wake up with a nice stretch and a croissant and then cruise off to what ever they feel like doing. Italy wakes up to a loud alarm, takes several shots of espresso and then scretches out the door to its scooter and then buzzes all day from the caffine. hilariously different to france.
anyway time is up.
Tc

05.30.09

Sleepy

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:48 pm by Administrator

Was going to write lots of stuff about the journey into paris and down the loire valley and now just into the Rhone valley but I’m really sleepy and there is a comfy REAL bed calling my name so the updating will need to wait a little longer……..ZZZZZZZZZ

05.28.09

Wobbly Panniers fixed

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:12 am by Administrator

It was all a matter of balance. I have to put my back ones right to the back and the front ones far forward. Nic is playing with hers in different ways but its all about the balance and needs to be adjusted every day. interesting. At least we can go fast down hills now and the bikes won’t fall apart.

Also I’ve had chain issues as I damaged the chain in London but quick links are the schiznit and they fixed it up quick smart.

05.24.09

Leg 1 under way

Posted in Short trip in Old Blighty, The journey journal, Uncategorized at 5:49 pm by Administrator

First off, please accept my appologies if there are loads of typing errors in this entry as I am slowly learning my way around a french keyboard and it is very hard to change after so many years of being an anglephone. We’re currently in Paris but I’ll start off with our journey setting off in London and the day and a half into dover.

I was stoked to have so many friends brave a sunday morning and the vocal Tamil protesters dressed in their union jack ponchos to come down and fairwell us at parliament square. Also huge hugs go to the 5 that rode out with us. Even though they put up with me taking q wrong turn after 5 minutes on the road and they survived that wonderfully traditional english weather that London had spent all week saving up for us.

We got on the bikes as big ben started striking 10 am and with a bit of drizzle on our backs headed for Elephant and castle and the A2. It got pretty soggy by the time Clemo and Shannon turned back for home and so Jen, Nic and I pushed on by ourselves. The sun did poke through occasionally but the wind was consistently across our noses and the rain meant that we were already breaking out the best of our cold weather gear. The neoprene over booties are a golden idea and recomended to all.

A note to my geol friends. Glaciation sucks when the bedrock is soft chalk. I no longer like ice ages after nearly bursting a pfoofer trying to get all my gear up some of the valley sides on the way to dover. In a day with solidly unfavourqble winds and the mushy legs of someone just starting a journey the added pain of seriously steep hills was entirely unwelcome. Still I managed to ride up everysingle one of the hills, even though I had to use every gear that I had.

We did have a nice pub lunch outside the M25 and ended up free camping in a beautiful little english feild just east of Sittingbourne. The sun had poked its head out long enough to set and we had a carvery dinner at a pub down the road. (how good is England for pubs!!!) The night passed without incident and we set off at 7 the next morn into a stiffening southwesterly and more hills.

We did a breaky stop in Canterbury and had a poke around the cathedral. The cathedral is a pretty cool one and I seem to have gotten over my ABC syndrome (Another Bloody Church). The town of canterbury was also pretty cool and after a few hours we hit the wind and hills and rain again to get to dover.

We chilled in Dover for a bit before getting on the ferry and cruising across la marche. We caused quite a stir by snoozing under the tables but after that we’d hit country 2! Woohoo. Also we knew that we were leaving England because the sun came out as we hit Dover and we sailed into the sunset in France.

Tc

04.20.09

The IRONMAN

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:20 am by Administrator

Nic powers away from the guys in the background.

Nic powers away from the guys in the background.

Trent's last burst of energy

Trent's last burst of energy

So here is a quick run down of how the ironman went in Port Macquarie.
For those that don’t know the Ironman is an excessively long triathlon.
The swim is 3.8 km, the bike ride is 180.2 km and the run is 42.2 km. That equates to a really long way.
Nic finished the event in 14 hrs 25 min, I finished in 12 hrs 47 min and we did the event with my mate Jeremy who kicked all bums and did it in 12 hrs 21.
I never would have thought so but the swim was the easiest bit of the thing by far. There were 1400 people that started the event and so the start of the swim was what I expect its like to jump in a washing machine.
I decided that the transitions were there for a nice relaxing time and so took ages in them but that was all good because there are people in the transition area that are there to wait on you hand and foot. They helped to get off the wetsuit, they handed me jelly beans, they dried between my toes and they lead me in the right direction.
The bike ride was just nasty. It was set up on 3, 60km laps. The first and last 10 km of each lap consisted solely of really harsh hills (some that most bikes actually struggled to get up in the rain because the wheels couldn’t grip the road) and the middle 10 km of each lap (5km each side of the turn around) was hilly as well. Our training in townsville consisted of no hill riding as there are no hills here and so we weren’t really prepared for this. My achillies was really suffereing by the last lap but I got through in just over 6 hours. Nic knew that the ride would be the hardest bit for her and so she made sure that she took a few breaks and after pushing through a bunch of breathing difficulties she did the bike in fine style.
The run was actually on a really good course. The laps were kind of a butterfly shape of out and back then out the other way and back. The first out was all flat and the second half had some big hills but it was ok and the crowds along the run were awesome. Our race number bibs also had our names on them and so every one was cheering you on personally and it was a real boost. I ran the first half of the marathon in 2hrs 15 and I was pretty happy with that but my legs weren’t in a mood to cooperate and so my calves started to cramp badly. As a conssequence the second half of the run took over 3 hours and I finished in the dark. Nic did the first half lap of the run faster than me and ended up with a marathon time of 5 and a half hours. Thats pretty ace for someone that says that running is their least favourite thing in the whole entire universe.
We were really happy to have had Jenn come to visit us from Canada to watch the event and having her out on the course, cheering us on was great. Jenn deserves great big hugs and best wishes for her own marathon that’s coming up.
The weather on the day was almost perfect for hurting yourself with overcast lightly drizzling conditions to keep us cool and hydrated and the wind wasn’t too bad but I wish that it had have been behind me more often.
As a wrap up I’m pretty sure that I won’t be doing another one of these in a hurry. Its awesome to say that we’ve now achieved one of the hardest regular things that a person can do to their body but I had much more fun on the half or olympic distances. I think that after we get back from teh bike ride we’ll do a little concentrating on the shorter ones and try to have a life at the same time as the training. If anyone needs some tips on the training for one of these then let me know and I’ll tell you some people that may help.
Tc

03.26.09

The tibetan part of the journey

Posted in Uncategorized, Visas at 6:12 am by Administrator

So I have found a tour guide willing and apparently able to take us from Kathmandu to Lhasa and beyond.
The itinery that he has proposed is

Day 01: Kathmandu to Kodari border (Nepal/Tibet border)
Day 02: Border to Nyalam
Day 03: Nyalam acclimatization
Day 04: Nyalam to Beyound Thong La
Day 05: Beyound Thong La to Tingri
Day 06: Tingri to Rongbuk
Day 07: Rest day at Rongbuk and hike up to EBC
Day 08: Rongbuk to Tingri
Day 09: Tingri to Shigar
Day 10: Shigar to 5-km N. of Gyatso La
Day 11: After Gyatso La to Lhatse
Day 12: Lhatse to After Tso La
Day 13: After Tso La to Shigatse
Day 14: Rest day at Shigatse
Day 15: Shigatse to Gyantse
Day 16: Rest day at Gyantse
Day 17: Gyantse to Before Karo La pass
Day 18: Before Karo La pass to Nagarste
Day 19: Nagarste to after Khamba La pass
Day 20: After Khamba La pass to Lhasa
Day 21: Lhasa
Day 22: Lhasa
Day 23: Lhasa
Day 24: Lhasa to after Ganden monastery
Day 25: Ganden to after Rutok
Day 26: Rutok to Sumdoka
Day 27: Sumdoka to Gyamda
Day 28: Gyamda to Beba
Day 29: Beba to Nyintri county
Day 30: Drive to Rawu Lake
Day 31: Pashu to Pamda
Day 32: Pamda to Gyalthang
Day 33: Drive to Lijiang

He will be driving near us in a land cruiser and carrying the gear. I originally thought that this might be a bit of a woose out but then I figured that just riding over the Himalaya was probably achievement enough without the gear.
Its not exactly the most sustainable way of transporting stuff but its seriously the only way that I’ve found that even looks promising to get through Tibet. I figured that the overall benefit of the ride would outweigh that slight addition to pollution.
Other people are also very welcome to come along for that section and if you contact me I can let you know the costs involved (not the cheapest but pretty fun) and all the more hairy details involved in getting you there and to see Everest Base Camp.
I’m pretty stoked that I’ve found this guy and hopefully the Chinese will open Tibet soon and we can make sure that we get through.
Yipee