Losing track. Losing my mind. Losing a whole road?
26.04.2012 - 27.04.2012
Well this is going to be a two for one deals as time in limited and there was me thinking this was a holiday!
The 26th I took a short ride to Guazhou. I had intended to go further this day but a number of factors meant that I bedded down there for the night. I arrived at lunchtime as right on cue the wind really picked up. I was up early this morning but it also seems that out here the wind can also get up early!
I was thankful that Guazhou appeared and I was able to take stock over a ridiculously large bowl of noodles. The outside restaurant was packed which meant I had to wait a good 30 minutes for the food to arrive. Such was the size of the bowl it took another 30 minutes to eat. By now it was past midday and the sun was beating down. To be honest I didn’t fancy an afternoon battling it out with the wind and as I rode along the pleasantly peaceful streets I noticed a number of hotels ‘well it wouldn’t hurt just to enquire how much’ I pondered.
Before you knew it I had a keycard in my hand and was headed upstairs. It took a while for me to persuade them to allow my LPY to come up with me but in the end they gave in. My sob sorry of how I simply can’t sleep at night without my bike in sight always seems to do the trick.
I was feeling great the next morning (the 27th) as I anticipated the fairly short trip to Liuyuan. It tends to follow a pattern whereby when I anticipate an easy day the opposite usually happens.
The least said about this nightmarish day the better but I can see you are all on tender hooks so here goes.
I followed the road out of Guazhou for about 5km, simple enough. When I got to the crossroad I noticed the sign for Liuyaun. Perfect, turn left. My GPS also confirmed this was the way. All was good, the road was in perfect condition and with Mantou in my stomach I was feeling great. Eventually the 312 did its usual and started to turn a little rocky, sandy and bumpy but this was nothing that I hadn’t experienced before so I pushed on.
After an hour or so, and at this point you might ask why I persevered for so long, it was clear that something wasn’t quite right. I consulted the map; to my right was the expressway so this had to be the G312. I stopped a truck that was making its way awkwardly along the uneven surface. They informed me that yes Liuyuan was straight down this road, just keep going.
By now parts of the track had become impossible to ride on, the sheer weight of the bike meant the tires just simply sunk into the sand. So I started to push. I must have put 25km behind me and Guazhou when a woman taxi driver stopped and asked where I was going. She told me the road to Liuyuan was pretty much like this all the way and that the G312 no longer existed. She told me the best thing for me to do would be to head back to Guazhou and get on the Expressway.
I’ve not ridden the expressway before because I’ve been under the impression that bikes are strictly prohibited on this type of road. In fact I’d tried on a couple of other occasions only to be ushered away. I tried to explain this to her but she was insistent that it would be okay.
I was now faced with a tough decision, go back 20km or so pushing and riding where possible or keep going on and hope and pray the road would improve. I took the later option…….bad choice.
To cut a very long story short I ended up mostly pushing the bike about 50km before I finally took advantage of one of the culverts under the road which led me up a very steep embankment and onto the expressway. I managed to wave down a police car and they explained that the G30 expressway has now replaced the G312 National highway and that there was no problem me riding it the rest of the way to Liuyuan. You can imagine my mixed emotions at this news. Had I known this earlier I’d have saved myself a lot of anguish but how was I to know? My searches on the net hadn’t brought up any news about this section of the 312 simply going walkabout.
By now it was late and I had to put the pedal to the metal in order to get to Liuyuan before it got dark. So, if any cyclists are reading this at a later date, from Guazhou simply jump on the expressway to get to Liuyuan and save yourself a massive headache.
The days major frustrations of what amounted messing around in a large sandpit were offset by my cheap hotel room for the night, friendly service and excellent dinner of simple Chinese food.
I went to bed thinking is it really possible for a road to simply disappear?
A few photos, just to illustrate the awful state of the road, on the plus side I did start the ride by passing 4000km, every cloud and all that......