I cooked up a large bowl of pasta this morning, I’m aware that I’m not really getting as much food as I should be in this last section of the ride but that said I’m never really hungry. Having eaten my power bowl of pasta I felt up and ready for a day on the bike. It was then just a small matter of packing everything up again. This is where I sometimes wish I had someone with me as it would be nice for a change to just sit and drink a coffee while someone else did this chore.
More of the same.......
Once out on the road though I felt great and had covered 50km in no time. The way the roads are now, slightly up and down mean that you are never quite sure what is over the next small hill. On this occasion I was really pleased to see a small café in the distance.
As I pulled closer I could see that there was also a motor bike tourist sitting outside with a couple of locals, a fellow Englishman no less! I was aware of the fact that there was an Englishman riding in these parts as I’d been told so by the lady I made a couch request to in my next city Uralsk she’d even posted the link to his website. It wasn’t difficult to put two and two together and when he introduced himself as Derek I immediately followed up with “Ah Mansfield” Fame in this part of the world for tourists isn’t hard to come by as we are few and far between.
It was so nice to chat to another Brit and he even knew where Forest Row was, I was amazed. We chatted over tea and he gave me the lowdown of what to expect in Russia “Samara, a real old Soviet city” We complained grudgingly about the state of the roads in Kazakhstan but agreed that the people made up for it in bags with their hospitality. After a good half and hour or so of chatting it was time to head off again and despite the fact we are both heading in the same direction we were both going to reach it in very different times. Who knows perhaps he’ll still be there when I arrive on Tuesday.
Meeting other travelers on the road always gives you a little extra lift and this was once again the case today. I rode the next 60km with consummate ease and rolled into Zhimpity a little after three in the afternoon.
Occasionally while riding I’ll get a real hunger one might call it a craving for a certain type of food. Today’s food was that of a Snicker and I began to envisage getting my hands on one as soon as I hit Zhimpity. The site of the Helios gas station was candy to my eyes and I strode through the doors with one thing on my mind……Snickers.
I knew it’s about 135km from Zhimpity to Oral and I’m not sure how many cafes will be along the way so I stocked up on water for what will be my last proper ride in Kazakhstan. There is also probably an 80km section from Uralsk to the Russian border but tomorrow I’ll arrive in Uralsk and it will mark the end of nearly two months riding across the country.
It’s only when I look at the map and see what a massive distance I’ve covered in Kazakhstan that I can feel proud of what I’ve achieved. It’s not been easy riding at all largely because of the terrible state of some of the roads but as another cyclist I met was told by a local guy here “if you can ride through Kazakhstan you can ride anywhere”
I managed to find a culvert after 150km and was really glad I got off the road when I did as ten minutes after doing so and almighty storm reigned down upon where I was.
The raging storm outside my luxury hotel!
And the pleasant aftermath