then began the rain, which didnt let up, and hasn’t let up much since. the weixi road was uphill all the way, but not so steep i couldn’t skate it. weixi sucked, a really drab, new-town chinese-style, and rain or not, i decided to move the next day. rain it was, and 5 hours uphill, followed by a shitty-nasty broken road downhill, through mud puddles and torn concrete, dirt road mixed with crappy pavement bits.

patchwork asphalt!

that really sucked, in the rain, but i came to a place where the road was perfect, for maybe 12km, downhill through a wonderful valley. too bad it was really pissing down rain, and i had to concentrate mostly on slippery turns and footbraking, it was more dangerous than fun. but that’s also a cool situation, somehow, keeping one’s mind on staying ont he board, on the road, when it has the potential to get really fast and out of control. its a rush to be at the edge of control, sometimes edging out beyond that edge, riding really fast. helmet, kneepads, elbow pads, slide gloves…these all really make me feel better, even if they wont stop me from breaking an arm or a leg, at least if i go down on the road, i can get back up and laugh about it, instead of clutching some pained scrape or new bruise.

at the end of this ride, the road end, and turned into a cobblestone road, over which i hitched a 10km ride, and after a night in a hotel, took another 30km bus ride, to get out of the ricky pit and back onto the road. i wasn’t about to walk all that way through the rain, so the idea to ‘not skate it all’ was less distressing, and i was psyched again to get back onto what is labellled on the map as a ‘first-class road’. first class indeed, this road gave me a fantastic skate, even if mostly through drizzle, then a real downpour.

the slope was enough to keep pushing just enough, to keep moving at a good clip, enjoying emerald green forests clinging to lumpy hills above luminous green rice paddy. really gorgeous, and after that, some uphill, then some more wet downhill, at which point i had had enough of skating in the rain, my front right bearings were grinding, and i was cold.

i stopped skating at the crossroads, and took the next minivan over the ridge and down into shaxi. shirley greeted me at horsepen 46 with two awesome espressos. welcome home!

so i have skated over 800km, 8 days up to the glacier, and six days back, a bit quicker than i had imagined. i will rest in shaxi today, then go back to the crossroads to continue. my plan is to skate, rain or shine, the dali road, and meet dandan when she arrives on the 7th. i expect that will take 2 and a half days, and will make up my 42km missing kilometers, those the rides i took past construction sites and the broken road, and give me my 1000km, which is my goal this time out.

so, the remote, wild part of the trek is behind me, and 800km or a thousand, it was pretty awesome getting up there and back. but i am not finished skating yet…

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  1. Well done man. What an adventure. Skating to meet your girl… now if that is not romantic I will eat my hat. Bravo. Best Paul

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