March 31 – April 1, 2013
Distance: 29.1 miles Climbing: 2506.6 ft
We had a pretty tough day battling the headwind, the heat and the traffic. The first part of the ride was in a dry dusty canyon like area which the road followed for a while before starting a big climb. The landscape was wide open with some pretty huge rice terraces, but everything was brown brown brown. We were having trouble getting into a rhythm to grind up the hill so I ended up playing Rhianna’s greatest hits out loud on the speakers on our tablet. It helped me get me up the hill and I’m sure Chandler enjoyed it too. The best part was the looks we got from the farmers selling vegetables by the side of the road. We had a nice long super fast descent on nice pavement which just about made us forget about the climb.
As we were getting close to Lancang we started up yet another hill and the battery on the tablet was dead, so when we passed a gazebo, we stopped for a break. This structure was one of the more interesting aspects of the ride. It turned out to be part of a tiny rest area which was dominated by a nicely kept garden with paths running through it. We took time for a snack and a snooze in the shade of the gazebo before hitting the road again.
We rode into Lancang and stopped at the first hotel we saw. It was another typical Chinese low-end business hotel (business being a broad term), but it was pretty cheap, had clean sheets and wifi.
After dumping our panniers, we peddled off to find a supermarket. This actually turned out to be quite easy. We went through a crowded market and up a short hill and there was a supermarket. This store was similar to almost every other one we have seen in China. There were aisles of unidentifiable packaged goods, a bulk section and a hot lunch bar, which mostly offered chicken feet salad, quail eggs and soups. This supermarket did contain one of the more impressive jello-like substance displays I’ve ever seen. Having never been a fan of the stuff I can’t understand the draw, but there must have been at least 40 different flavors.
When we woke up early enough for the start of the ballgame, it was raining hard and that was enough for us to decide not to ride. We had a nice time lounging around, listening to the Red Sox over the internet. I spent time writing up a few blog posts to email to Tayler to post online for us.
After the rain let up, we went to the supermarket for a little grocery shopping. Chandler found a military surplus store the night before, so we decided to swing back around to look at some chairs. We parked our bikes and a woman in a tight mini dress and pink, sparkly high heels came out to help us. Not what you would expect at a military surplus store. We ended up purchasing two lightweight camp stools, a hat and a police t-shirt.
The day was wonderfully uneventful. While I don’t mind taking a day to do absolutely nothing, it is all we could really do in Lancang. There are hundreds of thousands of people living in the city but there isn’t any clear tourist infrastructure (foreign or domestic), museums or even a cinema that we saw. There really wasn’t much to do. We looked around the internet, but there wasn’t any info there in English. Maybe there was more than just clothing shops and random goods stores, but nothing we could find. Either way, it was really strange.