Across Continents

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Tunnel running

December 15th, 2011

Not quite as scary as some of the road tunnels in China, or the Republic of Georgia, but… Near Superior, Arizona



Shy of the summit

November 5th, 2010

I felt a bit disappointed. Cheated even. Had hoped to summit at over eight thousand feet. A record for the expedition. But expectations of a col had been dashed by a tunnel through the mountain. There were consolations. I’d still achieved over seven thousand six hundred feet. A first. It was just that eight thousand had a nice ring to it. And the tunnel was a challenge in itself. All two miles of it.

I’d left the town of Jingning a few hours after sunrise. Bright and crisp. Soon warmed by the steady switchbacks on the climb east. Then a barely perceptible gradient across a wide, flat valley bottom. Farmers busy harvesting in the last of the season’s sweetcorn and potatoes. Beyond the small town of Longde a more formidable climb. To the tunnel.

Length uncertain. Not even a glimmer from the other end. No place for a puncture. I’d have been content to ride through the tunnel alone. However, a young family wasn’t having any of this. A convoy was assembled. Lorry behind me. Four-by-four in front, its hazard lights on. And off we went. Hoping I’d not encounter a pothole. Or, if I did, the truck driver would be quick on the brakes.

At altitude  - web

Two miles later bright sunshine. Gone, for a short while at least, the cultivated hillside terraces. In their place woodlands. It felt more in keeping with being at close on eight thousand feet.

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