Made it to Huaping. Usual industrious town. On the road at 0800. Day started with a massive descent down to 1400m for about 52km, then a climb back up to 2300m for the following 20km, and ending with a descent into town sitting around 1225m above sea level. Great road, little traffic, although final descent was bumpy. Rolled into town at 1500 and found accomodation, ate, wandered around town and relaxed.

Made it to Yongsheng - nice quietish little town. Hit the road at 0900. A very tough day with a 17km climb up to 2775m  to start things off (the highest I've been so far) - was dusty and unsealed in parts as I passed factories, then a massive descent followed (the biggest I've ever done) down to 1400m - was about an hour long at over 40km/h, topping out at 59km/h! Not easy though as bitumen was rough and there were many 180 degree corners, I had to stand on the pedals most of the way. I was impressed with my brakes as they didn't show any signs of fading. At 65km mark my rear tyres sidewalls were starting to fail. Two different sections of the tyre on either side had expanded to about 3 inches wide instead of the usual 2 inches. I decided to push on as I still had a big climb ahead of me and limited time and didn't fancy a roadside repair. Amazingly the tyre held together even with a pronounced bump as I rode along. After the descent the road undulated up to around 1650m and then came the big climb into town at 2150m for the final 15km. I started the climb at 1600 and rolled into town at 1800, my face covered with salt that I sweated out during the day. At 90km mark the front tyre had developed a slow leak, and since I was so close to town decided to pump it up instead of wasting an hour patching it up (had to stop every 2-3km to refill with air though which was very tiring). It was 2130 by the time I found some accomodation, unpacked, cleaned up, wandered around town and had some dinner - so will have a rest day here tomorrow to recover and repair/replace tyres and tubes.

04/04/12 - Rest Day, wander around town, repair/replace tyres and tubes. Turns out it wasn't the sidewall of the tyre that had cracked but the carcass on the inside middle had split  for about 15cm. This had weakened the sidewalls causing the tyre to bulge out both sides. I ended up fitting one of my new spare XRs on the rear and retaining the original tyre on the front. I also kept the original tyre off the rear as there are many tyre repair shops here in China so I reckon they'll be able to hot glue a piece of rubber over the damaged section and it should be able to serve a few more kms duty on the front (I'll investigate probably when I get to Xichang, as I need to extend visa there so should have some time) I also fitted new tubes front & rear which I picked up in Thailand (as the original schwalbes have a number of patches on them - I saved them for spares though)

Made it to Dali - the biggest town I've seen so far here in China. On the road at 0900, first 70km was gradual climb at 5% grades or less following the river and valley floor, flanked with massive mountains either side, then it got steeper up to 10% for the next 15km - reaching an altitude of  2400m. The final 10km was downhill into town at 5% or less, sitting around 1950m above sea level. Went on road S213 which was more direct than G214 - the road I've been following for a while now. Another great road this one, a bit more bumpy in parts than G214 but still good, winding road with slightly less traffic. Rolled into town at 1600, found accomodation first hit in new area of town, ate and now relaxing. Will spend  2-3 nights here.

29/03/12 - Rest Day, rode around lake - highly recommended, allow a whole day, you pass through many small villages/towns where you can see the Tibetan people doing there daily chores as they have for centuries. The west side of the lake is much more quiet than the east coast. Temples and viewing towers are also worth checking out.

30/03/12 - Rest Day, wandered around town, walked through Erhai Park - which has nice gardens, bonsai tress and is on a hilltop so you get great views of town. Also walked along riverside boulevardes - unfortunately not suited to bikes as there are steps every couple of hundred metres to disturb your progress.

Made it to Lijiang. Touristy town this one - although mainly asians, not many white people around. Snow capped mountains are nicely visible to the north. On the road at 0900, first 15km climb up to 2300m above sea level, then mainly flat for next 40km with a final climb up to town sitting around 2400m. 45km mark it is a new smooth road (2x2 with 2m shoulder), before this it's a sqeezy 1x1 with no shoulder and bumpy bitumen. Got a lot of traffic till 10am with endless string of tourist buses and trucks, got better as the day went on. Rolled into town at 1330, found some accomodation, ate and now resting. Will spend a day here checking out the sights.

02/04/12 - Rest Day, wander around town, walk through old town - which is an endless myriad of shops and cafes. Lots of little lanes and alleys to explore. You can easily spend a day walking through here - 3 hours was enough for me. Full of little asian tourists with big cameras and big hair. Not many westerners here either. Walked through Heilongtan Park as well which connects to the old town - it has numerous temples and nice gardens, although the river was bone dry.

At Nanjianyizu now. Long tough day today, up and over two 2000m passes. On the road at 0830, first 40km climb up to 2000m pass, then downhill for next 25km, then uphill for second 2000m pass for 25km then final 30km gentle downhill into town - which sits around 1350m above sea level. Grades were up to 10%, although final downhill was gradual at mostly 2% which only gets me up to 38kph, and with the wind swirling I had to pedal every now and again to keep rolling. 5% sees me crack 50kph and anything greater is ludicrous speed. I crawl up at around 6kph - the loaded trucks at about 10kph. Superb scenery, winding road with straight sections, plenty of services along the way to refuel. Passed through 3 tunnels - one was 2.6km long. as well as a bridge over a big gorge and river which looked like the golden gate bridge in San Francisco. Majority of traffic was trucks hauling coal, sand and metal goods. Arrived just before 1800, but still plenty of light - sun doesn't go down till about 1900. Found some accomodation, ate and relaxed. Earnt myself a rest day here tomorrow for todays efforts.

27/03/12 - Rest Day, relax, wander around town. Usual industrial chinese town, apartments under construction, metal workers, mechanics dismantling trucks and motorbikes, nothing much to see or do. Found a temple on top of hill - walked up for views of town.

At Heqing now - middle of nowhere China. Small town on S221 to Lijiang. On the road at 0900, first 55km flat - first bit of flat road in China - has been either up or down until today. Road started climbing to 2500m above sea level for next 15km then was lightly undulating downhill for following 30km with the final 10km into town  at 5% downhill. Back around 2000m above sea level - similar altitude to Dali. Usual trucks, buses, cars and me on bumpy bitumen road (S221). Views of massive valley below while riding along 2500m ridge. Small towns/villages along the way to refuel. Rolled into town 1530, found accomodation, ate, walked through town and now relaxing.

At Yunxian now. On the road at 0915 and rolled into town at 1415. First 40km was nice gentle downhill between 0 and 4% grades. Then about 30km of climbing at up to 10% grades, then rest gentle downhill into town. Found accomodation, ate, wandered around town and just relaxing now. Nothing to see or do in these towns really. Some have a chinese temple if you're lucky nothing else. People just going about their lives like lemmings. Lots of industrial shopfronts here making  fencing, pipes, tanks, etc. as well as a more western style commercial section. All towns I've been through so far have some sort of high rise contruction going on. Riding around these towns isn't great either as like Indonesia people come at you from all directions without looking. The open road is much better - although I've lost count of the number of times someone overtakes me only to slow down , cut me off and stop within 50 metres for no apparent reason.

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