After a night on 2200 m at the foot of the Kaldamo Pass, I started the final climb of 800 m in the morning and reached the top of the pass 2.5 hours later. After enjoying the fantastic view from up there for a while and chatting with some Dutch tourists who went over the pass by car, I started the descent to Kasarman, a small city in central Kyrgyzstan.
Waking up on a deflated mattress
The key to a good sleep in a tent in cooler temperatures is a good mat. I have such a mat from Thermarest which isolates well and is very comfortable to lie on. However, this night the air somehow went out of the mattress, letting me basically sleep on the ground, which is very uncomfortable. I hope that I just did not close the valve properly, and that there is no hole in the mattress.
Apart from the mattress, I had a good night on 2200 m next to the road and could enjoy breakfast together with a beautiful sunrise in the mountains. It was nice to look down on the valley that I have cycled yesterday. And it was also impressive to see what is still ahead of me today.
The climb of the pass was impressive. Within 3 km of the top, the road was climbing along the mountain, and it did that from 1800 m up to the top. The consequence of that are very narrow roads and steep slopes, which are equally impressive and scary. As the climb was steep but steady, I made good progress and reached the top 2.5 hours later. On the way I was passing huge snow walls, cycling through mud and small creeks that run on the road. And at several places there were workers keeping the road intact with heavy machinery imported from China.
Once on top, I could enjoy a wonderful sight. The air was very clear and I could spot some of the high peaks of the Pamir Mountains which are a few hundred kilometers away, such as Pik Lenin. I took a well-deserved break, ate some snacks, chatted with Dutch tourists, and then started the descent towards Kasarman.
Just like during the climb, I was passing a lot of melting snow fields on the way down from the pass, which resulted in muddy and generally wet conditions on the road. My bicycle however is very heavy, and it was no problem cycling down through the mud at the cost of some dirty clothes. After descending almost 1000 m, I arrived in an area of small green hills which separated me from today’s goal Kasarman. These hills were treacherous: even though not high at all, they forced me repeatedly to climb and descend around 100 m, making the final ride to Kasarman quite tedious. The bad road conditions also did not help to make the ride more pleasant. Nevertheless, I managed to reach Kasarman at a decent hour and find a bed in a homestay, where I am going to sleep well tonight.
Tomorrow I will continue cycling east. I was told that the road conditions are not good, so I will most likely have a tough day tomorrow again.
Max elevation: 2917 m
Min elevation: 1295 m
Total climbing: 1599 m
Total descent: -2471 m
Total time: 09:03:30