On day two following the north shore of Lake Issyk Kul, things continued the way they stopped yesterday. Beautiful weather, nice landscapes with lots of trees and fields, and view on lake and mountains. The more to the west I went however, the landscape got drier and the wind stronger. In the end the wind turned into a real storm. Direction: headwind! So it made me stop a bit earlier than planned, but still I managed to cycle 120 km today.
Cycling until Cholpan-Ata for lunch
There are many hotel resorts along the northern shore of Issyk Kul because in July and August, the lake is a popular destination for rich Kazakhs and Russians who come here to spend their summer holidays at the beach. While they are spread along many kilometers, they are concentrated in a place called Cholpan-Ata. It is quite a touristic place and even now in preseason, there were quite a few tourists. As I wanted to have lunch in a restaurant today (as compared to buying bread and sausage in a shop), this was a good place to stop. After cycling through beautiful landscapes and some villages, I arrived there and also found a decent restaurant. As we were close to the lake, I ordered trout from the grill. It was not the best fish I ever had, but it was tasty.
Stormy weather after lunch
Before I entered the restaurant, the sky was blue and the weather perfect. Three hours later after an extensive lunch break however, the sky was black when I left the restaurant. Big thunderstorms were forming over the mountains all around the lake. Time to continue I thought and I managed to escape all kind of storms and rain for the next 50 km. But then, after leaving a village, I was suddenly confronted with a very strong headwind. I intended originally to cycle for another 30 km to the next city with guesthouses, but the wind was simply too strong. I fought another 10 km against the wind and asked at a shop in a small village if there is any kind of guest house. But the village was too small. However as it happens regularly here, the shop owner invited me to sleep at his house. I gladly accepted today because I neither felt like sleeping in a tent in the storm, returning 10 km to the last village with a guesthouse in the direction of the wind nor fight another 20 km against the wind.
Descending to the heat tomorrow
Right now I am still above 1600 m where the temperatures are around 24°C during the day, which is nice for cycling. Tomorrow however I will descend towards Bishkek which is less than 200 km away. Bishkek lies on 800 m and temperatures are around 32°C during the day. It will definitely be more exhausting to cycle down there, but since there are only two days of cycling left until Bishkek, I won’t complain.
Max elevation: 1776 m
Min elevation: 1621 m
Total climbing: 1487 m
Total descent: -1578 m
Total time: 10:13:26