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Another week and another big chunk of mileage! Tough headwinds, crossing into our second Chinese province (Gansu), a plague outbreak as well as hitting the 8,000 mile marker have been the key features this week.

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Another tough stint to Hami full of long days (five 80 milers in a row) with a bunch of mountains thrown in. On top of that some broken equipment and high temperatures (47C) have added to the challenge.

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I’m in CHINA! It’s been an absolutely huge 6 day stint covering 511 miles, smashing through the 7,000 mile marker in the process, but I’ve reached my first big Chinese city of Urumqi, the capital of Xinxiang province.

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Desert near Charyn Canyon.

Desert near Charyn Canyon.

Right, lucked out and ended up in a cheap hotel in Shonzhy (100km from the Chinese border in Kazakhstan) with Wifi so thought I’d throw together a quick blog so the next one can pretty much be dedicated to China!!! Still weird saying I’ll have cycled to China soon. The last four days from Alamty have been a nice stint of camping and visiting the scenic Charyn canyon as well as some horrible desert riding on poor trails.

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Home away from home, the Sakura Guesthouse, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Home away from home, the Sakura Guesthouse, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

It’s been three weeks since my last post and a lot as happend, although only around 150 miles have been cycled. I’ve had many adventures in hospitals around the world but am happy to be back on the road and have crossed into Kazakhstan, putting me a mere stones throw from the Chinese border..

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THe turquoise Naryn river

The turquoise Naryn river

Well it has been a great week crossing Kyrgyzstan. Within two days Kyrgyzstan had knocked Armenia off the “Best Scenery” top spot of my trip, I’ve also tackled the two highest passes of my trip so far at 3,175m and 3,180m as well as cycling through the “Tunnel of Doom” which has reached fabled status amongst cyclists.

I’ve been getting on great with my new cycling partner Stephen Cunningham and we are now planning our fast race through China due to a change in Chinese visa laws which have shortened our time in the country from 80 to 55 days in which time I need to cycle 5078km, a big challenge.

Thanks to the beauty of Kyrgyzstan this is the most picture heavy post I have ever done so I will keep the text short and sweet where possible.

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Detail of traditional Rishtan ceramic, Rustam Usmanov Ceramic Workshop, Rishtan, Uzbekistan.

Detail of traditional Rishtan ceramic, Rustam Usmanov Ceramic Workshop, Rishtan, Uzbekistan.

Well it has certainly not been a dull few days since my last post. I’ve ridden my final few days in Uzbekistan (hitting 6,000 miles along the way) being blown away by the incredible ceramics at the Rustam Usmanov workshop in Rishtan, achieved another one of my cycling goals (riding 100km non-stop) as well as finally meeting up with my new riding partner Stephen Cunningham. Within a couple of hours of getting to know each other we found ourselves in the back of a police car being hassled for money and threatened with a truncheon…

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Some bold communist architecture outside Golistan, Uzbekistan.

Some bold communist architecture outside Goliston, Uzbekistan.

Due to acquiring an extra day off, which I’ll go into shortly, I thought I’d squeeze in another short blog post. In the last stint of four days cycling I’ve covered the largest distance in that period of time of the whole trip thanks to, in no small part, riding a 185km day (116 miles) achieving one of my goals of this trip, riding a century (a 100 mile day). To achieve this goal I was forced, by circumstance, to ride well in to the darkness of night against my better judgement.

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Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

Bukhara, Uzbekistan.

A short post this week, covering just a few days riding, but based on my schedule it’s going to be about 12 days before I post another. This week has involved yet another round of illness, some of the toughest winds so far, new friends and seeing some wonderful sights.

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Bukhara, Uzbekistan. A relief to reach the city.

Bukhara, Uzbekistan. A relief to reach the city.

I’ve used this phrase twice before to describe sections of this trip but I am confident that I am once again using it honestly. The last 8 days, which included racing across the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan to stay within the confines of my 5 day transit visa, have been the toughest of my life. To counter this though I have smashed through the 5,000 mile marker in style!

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