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Sunday, 20 October 2013

NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE: DAY 17 & 18, KHOROG – KALAIKHUM – KULYOB (420KM)


7th  8th June 2013
Have you ever experience riding a bike and counting kilometer every kilometer? Have you ever experience checking the odometer, but it seems that the odometer does not move even though you felt as if you have been riding for ages?
Well, this was what happened to me on the 17th and 18th day of my ride. The most challenging part of Tajikistan did not lie in its high mountain passes it seemed, but its scorching 52 degrees Celsius low land, its dirt + gravel + sands + rocks + wet crossings + narrow + barren road condition from Khorog – Kalaikhum – Kulyob, and its 2200m (only) Shurobod Pass. For the past two days, this scorching heat and dehydration almost killed me. All this while, even before the ride, what I had thought and worried most was how the extreme cold on the mountain will affect me. However, it seemed that, it was the heat which I am not prepared at all, was the silent killer. I had finished all my water after 3 hours riding, and there was no place at all to buy any as this was a very remote area. I felt so thirsty. Someone gave me water to drink but it caused me a terrible stomach pain later. I felt very sick, but I had to drink the polluted water to prevent me from further dehydration. I didn’t have any choice but to keep on riding my bike and trailing slowly behind the Chinese trucks in a thick cloud of dust. I can’t overtake due to the narrow, dangerous and really bad road condition. There was simply no shade and no place suitable to rest at all.
Gone was the beautiful green coloured Gunt River....My ride today follow along grey muddy Pyanj River....
Barren.....and it was 52 degrees Celsius.....
Sometimes I had to ride under the cliff face!!!
The strong current really amazed me
Across the river is Afghanistan.....Its funny to think how barren it is on the Tajik side, and so green on the Afghan's
Beautiful Afghan valley
The scorching 52 degrees Celsius was taking its toll on me, but I had to keep on riding. I will die if I didn’t keep moving. I am not ashamed to admit that I was crying while on the bike, begging god to have some mercy on me, a lone sick biker. If the temperature was 52 degrees, imagine how hot I felt with my riding gears – helmet, jacket, pant, gloves and boots on? I felt as if being baked inside an oven. And worst, because of the water poisoning and the bad road condition, I cannot ride fast. From 2 degrees in the mountain, to 52 degrees Celsius in the low land, a drastic change in 30 hours of duration....can you imagine how did it feel?

Another fall about 10kms to Kalaikhum
I was counting kilometer every kilometer while wondering - After all the challenges that I had successfully gone through, can I make it this time? How much longer my dehydrated body could last? I finally arrived Kalaikhum after 9 hours riding 250km and created a scene at this small town.

I only managed to stand my bike, took off my helmet, and no sooner than that, I collapsed by the shop’s corridor and fainted due to the blazing heat and super exhaustion. The last thing I remembered before passing out was telling to myself, “ohh, so this was how I am going to die”. When I gained consciousness, a doctor was by my side checking on my blood pressure, and being witnessed by a team of spectators. My BP reading was very low, and I felt so numb and dizzy. The doctor wanted to send me to the hospital – the last thing that I ever wanted. I assured him that I was fine, when actually, I was not. The locals helped to push DREAM to a nearby police station and later they walked me to the nearest guest house. While walking, I suddenly felt nausea and the next thing I knew, I was vomiting like Niagara Falls. After some medication and rest at the guest house, I felt slightly better, but not very much.
 
The next morning, I had to force myself to eat breakfast even though I had no appetite at all. I had not eaten anything after I vomited yesterday. I felt so weak and was struggling to eat little food without throwing it all out. My ride didn’t stop even though I was not in a good condition. This was due to my behind time schedule. To make matters worse, I started to get diarrhoea, and had to ride on an even worse road compared to yesterday!!! I had to cross a river because the bridge was under construction. I had to climb up Shurobod Pass which was a powdered sandy track under the glaring sun. I had to endure the heat and the stomach pain while trailing behind the slow moving trucks without having the chance to overtake. My oh my....only god knew what I had been through.
The road from Kalaikhum to Zigar improved on and off, but deteriorated after that


I found a small tree and lied down for a while, before a lorry driver stopped by
and told me that there were snakes around this area....euwwwwww.....

Tell me, where can I stop and rest on this kind of road and under the glaring heat?
I was soooo sick.....and the only shade that I managed to find later
was under the shadow of a broken arm lorry
I had successfully conquered 4655m Ak-Baital Pass.....
but Shurobod Pass (2200m) was the one almost killed me.....
 
After a long painful 8 hours ride, I made it to Kulyob and a local helped me to find a hotel, USD30, overpriced with no wifi fasility, no TV, just a room with aircond and attached bathroom - the most expensive for me during my entire ride. I took it as I didn’t hv any energy to look for another one.
 
p/s: A more detailed story about my journey will be told in my upcoming book. More beautiful pics of course. STAY TUNED.....

3 comments:

  1. Please take care. Allah is always around u..

    ReplyDelete
  2. dont judge a person by her size. hehe. badan kecik tapi kuat tuuu... :D

    ReplyDelete

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